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"It is essential that the board be fully transparent with homeowners so that they know exactly how their money is being spent, and why an increase in dues is necessary," says Bryan Kuester, President of Kuester Management Group. "Ensure that they have all pertinent information available so members understand where they are getting these figures from, and how the increase is being calculated."
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Remind homeowners that as the economy ebbs and flows, so do the costs of services, says Kuester. Just like their insurance or phone bill may increase periodically, so does the association's. The price of gas or pesticides may rise, which in turn means the landscapers may need to up their fees to cover their own increase in expenses. It all trickles down.
The HOA should explain to homeowners where costs are increasing within the association's budget, and what steps they have taken to try to control expenses. If they are in the process of renegotiating contracts or putting out requests for new bids, let members know. When members can clearly see how their money is being spent, what they are getting in return, and how the HOA is trying its best to protect their investment, it can make them more accepting of changes.
"Be open to taking questions from members about increases in dues and any ideas they may have for effectively cutting costs," says Kuester. "Work together to find solutions, but let them know that ultimately the board may have to increase fees to maintain the best interest of the community as a whole and to meet rising costs of managing the property. Encourage members to regularly attend board meetings so that they stay up-to-date on what is happening."
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Kuester works with HOAs throughout the Carolinas to manage association operations, improve communication with members, enforce rules, handle collections, and much more.
Kuester Management Group 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 has worked to foster strong, resilient, and unified communities across North and South Carolina. More information is available at www.kuester.com.
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