Having new families move into your community is always exciting. Indeed, for members of the HOA board, it is a time filled with promise; hopefully, the new residents will turn out to be enthusiastic and involved active community members, and perhaps even future board volunteers!

And often, this is exactly how it works out. Sometimes, however, that turns out not to be the case. There are times when new homeowners have either been misinformed by their realtors, or have simply failed to do the necessary legwork—and they are surprised to learn that they’ve just moved into a neighborhood with an active HOA!

Often, this can sour them toward the HOA and its activities from the very beginning. It doesn’t help if they truly start off on the wrong foot with the association management team; say, for example, they immediately start paining their house in a color that the board does not approve of, and receive a violation notice.

The good news is that there are some practical steps that the board can take to help new residents get off on the right foot—and to be well-informed as to exactly what kind of community they’re getting themselves into!

One good idea is to make it very clear to prospective homeowners that there is an active HOA presence. Place a small sign at the entrance to the community, and around common amenities areas (like the pool, clubhouse, or whatever else). Remember that your goal is not to frighten people away, just to inform them!

You might also think about including, in this signage, some way for realtors or potential buyers to get in touch with your HOA board, or your professional management company. Include an e-mail address they can contact for any questions about how the community runs.

It’s also good to have information about the HOA on your community website—and to ensure that the website is easy for searchers to find. Many real estate agents will research this, and it’s a good way for you to get information out there about what your community association does.

Finally, think about ways in which you can make new residents feel welcome—not intimidated! A welcome packet, with information about the community, is always a great idea. Even organizing a warm welcoming committee can go a long way!

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