Let’s be honest. You weren’t thrilled when you found out your community had an association. And now you’re hoping for a loophole that will tell you how to opt out of your HOA. The short answer is, you can’t – at least not without selling your home or moving to a community with no HOA. But the good news is, if you’re less than satisfied with the HOA, there are some actionable methods you can use to improve the situation.
Many HOAs have simply fallen victim to poor communication, and countless anecdotes of HOA horror stories have given them a sour reputation. At Hoampage, we arm homeowners with the information they need to improve their HOA experience, because everyone deserves to love where they live, without conflict and friction. So if you’re not ready to throw up a ‘for sale’ sign just so you can opt out of your HOA, try some of the alternative avenues below. Our hope is to not only make your HOA bearable, but beneficial.
1. Encourage Your Board to Create an HOA Website (or Create a Better One)
This is a criminally underrated way of improving the livability of your HOA. Half of the issues that plague HOAs stem from homeowners not knowing what’s going on. And more often than not, it can be blamed on the lack of one fundamental tool: a website.
An HOA website like Hoampage can eradicate the communication issues that keep homeowners in the dark. They also help clean up the often messy process of paying assessments – a pain point for board members and homeowners alike. Even if your HOA already has a website, if you’re unsatisfied enough to be reading this blog, odds are, their existing site is not living up to its full potential. So how can you change that? Start by petitioning your board to get a better, more useful HOA website.
For homeowners, the benefits of an HOA website include:
- Community connection – Access online forums and neighborhood directories to get to know other community members and discuss any issues or changes that need to be addressed, without the need to attend a meeting. Event calendars can also be made available on the HOA site, making it easy to know what’s going on and when.
- Board member updates – You no longer have to be in the dark about what decisions are made during board meetings, why dues are increasing, or when roads are going to be repaved. With the right HOA website, board members can publish all of that information and make it readily available to homeowners.
- Payment options – With an online payment portal, you can quickly and securely manage your HOA finances, rather than mailing them in (or potentially missing the statement in the mail).
- Access to forms – From renovation requests to fence installations, the right HOA website will have necessary forms available for download on-demand making it easy to find what you need, without having to chase them down or go into an office.
2. Participate/Create in Community Events
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Most HOAs offer community events and projects homeowners can take part in. It’s one of the genuine bright spots of being in an HOA, even when you’d prefer not to be. These events are a great opportunity to learn more about the community, get to know your neighbors, and give back. Consider successful events from other HOAs such as:
- A charitable donations drive– Organize a coat or canned goods collection to donate to families in need.
- Holiday tree decorating– Challenge community members to submit photos of their holiday tree on the HOA website for a chance to win the “Best Tree” title.
- Volunteer day– Create a volunteer day once a month with different causes. Homeowners can opt to participate by signing up ahead of time.
- Eat around the block– Have homeowners sign up to provide their most amazing dish. Community members can try different foods and exchange recipes.
3. Advocate for Easier Voting
Being part of an HOA doesn’t mean you’re at the mercy of whatever the board decides. You have the ability to vote for who is on the board. With that said, associations often struggle with homeowner participation in elections. And it’s not surprising that they don’t participate. In most cases, voting is a complicated, difficult process. Homeowners are usually tasked with either filling out a mail in ballot or voting at a specific location during pre-determined times. With busy schedules and recent social distancing ordinances, it’s easy for voting to fall to the bottom of a homeowner’s priority list.
That’s why you should urge your association to invest in an HOA online voting platform. Association Vote, for example, simplifies the once complicated process of HOA voting, making it easier for homeowners like you to participate and have a voice. You’ll be notified of an upcoming election via email, US mail, or both. You can easily learn about candidates online and securely cast a vote by email. For associations that require mail-in ballots regardless, Association Vote seamlessly handles that too.
Being Part of An HOA Doesn’t Have to Be a Bad Experience… We Can Help
Think about it this way; by encouraging the development of an HOA website, you are also creating a gateway to other resources that will make your new life, as an HOA member, easier and, dare we say, pleasant.
While the board may fear that creating a website may be labor-intensive, with the help of platforms like Hoampage, it can be a breeze. Hoampage offers many quality features that benefit both you and the board including:
- Customizable templates and color schemes
- Ability to send and receive messages between users
- A payment portal
- Work orders/forms for 3rd parties
- Downloadable documents
- A local community news and calendar page
- Community forums
You may be a reluctant member, unable to opt out of your HOA, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a negative experience. By working with the association, you can help create a better community for everyone.