A home’s exterior is an expression of an owner’s individuality and living in an HOA shouldn’t change that. However, aside from their obligation to respect self-expression, HOA management has a responsibility to keep property values high, which means setting boundaries to ensure the neighborhood remains universally appealing.
These duties are sometimes hard to fulfill simultaneously, but the team at Gassen has a few tips for you.
Use Common Sense
Keep your rules and regulations easy enough to follow. If a rule is hard for you or your board members to manage doing, then it’s hard for your residents, too. Allow for some flexibility for your residents’ exteriors, especially if safety concerns are not a factor.
Keep Things Neat
The simplest thing your board can do to keep property values high without infringing upon homeowner’s boundaries is to require them to keep their yards looking nice. Picture perfect isn’t a necessity, but giving some direction on ways to keep the neighborhood looking nice is an easy, non-inflammatory way to guide your residents.
Instructions could include:
● Request that residents keep lawns from overgrowing.
● If big landscaping projects need to be done, like tree removal or installing a backyard pool, require residents to use Gassen’s project management team to keep the continuity of the properties intact.
● State where trash cans should be stored (out of street view) and when they should be brought out to the curb.
● Make sure residents understand where they are allowed to store outdoor belongings, such as kayaks or bicycles.
Be as Specific as You Can
Exterior regulations like those above need to be clear, concise, and easy to understand. Nobody, board member or resident, likes quibbling over rules, and if push comes to shove and the board needs to decide if a line has been crossed, it can be difficult to do so if that line isn’t definitely drawn in the first place.
Make it a point to use exact numbers and measurements if the rule calls for them, and work to eliminate ambiguity in your writing.
Foster Your Neighborhood Vibe
Is your HOA marvelously modern, or charmingly old-style? Regardless, the regulations your board sets regarding exterior appearances should directly correspond to it. This ensures a uniform aesthetic, which creates a community that potential residents would find appealing to live in.
A good rule of thumb: If a home exterior rule does not directly support the neighborhood aesthetic, it most likely doesn't need to exist.
Have Residents Seek Approval
When residents do want to update or make changes to their exteriors, have them seek approval from the board to do so. Make it clear what projects would need approval or not, but by having residents come to you with their plans, you’ll have a little more say in your residents’ options.
Also, encourage residents to use the same construction management company who knows the designs, styles, and aesthetic goals of your community. A construction team who has your whole community in mind can help regulate the goals of individuals.
Gassen: Here to Help Your Community Shine
From online property management to accounting property management, we have all the tools and expertise your neighborhood needs to become the best it can be. Give our Eden Prairie office a call today at 952-922-5575.