HOA transparency and why it’s important for your association

Ever wonder where your money is going when you pay your dues? What are those extra fees on your statement and are they really affecting you in a positive way? HOA board-to-homeowner transparency is key to achieving understanding between both parties on things like monthly assessments and their purpose. We should understand that not every payment out of your pocket will affect you directly, but it may have an effect on the property value as a whole.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article and the details around them:

  • Methods to increase transparency in your association
  • Why social media might not be the solution
  • Annual disclosures and budget expenses
  • How Dials is planning to help you out with all of this 

Whether you’re a board member or homeowner, we want to make sure that you’re properly equipped to ensure the best communication between everyone. From the maintenance man repairing the roof to the board members making the decisions, we believe everyone should be on the same page.

HOAs have the advantage that most board members are also homeowners meaning there isn’t much disconnect between reality and what is perceived at the ground level. Those who are not board members should be encouraged to express their concerns so that everyone can feel included. An important topic to be transparent about is how budgets are spent and why. Keep these updates short and to the point so that they are easily readable. Annual disclosure documents are used to keep everyone informed on how budgets are being spent, but you’ll also want to invite homeowners to be a part of the process if possible. Keeping homeowners in the loop is always a good idea to maintain good morale in your association. It’s easy to criticize, but difficult to express constructive criticisms, and the last thing one should have to worry about is setting up the communication methods to do so. This is where we step in– by understanding how your association collaborates we have the ability to design custom tools tailored to your communication styles which can help alleviate this pain. Something isn’t right if you’re spending more time managing your channels of communication than conveying messages, and we can help fix that. Think about the following techniques in order to improve communication in your organization.

1.) Keep an open-door policy 

As a board member, you’ll want to think about encouraging openness and transparency within your organization by adopting what’s called an open door policy. This means that anyone with a concern can bring it to the table for discussion. Try holding open meetings from time to time. Open meetings are meetings that reserve a portion of the time for homeowners to express their opinions and viewpoints. Schedule them well in advance so that homeowners have time to mark them on their calendars. It’s tough to put yourself in another person’s shoes, so make sure that you’re taking the right approach when receiving criticism. The act of listening is secretly a 2-way road, listening and asking the right questions in return. A homeowner might request a band-aid solution and it’s up to you as a board member to identify the root cause of the problem. Addressing issues on their most fundamental level is a great approach to ensure sustainable solutions and adopting an open door policy can help get the process started. 

2.) Address issues head-on

Board members and homeowners should keep in mind that addressing issues head-on is usually a good idea. Look into things while information is fresh and emotions are still in a heightened state. This will enable you to gain the most accurate data and it will be extremely helpful down the line. Keep a digital notebook and/or write good notes so that you can read them at a later time. If you put things on the back burner, time will ensue, memories will blur, and no action will be taken. Even if the issue is not resolved immediately, addressing it head-on is a great strategy to ensure that the best information is documented. 

3.) Think twice about social media solutions

It seems that most groups today are moving to social media for things like event scheduling and data management. One might think the same could easily apply to an HOA, right? Not necessarily. There are several reasons why modern social media might not be the answer. Things like open chat rooms, public commenting, and the ability for a member to make a statement on behalf of the association could give off incorrect reflections on an association. A slight mistype or stretched truth could spark a thread of debate and argument leading to toxicity on many levels. We’ve seen it before, threads upon threads of debate and nasty comments flung back and forth between people who have no idea what they’re talking about in the first place. Here at Dials, we recognize HOA discussions are more of a private matter and are looking into increasing transparency within the association. With features like one-to-one messaging systems, private group chats, and individual profile creation, we’re helping you discuss problems not only at the association level but at the individual level as well. 

4.) Go Digital

We understand that transitioning from a traditional way of doing things to a more updated workflow can be a bit daunting. Whether you do this with Dials or elsewhere, this is the way of the future, and the earlier you adopt this, the better off you’ll be. Think about entering all your paperwork into a digital system so that you can access it more easily in the future. While the digital age seems like it’s been here for a while, many companies are still doing things the old way and are just now catching on, so you’re definitely not behind! There’s still time to get ahead of the curve, so check out Dials HOA management software at www.dials.com/ if you’re looking to go digital. 

After significant research, Dials has identified several areas where HOA management processes can be made more efficient. The usage of multiple platforms, manual documentation, and multi-tab excel spreadsheets (we believe) should be a thing of the past and it’s time for an all-in-one solution. Our goal is to put you, a board member,  in a position of oversight so that you can solve the more important issues. Repetitive tasks like dues collection and maintenance tracking can be set on autopilot while you can sit back and watch it all work with minimal intervention. Follow us on our journey to revolutionize this space and keep up with our blogs for more information. 

– The Dials team

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