For any HOA management team, there are few scenarios more daunting than having a lot of community repairs to make and not nearly enough HOA reserve funds with which to make them. The question, then, is how does the HOA board stretch those dollars as far as possible, and get the absolute most property maintenance bang for buck? There are a few practical steps your board can take to make sure you get the very most out of your HOA reserve funds.
For starters, the importance of phased construction cannot be overstated. If you don’t have the funds to make all of your repairs at once, stick with the things that are urgent, and leave the less urgent repairs for later. Phased planning is necessary for ensuring that you don’t stretch your HOA reserve funds too thin, and that everything gets done in due time.
But there are other steps you can take, as well. Ask your contractor to prepare a report of the full scope of the project. If you know in advance precisely what is going to need to be done, that will prevent you from changing your mind or requiring modifications down the road. Changing your construction plan can be very costly, so beginning with a clear vision is a good way to save your HOA from unnecessary spending.
Another thing to consider is enlisting an inspector or engineer. This is an added expense that could otherwise be used for making repairs, and therefore some HOA members may not deem it the best use of reserve money. However, an inspector can help evaluate the properties that are in the most urgent need of repairs, and ultimately help your HOA map out the best phased construction plan. He or she can also be present to ensure that the contractor’s work is solid, ensuring there are no surprise problems later in the construction process.
Of course, doing phased construction may not always be the most satisfying option. However, getting an HOA loan will ultimately inflate costs even further, due to interest, and asking for special assessments is likely to draw the ire of community members. Careful planning might be the best bet for ensuring that HOA reserve funds are spent wisely.