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The All-You-Need Checklist Bundle for Homeowners Association Management (8 Free HOA Checklists)

homeowners-association-management

Homeowner associations (HOAs), also commonly referred to as community associations or residents associations, are on the rise in the US.

A 2019 study found that nearly 60% of recently built single-family houses, and 80% of houses in new subdivisions, are part of an HOA.

If we were to break that down by region, HOAs govern about 33% of homes in the Northeast, about 50% of homes in the Midwest, and at least 75% of homes in the West and the South.

All in all, there are now almost 310,000 HOA-governed communities in the United States, which is a staggering 260% growth since their inception in the 1970s.

Needless to say, it’s likely that you will encounter an HOA property while house-hunting, and if you are on the other side (an HOA community member) it’s important that you and the other members manage the association well to keep the community happy and attract new residents who could easily choose an alternative.

This post aims to provide you with the tools you need to manage an HOA that stands out and establish a community that not only feels confident in the leadership team, but also provides the space for members to contribute in a way that benefits the collective.

We will be covering:

Here is a preview of the free homeowner’s association management checklists that we’re offering in this post:

Let’s get started!

What is Homeowner’s Association Management?

HOA managers help homeowners associations to carry out their duties, including maintaining properties, collecting bills, enforcing rules and bylaws, and handling the administrative work of the HOA board.

To fulfill the association’s managerial duties, every HOA has a board of directors made up of a selection of members chosen by the community to represent the community.

There are a number of important responsibilities the board has, the most important of which are:

There may be only six bullet points there but each of them could be split into a number of other responsibilities that are equally important and demanding.

From organizing financial audits to managing property maintenance, establishing strong vendor relationships and putting together comprehensive annual reports, an HOA board has a wide-ranging list of responsibilities that demand consistent attention and effective teamwork.

All of these tasks simply cannot be managed efficiently without standardized processes in place that are followed each and every time.

The importance of business process management (BPM) applies to businesses of all shapes and sizes, but is particularly key for those working in real estate and property management because it has an immediate positive impact on communication and team collaboration, which is at the heart of their business model.

“When multiple tasks and processes are running, there is a need for continuous collaboration among the team members. In the digital business model, the traditional communication channels are not the optimal solution while comments, messages, notifications and file sharing systems will not only make the communication process easier but your life as well.” Comidor, 10 Benefits of Business Process Management

This ability to collaborate in real-time while running through various formal, documented processes is what Process Street is all about.

Process Street Checklists: Optimizing HOA Management

Process Street is a simple workflow management tool (with a rich feature set) that was built to help businesses create, execute, and optimize their workflows.

Our mission is to make recurring work fun, fast, and faultless for teams everywhere.

By documenting your workflows in digital checklists, you are instantly creating an actionable workflow in which tasks can be assigned to team members, automated, and monitored in real-time to ensure they are being executed as intended, each and every time.

In this post, we are offering 8 pre-made checklist templates for all of you HOA board members out there looking for ways to improve process efficiency and equip your team with the tools they need to run a first-class association.

A wide range of workflows are covered in these checklists, including financial audits, property maintenance, budget preparation, newsletters, meeting agendas, and the all-important process of transitioning management from a property developer to an HOA.

If you want to dive in and go straight to the checklists, there are quick links right below. Otherwise, scroll down for a brief intro to each one and access other useful resources.

HOA Audit Checklist

“An HOA annual audit is just about as important to an HOA as annual health checkups are to you.” – HOA Management

Every HOA needs to conduct a financial audit at least once a year. To demonstrate the legitimacy of the audit, a CPA should be hired to lead the process. By doing so, the HOA can show proof of compliance with state laws as well as the association’s own bylaws.

If you choose to do an internal audit, this is referred to as a financial review. While this is undoubtedly useful for management purposes, it will not provide you with an in-depth knowledge of the HOA’s finances, nor will it guarantee compliance with rules and regulations.

An external audit, on the other hand, guarantees both those things.

This checklist is designed to be used by both the CPA and the HOA President or other chosen representative of the association. There are certain approval tasks that require both parties to approve, and numerous opportunities to exchange information and collaborate throughout the audit process.

From clarifying the objectives and timing of the audit to granting the CPA access to HOA records and receiving a final audit report, this checklist guides you through the entire audit process, ensuring that nothing is overlooked and each task is completed efficiently.

Click here to get the HOA Audit Checklist!

HOA Budget Preparation Checklist

This is the other purely finance-related checklist in the template pack.

Budget preparation is a crucial aspect of HOA management that must be done carefully in order to ensure that the needs of all community members are being accounted for and that the association is well-prepared for the financial demands of the year ahead.

“Many HOA boards shudder at the very mention of HOA budget preparation, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Armed with enough time, and a willing effort, you can set your budget without running into problems. Remember that an HOA exists to serve its community. Without budgets, there would be no assessments. And, without assessments, an HOA can’t fulfill its duties.” – HOA Management

As well as time and effort, HOA board members need the tools that will enable them to prepare the budget with minimal stress and maximum efficiency.

This Process Street checklist is that tool, covering all of the essential items that you should include in your financial road map for the year, which are:

By integrating (and customizing) this checklist into your budget preparation process, you and your team will know that your time and effort is being spent wisely.

Click here to get the HOA Budget Preparation Checklist!

HOA Property Maintenance Checklist

Conducting regular maintenance checks and coordinating repairs is, of course, a major responsibility for the HOA management team.

Having a clear process in place means that a potentially arduous task can be completed with relative ease, and repair needs can be identified early on to avoid unnecessary expenditures.

Not only will this checklist assist the leadership team in identifying and coordinating maintenance, but will also be appreciated by other community members as it demonstrates an active, organized effort to keep their properties in excellent condition.

This checklist will walk you through all of the various areas on a property that needs to be inspected, help you put together a maintenance report, and can be a hugely valuable piece of documentation for your records when reviewing maintenance work done in your community.

Click here to get the HOA Property Maintenance Checklist!

HOA Home Cleaning Checklist

Home cleaning falls under the category of maintenance but deserves to have its own separate checklist due to the frequency with which the process should be carried out by homeowners.

Cleaning a property is of course not a unique characteristic of an HOA, but could be considered more important than other residential areas because the board has a responsibility to ensure all properties are being kept in good condition.

“Most homeowners would say that the upkeep of their home and community, including the creation of an aesthetically pleasing environment, is of the utmost importance. But true residential property maintenance management means more than just making spaces look great. It involves taking a proactive approach in areas like cleaning, repairs, and vendor management.” – First Service Residential

This simple checklist is designed to be provided to homeowners by the HOA board, as an easy process for them to follow when performing a deep clean of their property.

We recommend that this checklist is completed by each homeowner once a month. By doing so, the HOA will be able to clearly see if homeowners are doing their part to maintain the condition of the property they are living in.

Click here to get the HOA Home Cleaning Checklist!

HOA Newsletter Template

Writing a newsletter is not particularly difficult. Writing an excellent newsletter that grabs and holds the attention of its readers, however, is much more of a challenge.

Thankfully, it’s not as hard as you may think.

There are a few golden rules that must be adhered to when creating an HOA newsletter. These are:

All of these best practices really come together when you prioritize engagement with the community’s members rather than using the newsletter as a vehicle to express the board member’s opinions on various issues.

In order for the newsletter to fulfill its purpose of updating residents on the status of their community as well sharing exciting news and encouraging participation from all members, the editorial team must take the time to gather unique information and present it in a way that makes a strong impression on its readers.

“With an effective newsletter that reaches each member of an HOA, boards of directors and association managers have the opportunity to enhance the sense of “community” in their community association. Newsletters spark interest in the community, increasing member involvement and making management a bit easier. When everyone is aware of problems and concerns, there’s a better chance of everyone working together to fix them, which will in turn help the HOA achieve its primary function: to sustain and improve property values.” – ECHO, Educational Community for HOA Homeowners

This template will guide you through the process of creating and delivering a first-class newsletter to your HOA members.

At the beginning of the checklist, you will choose whether you want to create a print newsletter that is delivered to members by mail (in an eye-catching envelope) or an online newsletter available on your website or other platforms. You can also choose both options if you like. The moment you select which option you want, our conditional logic feature will instantly adapt the tasks in the checklist to suit the format you want.

From including a short note from the board to putting together an informative FAQ section, adding attractive graphics, and distributing to all members, this newsletter template will ensure that you and your team are putting together first-class newsletters that will surely be recognized and appreciated by the community.

Click here to get the HOA Newsletter Template!

HOA Board Meeting Agenda Template

Your HOA board will hold meetings at least once a quarter, ideally once a month or once every two months depending on the amount and severity of issues you are currently facing.

Board meetings are a valuable time to address important tasks such as reviewing financial statements, committee reports, items that require approval, upcoming social events, and holding an open discussion with members to ensure everyone is on the same page and happy with the where things are going.

For this meeting to be run smoothly and satisfy all tasks in a reasonable amount of time, there needs to be a clear agenda.

“While many meetings are necessary to keep business growth moving forward, research indicates that more than 50% of meeting time is wasted and that unproductive meeting time translates into $37 billion annual waste in the US (Better Business Meetings). Conducting useless meetings will never align with your business growth strategies.” – Neha Singh Gohil, The Importance of Meeting Agendas

There are simply no two ways about it, the agenda is the backbone of every meeting, and an HOA board meeting is no exception.

You may be thinking, well I can just use an agenda typed out in a Word document. Why would I need to use a piece of software like Process Street? Good question.

The biggest advantage of using this digital checklist as opposed to a typed document is that not only can you use the checklist as an agenda to follow, but you can store valuable information in each of the items/tasks that can then be safely stored for record-keeping purposes and referred back to whenever you want.

For example, when you review committee reports or financial statements, you can write a summary of the review in the checklist, or even attach/link to relevant documentation that will be stored in the checklist and can be shared with other community members.

When you confirm the date of the next board meeting at the end of the checklist, you can set up an automated email notification through Zapier that will immediately notify all board members of the date. You could even take it a step further so that the selection of a date automatically creates an event in everyone’s calendar, so they are sure not to miss it.

This is a powerful checklist that could transform the efficiency of your board meetings.

Click here to get the HOA Board Meeting Agenda Template!

HOA Annual Board Organization Checklist

At the start of every year, the HOA board needs to get together and make sure they are ready and well-organized for the year ahead.

The majority of this work falls under financial and legal obligations, including:

This is the nitty-gritty side of HOA management that can easily be overlooked due to its intimidating nature, but is incredibly important to address, especially at the start of each year when due dates for certain legal obligations begin to creep up.

Sorting out all these important tasks and getting organized can feel overwhelming, but all that is needed is a clear, formal process that can guide you through all the steps one at a time.

Furthermore, this checklist recognizes that for many of the tasks, you will either require or desire external assistance from a CPA, lawyer, insurance expert, or other professional. The checklist has been created in a way that enables you to collaborate with external contributors while keeping the process centralized and easy to manage.

Click here to get the HOA Annual Board Organization Checklist!

HOA Transition Checklist

This is arguably the most well-known and critically important HOA process – the transition of management from a developer-controlled association to a resident-controlled HOA.

“The new Board has a huge responsibility, they ensure that the developer gives them all the necessary information, they review the information and ask the developer questions about anything vague or unclear in any documents. Finally, they have to come up with a strategic plan. This involves a lot of work, and nothing can be forgotten or left until the last minute.” – Jonathan Doro, HOA Transition Toolkit

As I mentioned in the description of the checklist above, this too will almost certainly require external assistance from a CPA, lawyer, and others. It is highly recommended to bring in a neutral third party to review the books, validate your community’s financial health, train the new treasurer, and even help resolve potential conflicts during the turnover.

The transition process also requires close collaboration between the developer and the HOA members, which is accounted for in the checklist.

In brief, here are the six key things you should do as part of the transition process.

  1. Inspect all financial documentation (budget, bank statements, tax returns, vendor contracts, etc.)
  2. Conduct a financial audit (highly recommended to hire an experienced CPA)
  3. Conduct a reserve study to evaluate the health of the reserve fund
  4. Ensure compliance with state laws and CCRs
  5. Determine the HOA board of directors (election) and conduct training with the developer
  6. Hire an engineer to inspect the properties

This checklist will take you through each of the above tasks while maintaining communication with other stakeholders such as the developer and external professionals assisting you with the transition.

Bear in mind that the best time to start your transition is about 4-6 months before the official developer turnover. If you wait until during (or after) the turnover process, you may find it more difficult to get access to important records from the developer.

Click here to get the HOA Transition Checklist!

Enhance Productivity and Collaboration with our Approvals Feature

With our fantastic approvals feature, you can streamline the completion of any tasks that need authorization by another person.

A large number of approval tasks have been built into the templates above, including the following:

Creating your own approval tasks is super simple. Here is a quick overview of how to do so.

To add an approval task, click on the approvals button on the bottom left-hand bar within the template editor, where tasks and task headers are usually added.

Once the approval task has been put in, you can then select which tasks are subject to approval.

adding approvals

After the tasks that are subject to approval have been completed, the assigned decision-maker can then open the checklist, see the information from the tasks, then either approve, reject, or reject with a comment.

With approvals, it’s not just a case of flat-out acceptance or rejection; comments can be sent to the submitter to provide the feedback necessary for the task’s completion.

You can approve (or reject) tasks directly from your phone

What’s even quicker than approving or rejecting items from a browser on your laptop is doing it via your phone’s email app.

This enables you to make important decisions while on the go, no matter if you’re walking to an important meeting, or in a cab on your way to catch a flight.

phone approval

4 key benefits of Process Street’s approvals feature

Here are four of the biggest benefits our approval feature can bring to your organization:

  1. Ensures critical tasks receive the necessary oversight.
  2. Managers and higher-ups can approve items and tasks quickly.
  3. Approval tasks can be used alongside pre-existing task features (e.g. conditional logic, dynamic due dates, task permissions)
  4. Fosters inter and cross-team collaboration.

Other Useful Resources for HOA and Property Management

Here is a list of articles that are related to HOA management, and property management in general. All of them are well worth a read and some include other pre-made templates that you can start using for free right away.

Are there any other HOA processes that you think should be included here? What methods/techniques do you use to efficiently manage HOA responsibilities? If you have any thoughts on the templates presented here or would like to share any tips and tricks you have through experience with managing an HOA, please comment below. 💡

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