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"No one likes to be told that their dues are increasing, but the reality is that keeping rates stagnant can cause serious problems in the long run," says Bryan Kuester, President of Kuester Management Group. "Smaller increases more frequently can be more manageable for members than a significant increase after years of no change."
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The board should carefully review its budget for the upcoming year to see how expenses are expected to change and whether the association's current income can keep pace, says Kuester. Re-negotiating contracts or eliminating unnecessary expenses can be one way to cut costs but increasing dues from time to time may still be necessary to keep up with rising expenses.
It is important to be transparent with members and let them know why rates are increasing and how it will affect the overall well-being of the HOA. The board can also share potential risks of not implementing a change in dues and what it could mean for the future. Give members a chance to review the options and recommendations so they can voice concerns or questions.
"Many homeowners don't realize everything their dues are paying for," says Kuester. "And when vendors increase their prices, the HOA has to come up with the extra money somehow or adjust the services it provides to the community. If dues never increase, eventually the HOA will have a budget shortfall and will have to take out a loan or levy a special assessment. Proper planning and working with a financial professional can help the board work through challenges and figure out a plan that fits their community and its needs."
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Kuester Management Group works with HOAs on budgeting, dues collection, vendor contracts, and more, and can recommend reputable financial professionals to partner with as well.
Kuester Management Group, a division of Kuester Companies, works to protect property values and enhance the quality of life in each of its managed communities. Providing a full range of association management services, Kuester Management Group has worked to foster strong, resilient, and unified communities across North and South Carolina. More information is available at www.kuester.com or @KuesterCompany.
Kuester Management Group
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