How Your HOA Can Save Money
Most Homeowner Associations (HOA’s) have a difficult row to hoe when it comes to keeping costs down, while at the same time providing services commensurate with the situation.The current rate of inflation by itself requires a 2-3% increase in members’ fees. Cost-cutting is the watchword. Begin with the largest items.
The first step is a utility audit. There are utility auditing companies which can assess and verify the accuracy of utility bills, and compare current bills with past ones to detect any discrepancies or anomalies, which indicate a problem such as a water leak.
Insurance costs can be lowered by raising deductibles. “Loss assessment coverage” for individual owners, which kicks in when the HOA has to increase assessment to cover the deductible in an insured event, is relatively inexpensive.
The biggest expense with landscaping can be the use of water. Drought tolerant native species plants can replace turf to reduce the need. They can also install rain override sensors to reduce unnecessary watering.
If the temperature of pools and spas is reduced by just two degrees, it can significantly lower the pool heating bill. Further savings can be realized by using a pool solar blanket. If feasible, the installation and maintenance of solar panels can save a lot in energy costs.
The value of preventive maintenance can’t be overstated. It is infinitely more economical to maintain equipment and check regularly for possible problems, than to just wait for a disaster to happen. There should be a list of all equipment that needs to be inspected, cleaned, oiled, and/or serviced regularly.
Be sure the line is clearly delineated between common maintenance and owner maintenance. A comprehensive list of “Areas of Responsibility” will keep HOA expenses confined to actual common areas.
Some costs vary according to circumstances. These include things like plumbing, snow/ice removal, gutter maintenance, and electrical repairs. Look at the bills and see if there’s a pattern. Could the gutter costs be lowered by the removal and/or replanting of trees? With cooperation between board members and owners, it is possible to bring the cost down to within reason.
How is your HOA doing at reducing costs?