5 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home in an HOA

Purchasing a home is always a big and exciting step in anyone’s life. When considering properties, it’s always important to be well-informed so that you can make an educated decision that allows you to enjoy your Tacoma home rather than worrying about factors that didn’t come up during the home-buying process. If you’re considering a home in a Tacoma HOA, here are five questions that you should always ask before making a final decision.

1. How much are my fees, and how often are they due?

This is often the first question that comes to mind for buyers when touring properties within a community association. The real estate agent should make it clear from the beginning what your monthly fees would be, but always inquire if it isn’t made apparent. Knowing how much your dues are will allow you to accurately calculate your monthly budget and determine whether you can reasonably afford the property. Keep in mind that additional fees can apply throughout the year, although these won’t be issued monthly as HOA dues are.

2. What do my HOA fees cover?

Once you’ve decided whether the HOA fees are within your budget, ask about what exactly those fees cover. HOA dues typically cover services such as landscaping of community property, amenity maintenance, trash removal, pest control, and more. However, every association is different when it comes to what exactly they cover, so determine this before buying in order to gain a better understanding of what costs you’ll need to cover for yourself.

3. How often will my dues increase?

You may be able to afford your monthly dues now, but that may not always be the case. HOA dues are eligible to increase annually in the state of Washington, so find out from your realtor or residents whether your HOA tends to increase dues annually, and to what extent they tend to raise them. Finding out this history can help you project future costs and estimate whether it’s within your budget for the years to come.

4. What are the rules & regulations?

Along with the financials, one of the most pressing matters for homebuyers is what the HOA’s rules are. Each community association has its own unique set of rules and regulations, also called CC&Rs, which you are required to follow. Those who fail to adhere to the rules can be fined or otherwise penalized, so make sure that you’re willing to follow these rules before making your decision. CC&Rs are public records, so you may be able to request a copy through your realtor or the HOA board. If you’ve made an offer, the CC&R documents are generally provided to you as part of the escrow, so you can review them before you make a final decision.

5. Can I obtain a copy of the board’s meeting minutes?

If you’d like to get a sense of the climate in the community and how meetings usually go, you can ask to attend a meeting or request a copy of past meeting minutes. These minutes can provide insight into how other residents are feeling about their experience and their quality of life in that HOA. You may spot a red flag that steers you away from a particular community association, or you may find out that it’s the perfect place for you.

Before purchasing a home in a Tacoma HOA, make sure that you do your due diligence and consider a wide range of factors that could affect your quality of life while in your new home. HOAs that utilize a community association management firm will often be better equipped to handle homeowner issues and can make your time at home more enjoyable and hassle-free. For more information about community association management services for the Tacoma, Washington, area, give The Management Trust a call at (253) 472-0825 or fill out our online contact form. We have successfully managed more than 1,500 unique neighborhoods throughout the country, and we’d love to work with your HOA as well. 

Why Your HOA Management Company Should Handle Your HOA’s Finances

Many Aurora community associations tend to deal with a wide array of responsibilities and challenges unique to their communities, finances being one of them. Whether due to time constraints, or not having an experienced HOA financial management member on their board, dealing with community finances has the potential of becoming overwhelming for anyone. This is why having a trusted HOA community management company help perform effective and efficient HOA financial management is crucial to the success of your community association.

Organized Task Management

HOA financial management is no easy feat, especially if you have a large community to look after. Community association management firms have the staff and expertise necessary to properly organize and prioritize tasks, ensuring that they’re all completed accurately and in a timely manner. From collecting dues to filing taxes, your HOA financial management expert will organize responsibilities in a suitable manner and execute them with efficiency. This helps to reduce wasted resources and, as an inevitable result, wasted money. 

Efficient Allocation of Resources

Every HOA strives to allocate resources efficiently so that money goes farther and residents are happier. However, this is a goal that isn’t always attainable when managing your own finances. Your community association management company can partner with you for HOA financial management to optimize resources, allocating them in the most profitable and efficient way possible. Utilizing expert services in this way will allow you to complete more projects, refrain from increasing dues, and keep your residents as satisfied as possible with their time living in your community association.

Accurate Bookkeeping Records

Keeping clear and accurate records is imperative for any organization, including homeowners associations. However, with so many other responsibilities to undertake, this can sometimes fail to be a priority for HOA boards. With professional HOA financial management, you can ensure that your community association has organized and accurate bookkeeping, thereby preventing discrepancies and allowing you to keep track of exactly how your resources are being utilized. 

Easy Audit Coordination

Many HOAs have a stipulation in their CC&Rs that requires an annual audit. This involves examining all financial documents and other relevant documentation in order to assess your community’s financial health. Audits are feared by individuals and businesses across every industry because of the extensive recordkeeping required. Luckily, HOA financial management from a reputable community association management company makes annual audits a breeze. At The Management Trust, we present proposals from various, reputable independent audit firms and allow your HOA board to choose the preferred company. Once this decision has been made, we provide all requested documentation to ensure ease of review and reporting. By performing accurate recordkeeping year-round and conveniently compiling this information for your audit firm’s review, we make auditing a hassle-free experience that leaves your board members free to focus on their community’s bigger picture.

If your Aurora, Colorado, HOA is in need of HOA financial management, trust the industry-leading experts at The Management Trust. We provide full-service community management as well as independent financial management services to best suit your Aurora community’s needs. To find out more about our wide range of community association management services, give us a call today at (303) 750-0994 or fill out our online contact form.

A Guide to Reopening Your HOA Amenities During COVID-19

COVID-19 and its resulting country-wide restrictions have brought about a constantly evolving struggle between economic interest and public safety. Officials at the city, county, state, and federal levels are all facing a unique challenge in posing COVID-19 restrictions, and these safety guidelines have changed many times over the past year as case numbers have fluctuated. As an HOA board, it can be difficult to determine which amenities are safe to reopen for your Tacoma community association and which should stay closed. When to reopen and how to reopen are big questions that everyone across the country is challenged with, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. If you’re a community association looking for a guide to reopening your HOA amenities during COVID-19, follow these tips to maximize safety as best as you can during this difficult time.

Follow Local & Federal Guidelines

The most important thing to take into consideration when reopening amenities is the local guidelines and laws surrounding COVID-19 restrictions. These restrictions vary by state, or even county, so do thorough research into the current laws governing your neighborhood. Some counties may allow the reopening of certain amenities but not others, or they may require that all amenities implement certain safety protocols in order to reopen. Determine what the local rules are for your community association, and ensure that you follow them to avoid any health risks and resulting consequences for your HOA.

Speak to an Attorney

Even if you’ve done independent research into local guidelines, it’s still best to consult with an attorney regarding any reopenings you’re considering. They’ll likely have a better understanding of the current laws and any potential consequences of breaking them, so they can best advise you on which amenities are safe to reopen and what adjustments will need to be made in order to open these amenities safely for residents to use.

Allow for Social Distancing

If your HOA amenities are deemed safe to reopen, you’ll need to ensure that proper social distancing measures are possible in the given space. If the amenities are outdoors, this likely won’t change much, but indoor amenities such as gyms or lounges may need to be limited to just a few people at a time. Consult with your attorney and management association firm to decide what occupancy level is safe and appropriate, and post adequate signage detailing the new rules. Even if all businesses and amenities are allowed to reopen under your current local guidelines, you still need to allow for proper social distancing in order to keep residents safe, healthy, and comfortable.

Adopt a Frequent Cleaning Schedule

Homeowners may be hesitant to visit reopened amenities due to the health and safety concerns surrounding shared spaces. Put residents at ease by adopting a more frequent cleaning schedule, especially for shared indoor areas such as the management office or athletic facility. Sanitize high-traffic areas hourly, if possible, thoroughly cleaning doorknobs, phones, elevator buttons, and other areas that are touched regularly. Providing hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, or soap in common areas can also help keep your community safer and make them feel more at ease. 

COVID-19 restrictions are constantly evolving and vary by state or county, so make sure that you’re staying up-to-date on Tacoma’s regulations and abiding by all laws and guidelines. You may feel pressure to reopen amenities after long closures, but resident health and safety should always be at the forefront of any decision making. If you want to ensure that you’re taking the best and safest route when reopening your community’s amenities, speak to your HOA management firm. HOA community management companies such as The Management Trust have the network and industry expertise to help you navigate the difficulties of community association management, so you can always have peace of mind that your Tacoma HOA is well taken care of. To find out more about our services, give The Management Trust a call today at (253) 472-0825. One of our expert employee-owners would be happy to assist you in any way they can.

Homeowners Associations vs HOA Community Managers

Effectively running an Aurora community association can be a significant challenge, and each community has its own approach on how to handle the rigors of the job. For many community residents, there’s often some confusion regarding the role of their homeowners’ association and the services of an HOA management company, and how both factor into running the various aspects of their community. In this blog, we’ll outline the key differences between a homeowners association and an HOA community management company to help you best decide which solution is right for your Aurora community.

What is an HOA?

Homeowners associations are nonprofit organizations that manage the upkeep of community property and shared amenities within a neighborhood in order to protect and maintain property values. Houses within the boundaries of an HOA pay annual fees that go toward the maintenance and operation of the neighborhood amenities. Every HOA is composed of volunteer board members—elected by the homeowners—who vote on how funds are allocated, which rules are set into place, and other important administrative decisions. They organize community events, create projects for the improvement of common spaces, choose community vendors such as landscapers, and much more. Being a member of an HOA board means dedicating time to your community and advocating for the interests of all other homeowners in the neighborhood. It’s an important role, but one that comes with many important duties.

What is an HOA management company?

If your HOA board wants to ensure the best care and maintenance for their community, they may hire an HOA management firm. An HOA management firm is a company hired by the HOA to oversee day-to-day operations in the community. Your community association management firm can perform administrative tasks including answering homeowner inquiries, vetting and scheduling vendors and collecting dues from residents. The Management Trust HOA management firm also offers comprehensive financial services such as tax filing assistance, annual budget preparation, vendor billings, escrow services, audit coordination, and much more. While the HOA board is still the exclusive decision-maker in the community, laying out the rules and fees, the HOA management company works to effectively execute the decisions made by the board while ensuring residents’ happiness and satisfaction. 

HOA community management is not an easy feat, which is why HOA management companies such as The Management Trust are beloved by Aurora community associations. We can help ease the burden of HOA board members and ensure that every aspect of your HOA’s daily operations is well taken care of. From administrative duties to financial planning tasks, we can tackle every aspect of community association management and help your Aurora, Colorado neighborhood thrive. To find out more about our HOA management services, contact us today at (303) 750-0994.

5 Ways to Welcome New HOA Board Members

Welcoming a new board member to your HOA board can be an exciting but daunting process from both perspectives. With so much to learn, it can be difficult to know where to start and how to make it a pleasant experience for the new member. If you have a new HOA board member in your community, here are a few ways to optimize the onboarding process and welcome them with open arms.

1. Allow time to get acquainted

The first thing you should do when welcoming a new member to your HOA board is set aside time to get to know them. No one likes entering a room where they’re the odd man out. Go out of your way to create a warm and welcome environment where the new member can get to know the entire board on a personal level. Especially in larger communities, not all residents may know one another, so this is a good time for introductions and casual conversations.

2. Create & share an orientation packet

It’s inevitable that every new board member will need hands-on training, but you can make the onboarding process more efficient by creating a welcome packet that can be shared with new board members. This packet can include past meeting minutes, community association management reports, and governing documents. Giving this board member a clear view of your recent activity will allow them to get up to speed in a way that will minimize disruptions for you and maximize the chances of understanding for your new board member.

3. Set up a Q&A session

The new board member will likely have plenty of questions about the role, so set up a Q&A session that allocates time for them to ask those questions. You can set up a Q&A with the new board member and the entire board, or schedule a time for the new member to speak with the board member they’re replacing. This will allow them to ask questions, pick up tips, and learn more about the transition process. In turn, this will give your board the opportunity to ask any questions of the new member, such as what interests they have within the community, what their time commitments are, or anything else that you feel will help you decide what roles and responsibilities they would best suit.

4. Get them involved on day one

Although you want to give your new member time to get settled and learn the ropes, you don’t want to leave them twiddling their thumbs. New board members are often excited to dig in once they’re elected, so assigning them new projects and committees from the get-go will help sustain their momentum and encourage them in the role. Plus, many people learn by doing, so getting a practical introduction through real community projects will help the new board member learn the ropes and adjust to the pace more quickly than days or weeks of merely watching and listening.

5. Introduce them to your community association management company

Just as you introduced your new board member to the other community members, you should also introduce them to your community association management firm. They can likely help your new board member become acquainted with the demands of the job as well as the day-to-day operations they undertake. They can become familiar with ongoing maintenance projects, trusted vendors, and more. Onboarding can be a tedious process, but utilizing your HOA management company in orienting the new addition will save valuable time and help your board member become more familiar with the community operations more quickly.

If you need an HOA management company that can help you with the day-to-day operations in your community association, The Management Trust is the nation’s premier choice. We can help onboard new board members by acquainting them with ongoing projects and the most trusted vendors in their community. We can also help reduce your board’s workload by taking on daily duties so that you can focus on the big decisions that matter most. If you want a trusted partner for your community association management, there’s no better choice than The Management Trust. Give us a call today or fill out our online form to learn more about our comprehensive community association management services.

Why Your HOA Board Should Consider Online Voting

Many aspects of daily operations have changed in 2020, including our ability to meet with other people face-to-face. This has been a change that’s greatly impacted community associations throughout the country, and The Management Trust has aided our communities in navigating these changes as they come. One aspect of HOA living that has had to shift this year is board meetings. With in-person gatherings restricted throughout most of the year, there has been an increased interest in the possibility of online voting. Although this is not permitted in every state, it’s a great option for many community associations due to its convenience, greater accuracy, and—most importantly—safety benefits.


Implementing online voting for your HOA board meetings can ultimately have a drastic effect on the change in your community, since it eliminates the need for physical attendance. If board members are unable to attend meetings due to illness, traveling, work, or any other reasons, this can be detrimental and affect the outcome of essential decisions. The convenience of online voting, which can be conducted from any location with Internet connection, ensures that you’ll receive maximum votes and, therefore, a result that more accurately reflects the desire of the entire community.

Efficiency & Accuracy

Digital voting systems are also more accurate than hand-counting ballots. With in-person voting, there’s the possibility of ballots being misplaced, damaged, or not returned at all, all of which will skew the results and deprive board members of their vote. Online voting will not only ensure that every vote is counted, but it will also allow results to be tallied almost instantaneously, since ballots would be counted digitally and not by hand.


Many homeowners associations shy away from online voting because they believe it will cost more than physical ballots. However, over time, digital voting is shown to be more cost effective. With in-person voting, there are costs associated with designing, printing, and distributing the ballots for each vote. With an online system, there is an initial cost for the software, but there are usually no costs after initial setup, regardless of how many votes you conduct or how many board members participate.

Health & Safety

And then, of course, there’s the obvious. With COVID-19 restrictions making in-person meetings unsafe at best and illegal at worst, it’s become difficult to conduct basic HOA meetings in 2020. This is likely to continue into 2021, and it raises questions and concerns for public health and safety measures years in the future. It’s always a good idea to have electronic voting systems in place in case of restrictions such as the ones residents are facing today. Online voting eliminates the risk of transmission of illness, protecting the health and safety of all board members.

If your state permits electronic voting, it’s a fantastic safe, secure, and efficient alternative to physical ballots. Especially during times when public health is a concern, being able to cast votes from the comfort of your own home on your own device will reassure homeowners that their health and safety is being taken seriously. If you’re thinking about implementing online voting for your homeowners association, speak with The Management Trust community association management firm today to find out more and decide if this option is right for you. We can help you find the right solution for your community and handle the implementation process so you can focus on more important matters at hand. To speak to an employee-owner today, fill out our online form or contact us through one of our many offices.

Top Questions to Ask an HOA Management Company

For homeowners associations in Tacoma, Washington, selecting the right HOA management firm can be a tricky process. The options can seem endless and the experience overwhelming. However, HOAs can avoid this trouble by being inquisitive and informed. The process of selecting the HOA management firm that best fits your community begins with asking the right questions. Our team at The Management Trust is here to ease this process! When considering HOA management companies and the services they offer, here are some questions we recommend you ask.

What services does your HOA management company provide? 

One of the first pieces of information that you need to learn when considering a certain HOA management company is what services they provide. Learning this is pertinent to determining whether the HOA management firm is the right fit for your community. Each homeowners association has unique needs that require a management company that philosophically aligns with the community. This is one of the many reasons why The Management Trust is a full-service community management company that accommodates every neighborhood’s needs. Our management services include financial statement organization, fund management, record keeping services, escrow services, collection services, vendor billings management, budget preparation, and much more.

Who are the people that comprise your HOA management firm?

When considering an HOA management firm, you want a team that you can trust to get the job done. A successful management company is one that acknowledges that each community is different and requires specialized solutions. Being the only 100% employee-owned HOA management firm in the nation, we have first-hand experience with the diverse and unique needs that span each HOA, given that many of us live in the communities we serve. This gives us a personal perspective and a more accessible tailored approach for each homeowners association and their individual community needs.

What experience do you have serving HOAs? 

Communities want an HOA management company that is experienced and ready to address any situation that arises. HOA management firms like The Management Trust with an extensive history of successfully overseeing communities are the ideal option. Our personalized approach over the past 30 years, combined with the trust and satisfaction of over 1,500 community associations across Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, we know what it takes to provide your HOA community with the assistance it needs to thrive!

How responsive is your HOA management company?

HOA management firms often are tasked with overseeing several communities. That’s why it is important for HOAs to find a management firm that is attentive to your needs and can fulfill them in a timely manner. Your HOA should be involved with a management company that is readily available to provide any services required. The employee-owners of The Management Trust understand this and understand that our role is to help add joy to the homeownership experience in every way we can and ease the process where possible. That is why we created a bundle of services collectively called Trust 360° to handle homeowners’ non-common area maintenance needs. Whether a new or longtime owner, Trust360 can handle the nagging “to-do” list of maintenance and repair items needed by a homeowner. Anything from hanging art, cleaning gutters, to repairing appliances, our employee-owners are ready and able to facilitate virtually any service an owner or resident may need.

Homeowners associations in Tacoma, Washington are looking for a management firm they can rely on which makes The Management Trust the ideal choice. The Management Trust is the only 100% employee-owned company in the community association management industry. Due to our background, our team is able to recognize the uniqueness of each HOA which is why we provide personalized solutions for your community developed through attentive listening and learning. If your homeowners association is looking for a trusted reliable management company, contact us online by filling out an informational form or through one of our many offices.

Understanding Your HOA Board’s Code of Ethics

If you reside in an HOA community in Aurora, Colorado, knowing and understanding each community’s unique set of rules, and guidelines can be challenging. Your HOA’s board members are there to support and guide you, but how do you know what to expect of them ethically? With a culture that not only focuses on but centers its services around every community’s unique needs, The Management Trust is here to provide you with further insight into understanding your HOA Board’s code of ethics.

What Board Members Can and Should Do

  • Act with the best interests of the community in mind.
  • Perform responsibilities and duties fairly, with no favoritism or exhibiting impartiality in any and all disputes. 
  • Act within the limits of power established by the HOA and the law.
  • Divulge any potential conflict of interest with any individual or company looking to be involved with the HOA.
  • Allow members of the HOA to give their input and thoughts on decisions affecting the community.
  • Making informed decisions and judgments using all of the available information and resources.

What Board Members Can’t Do

  • Use their position or stature for personal gain.
  • Discriminate against residents, colleagues, or contractors on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.
  • Encourage any action that may violate the law. 
  • Publicly reveal the personal and confidential information of HOA members or employees without their consent.
  • Threaten or attack any fellow board member, community member, or employee.

Failing to Follow the Code of Ethics

Any board member or member of the community who fails to act within the code of ethics should receive a warning and a reminder of the stated rules. Continual failure to follow the rules means that the HOA member should then be subjected to disciplinary action with severity determined by the type of misconduct. 

It can be a tiring balancing act for HOA board members to handle their daily responsibilities whilst also having to adhere to a code of ethics. That’s why HOA management firms like The Management Trust are here for you. Our experienced team at The Management Trust is readily available to answer any questions you may have and provide any required assistance. Because we’re the only 100% employee-owned company in the community association management industry, The Management Trust is able to provide excellent client service that is uniquely tailored to each HOA. For more information about what The Management Trust can do for your community, contact us online by filling out an informational form or through one of our many offices.

Operations During Coronavirus Outbreak

We will likely have an update mid-November as we begin to bring people back to the office.

We want to thank you and our valued customers for your on-going partnership with The Management Trust. Community association management is more than just common-area maintenance and upkeep. It is about serving the needs of people and building relationships through exceptional customer experiences.

The Management Trust continues to monitor developments relating to coronavirus.  We are doing everything in our power to balance concerns for the personal health of our employee-owners while continuing to serve the needs of our clients at the highest level. Our Teams’ commitment to providing outstanding professional management for you and your community has never wavered.

While we are and will remain dedicated to the communities where we live and work, please understand that many of our offices remain closed to walk-in traffic from the general public. We have taken this step to practice social distancing and ensure limited exposure to you and your homeowner members. We are also continuing to restrict: walk-in traffic from our service providers and Trusted Partners, reduce the size and frequency of in-person meetings to small groups or hold them telephonically, limit travel, and ensure employees have increased access to remote work options.

If you have any questions or concerns, you may continue to reach your local office by telephone or by email. While this current crisis may temporarily limit in-person encounters, we are here to support you and your community as we navigate through these extraordinary times. As always, it is our pleasure to be of service.

A Guide To Managing Conflict in Your HOA Community

For any homeowners association community in Aurora, Colorado, the issue of conflict between residents has at some point arisen. Whether it’s a mundane matter or something much more serious, it’s best to resolve the conflict promptly before things escalate. The key to navigating a successful and positive community is effective conflict management. Successfully resolving a conflict relies upon a few key behavioral actions that are both universal and repeatable. Before you go ahead and attempt to handle a disagreement, here are some things that you need to know.

Engaged Listening

One of the most important actions you can take in managing conflict is simply listening attentively to the residents involved in the situation. It’s in these instances that you must remain impartial and objective. Allow for all perspectives to be given and ask questions whenever needed. It would be helpful to have an HOA management firm like The Management Trust who could be neutral and evenhanded in gathering information about the situation. Having a clear understanding of the situation is crucial to de-escalating the disagreement. 

Keep Perspective

There will be certain conflicts where tensions are running high and you yourself may feel emotionally invested. It’s important to show understanding and allow yourself to view the situation through the lenses of the other involved parties. Show compassion and be empathetic to the views of others even if they’re in contrast to your own perspective. 

Communication is the Key

How you communicate is a significant factor in managing conflicts. Most conflicts originate as a result of some form of miscommunication or failure to understand another’s viewpoint. Having respectful conversations and clearing up any misunderstandings is the key to getting everybody on the same page. If you find yourself unable to establish effective forms of communication, HOA management companies like The Management Trust are available to help you do so. 

Keep Calm and Carry On

Ultimately, the key to managing and defusing conflicts is rationality and calmness. Maintaining a positive attitude and projecting calmness will relieve tension and create an environment conducive to problem-solving. Ensuring that each involved party remains composed during the conversation is a small but significant step towards conflict resolution. 

If you need a HOA management company that will help resolve conflicts within your community in an effective and fair manner, then The Management Trust is the right choice for you. Any successful and inclusive community can efficiently manage conflicts between residents. Resolving conflicts amicably is important to maintaining relationships and retaining peace within a community. For further consultation about our services contact us online by filling out an informational form or through one of our many offices.