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Thursday, November 15, 2018
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Subject: HOA Improvements, HELP!
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Author Messages
JoshG
(California)

Posts:4


11/06/2018 3:20 PM  
Hi everyone,

I am looking to improve an HOA with some new installations. What qualities do you look for in vendors? What factors play into making your decision?

Thank you so much!

(California)
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5852


11/06/2018 3:44 PM  
What do you mean by "new installations?" Are you selling something?
JoshG
(California)

Posts:4


11/06/2018 3:46 PM  
No, I am looking for products to help add value to the property.

e.g.
Fencing, new paint jobs, patio covers, etc.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5852


11/06/2018 4:46 PM  
Since you're in CA, Josh, go to davis-stirling.com and scroll the Main Index to contracts. This will help u you a lot in thinking about vendors you might hire.

This site doesn't recommend specific products. see the above posting rules.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7716


11/06/2018 7:02 PM  
Those things do NOT add "Property value". They add to ATTRACTING owners to purchase. Property Values involve REAL numbers.

Former HOA President
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7716


11/06/2018 7:03 PM  
Those things do NOT add "Property value". They add to ATTRACTING owners to purchase. Property Values involve REAL numbers.

Former HOA President
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:750


11/06/2018 10:23 PM  
I completely disagree with Melissa.
JoshG
(California)

Posts:4


11/07/2018 7:44 AM  
Thank you for the advice KerryL1!
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2302


11/07/2018 8:20 AM  
REgarding vendor qualities, I like to see folks who've worked with HOAs before, although that's not an absolute. Our property manager also helps with us doing our due diligence (before hiring, make sure your vendor has the appropriate liability coverage, licenses and permits). Make sure to check with organizations like the BBB to see if they've had complaints and how they were handled. If you're in business, complaints come with the territory - what you want to see is how responsive they were. Resolving problems shouldn't take multiple calling and you don't want people who have a habit of doing things like leaving in the middle of the project and not returning for weeks at a time

You must ask for references and check them - here's where I want to talk to HOAs who've had similar work done. It's also nice if they're similar is size and amenities to my community. Getting at least 3 quotes is always a good idea and critical if you're talking about a project that will cost several thousand dollars or more. The more expensive the project (tens of thousands or more) might also require your association attorney to have a look at the contract before it's signed.

Just with any contractor working on your own home, do not hire anyone who can only be reached by cell or email. Read the contract before it's signed, even if your attorney read it (board members need to know what they're getting into) and look for specifics regarding dates, times, materials, etc. Pay attention to how changes will be handled and make sure you have a lien release from all subcontractors before the work begins (otherwise, the Association may be hit with a lien if the main contractor doesn't pay them) Lien releases should be non-negotiable - if the vendor refuses to give you one, get someone else.

I think asking for references and checking them is essential, as is getting several quotes. Remember, you get what you pay for, so the most expensive doesn't guarantee anything, but the cheapest doesn't always equal good quality, and that's what you want in the end. I don't like paying the entire fee up front either (no incentive to compete). Try not to pay more than 20% to start and pay the rest in increments AFTER your property manager or a board member has inspected the work today. The final payment comes after the work is done, the work area has been cleaned and the Association has been released from all liens. If the company wants 50% up front, require that the start date is no later than five days or less) following the signature date (get that in writing, please).

As far as improvement projects go, I suggest starting with the areas that need the most work. Asking homeowners what improvements they'd like to see is also a good idea in helping you prioritize projects. Personally, I don't like to do outdoor projects in the winter unless it's absolutely necessary, but when the weather improves, you'll also need to consider how long the project will take and how disruptive it could be to the homeowners. Homeowners living close to the work need to be informed in advance as to what they need to do, such as making sure all cars are out of a parking lot by a certain time so it can be repaved (tow them at the owner's expense if they aren't)

And don't forget to take a look at your reserve study recommendations - if this is a major improvement that reserves are supposed to cover, make sure there's enough money in the fund. Do not deplete the fund because it's supposed to cover other major improvements, so regular deposits must continue. If you don't have the money, but the work can't be put off any longer, you may have to cut some things in the operating budget, consider a loan or even a special assessment. Special assessments and loans will have a big impact on regular assessments (they'll have to go up) and special assessments require homeowner approval most of the time, so you need to keep homeowners in the loop and make sure you have buy-in from them before going that route.
JoshG
(California)

Posts:4


11/07/2018 8:29 AM  
SheliaH,

Thank you very much. This is what I was looking for!

Have an awesome day knowing you helped someone in a tremendous fashion!
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