An HOA Budget that tells a story.

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Home Owner Associations must prepare a budget and then report to homeowners the balance of the funds at the end of the year. This is a standard process and is relatively simple in nature. But, there is a problem that can develop through this common financial reporting.
Homeowners can become upset when assessments are increased. The increase may be the result of the increasing cost of services done in behalf of the homeowners, but since the financial reports they see usually involve very little detail the homeowners can be very upset. There is a simple solution.
HOA board members should offer more detail in the budget and especially in the end of year financial report. Under various categories in the budget the report should contain details about the cost of services. Also, photos of work done, including the care of landscaping, repairs and updated areas, can be placed in the report. When this is done, the homeowners can see the rising costs over time, and they can be proud of the way their community is maintained. Reports should also point out that caring for the community public areas and facilities helps maintain the value of everyone’s home. In these days of declining home values, this issue is even more important to homeowners. With modern computing the tools required to create such a report are readily available. Even a novice can make the budget and financial reports more interesting and informative.
Homeowners don’t distrust board members, but they may feel that leaders are not working hard enough at holding down costs, especially due to the financial situation so many families are facing today. By creating a more informative, interesting and attractive financial report, the board can show that everything possible is being done to balance the rising costs of services with the utmost care of the community. When this is done properly, the budget will tell a story that helps homeowners realize that the cost they incur for living in their community is well worth it, and they will respect the excellent work of the board in reporting effectively.