As with other companies, we have adopted a hybrid work model, with a combination of in-office and remote work schedules. Our team is working on your behalf, and is happy to help via phone, email, electronic meeting, or by advanced appointment in our office to ensure the appropriate team member is available to assist you. Should you need assistance, please see the Our Team page for our team’s direct extensions and emails. For after-hours assistance, or to reach our receptionist during business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday) please call 360-254-5700.

Property Management Blog

What Is HOA Management?

System - Thursday, December 1, 2022

Did you know that more than 350,000 communities relied on management from a homeowners association in 2022? With a number like that, it's clear that homeowner's associations (HOAs) are a major player in the real estate industry. HOA management services are used in adjoining dwellings but are found managing neighborhoods with single-family residences. 

If you are considering using an HOA management company and want to learn more about the services these companies offer, keep reading.  

What Are HOA Management Services?

HOA management companies provide management, financial, and administrative services. These companies appoint an on-site manager to support the HOA board and the homeowners.

When it comes to establishing an HOA policy, that is the domain of the HOA board. However, the management company can assist with enforcement. 

On the financial side, HOA management companies handle accounts receivable and establish budgets. This can include processing payments and handling delinquent accounts. Administrative duties may include scheduling board meetings and responding to homeowner inquiries. 

Site management is another important duty that companies offering HOA management services provide. This includes ensuring that rules on home appearance and upkeep are being maintained. They can also handle work on shared areas, including sidewalks, gyms, and pools. 

What Are HOA Fees?

HOA fees are charged to homeowners as a means of paying for the services the homeowners association provides. These fees are typically assessed monthly, although some places assess quarterly fees.

The fees vary based on what services are provided to residents, such as pools and gyms. The fees typically range from a few hundred to $1000. 

What is an HOA Board?

The HOA board is responsible for creating the by-laws the properties shall operate by. These rules may cover everything from landscaping to holiday decorating. Members of the board are elected and the positions resemble those in the corporate structure, including president and vice president. 

These boards have broad powers to enforce their regulations. If fees aren't paid, a board can enact a lien on a property

What Should You Look For In an HOA Management Company?

While you already know the services to look for, you should review the individuals operating the company. Ideally, there should be at least one licensed realtor on the team. There are other professional certifications related to property management you may look for, including:

Are You Ready to Get HOA Management Services?

Now that you know about HOA management services, what are you waiting for? These companies provide management, financial, and administrative services that make the day-to-day operation of a homeowners association more manageable. You should review the personnel with any prospective company to look for applicable qualifications. 

If you are in the Vancouver, Washington area and are ready to learn more about the services offered, contact us to get started. 

4 Tips on How to Set HOA Holiday Decorating Rules

System - Thursday, November 3, 2022

One of the first things homeowners ask about when moving into a neighborhood is whether there is a homeowners association. One thing about the HOA is the fees differ based on the season and other things that happen throughout the year.

When it comes to the holiday season, you might be wondering how to set the HOA holiday decorating rules for the people in the neighborhood.

We have some tips below to help you ensure that you not only provide decorating ideas but also some information on enforcing HOA holiday decorating rules as the holiday season gets underway.

1. Give People Deadlines

Deadlines are one of the most essential parts of setting the HOA holiday decorating rules. You must ensure that you set a precise date to give homeowners information about when they can start decorating their decorations.

You should also include information about when the decorations should be taken down. For example, one rule may be that 2 weeks after a holiday has concluded, homeowners must remove the decorations from their homes.

While HOA holiday decoration ideas might not seem like a big deal to some people, preserving the integrity of the neighborhood is essential. You don't want people leaving their Christmas decorations up until the summer.

2. Ban Certain Types of Lighting

Lights are one of the main components of holiday decor. However, if homeowners aren't careful and go overboard, they could end up hanging lighting that becomes distracting. Especially to people that are driving past the home.

When people become distracted by lights or other forms of decor, it can become a hazard leading to an accident within the neighborhood. It's best to set rules that ban homeowners from hanging lights that could momentarily bling people that are driving or flash.

Also, when the lights are hung, note that homeowners should hang them so they don't shine towards the road. Again, this could be hazardous to people driving by.

3. The Decor Must Have Anchors

When you enforce HOA holiday decorating rules you've got to think of everything, including how decor is anchored.

Much like the flashing of lights, no one wants to see an inflatable decoration item flying across their yard. If people are going to use inflatables as a part of their decor, ensure that they understand they must be anchored in the yard.

When items aren't anchored properly, it becomes a distraction. But it can also be hazardous and lead to accidents if it flies in front of someone driving down the street. 

4. Ban Noise Playing Distractions

We all enjoy seeing holiday decorations on our way home. But when it's time to go to sleep for the night, we don't want to listen to scary holiday noises or Christmas music late into the evening.

To ensure that people aren't disturbed while sleeping, ban noise-making machines.

Or if you're going to grant them use, ensure people understand there's a specific time when they must be turned off in your community home decorating guidelines.

How to Set HOA Holiday Decorating Rules

When it comes to setting HOA holiday decorating rules, there are several ways to allow homeowners to celebrate without going overboard. Ensure people understand to anchor their inflatables and ban noise-making decor.

If you want to improve your HOA, contact Invest West Management and let us put our 40 years of experience to work for you and your association.

A First Time Home Owner's Guide to HOA Fees

System - Monday, October 3, 2022

The average HOA fee for a home in Portland, just outside Vancouver, Washington, was $384 a month in 2020. HOA fees are associated with luxury living in the suburbs, but they are becoming increasingly popular among any community in a desirable area.

Even if you decide to live closer to the city or downsize once your kids have grown up and left home, you may still face HOA fees. So, we created this guide to help you acclimate to the costs associated with joining an HOA community.

What is an HOA?

HOA stands for homeowner's association. These nonprofit organizations manage the common area of a residential neighborhood.

A home owner pays a monthly fee to live in an HOA community. HOA costs cover the costs of maintaining common areas like parks, pools, roads, sidewalks, landscaping, trash removal, and security patrols.

How to Find Out if Your Home Has an HOA

One of the first questions you should ask when buying a house is whether or not the neighborhood has an HOA. Sometimes, you'll find that information in the real estate listing. But, you can also speak to the seller's real estate agent or the seller to find out.

If you're still having trouble determining whether the home has an HOA, the most reliable way to know is to check the county property records. But, being unable to find HOA information anywhere else is rare.

What are HOA Fees?

Homeowner's associations exist to maintain a certain standard of living within the neighborhood they control. The number of amenities an HOA provides can change the amount of HOA dues you owe each month. Neighborhoods with a higher standard of living and more amenities cost more to maintain.

HOAs calculate your monthly fees based on the square footage of your home. People with larger homes pay more for community upkeep than those with smaller homes.

How Do I know What my HOA Costs Are?

This is a question you can ask either your real estate agent or the seller's real estate agent. They should be able to provide you with accurate HOA fee information. If they cannot, you can request the contact information of your HOA board members or HOA management company.

What if The Fees are Too High?

Then you don't have to buy it! You can move on and find another house with lower to no HOA fees.

But if you're really set on the home, there are some actions that you can take on your own to lower those future costs. Becoming a member of your local HOA and finding ways to cut costs is one of them.

Can I Opt Out of my HOA?

Some people may be surprised that they cannot opt out of their HOA when they purchase a home. But HOAs govern the neighborhood and all houses in it, sometimes even holding a lien against homes with outstanding balances.

HOAs also require a certain percentage of owners to be actively involved for an HOA agreement to exist. So, even though a few people don't like the HOA, most homeowners in the neighborhood do and the majority wins.

You can, however, try to convince your neighbors to dissolve your HOA. But it's a hard sell since so many people desire that standard of living.

HOA Management in Vancouver, Washington

When buying a home in Vancouver, WA, you should understand how much the monthly HOA fees will be before making an offer. If you're having trouble getting that exact figure, your HOA may be in serious need of some management. That's where Invest West Management can help.

For over 40 years, we've provided the Vancouver Washington area with top-of-the-line HOA and community management services. Put your community in the hands of experts today. Contact us today and learn more about how Invest West Management can help your neighborhood.

What Is an HOA Lien?

System - Monday, September 5, 2022

As of 2022, you can expect to pay an average of over $350,000 for a home in the United States. As time goes on, the price of real estate will continue to increase. First-time homebuyers will likely find it more difficult than ever before to find a house suitable for them.

If you happen to live at a property that's part of a homeowners association, there are certain terms you may be unfamiliar with during HOA meetings. One of the most common is an HOA lien.

The good news is that it is easier to understand than you might think. Let's get started with everything you need to know.

So, What Is an HOA Lien?

Simply put, an HOA lien is a claim against a property in order to collect unpaid HOA dues. When an owner falls behind on their dues, the HOA has the right to place a lien on their property.

This means that the owner will not be able to sell or refinance their home until the outstanding balance is paid in full.

What Happens if I Don't Pay the Lien?

If the owner fails to pay the lien, the HOA may eventually foreclose on the property. This is a serious matter and one that you will want to avoid if at all possible. If you are having trouble paying your dues, be sure to reach out to your HOA.

It is much better to be transparent about your situation than to struggle with it on your own.

How Can I Avoid an HOA Lien?

Of course, the best way to avoid an HOA lien is to simply pay your dues on time.

Unfortunately, unforeseen financial struggles can make this difficult for some homeowners. If you find yourself in this situation, the best thing to do is reach out to your HOA as soon as possible to explain the situation and work out a payment plan. With open communication, you can avoid an HOA lien and keep your home safe.

Can an Hoa Lien Lead to Foreclosure?

If you fail to pay an HOA lien, the HOA may eventually foreclose on your property. HOA foreclosure can lead to the loss of your home as well as numerous other issues, such as damage to your credit score.

Be sure that you keep this information in mind so that you can avoid the complications associated with HOA foreclosure.

How Do I Get Rid of an HOA Lien?

If you have an HOA lien on your property, the best thing to do is to pay it off as soon as possible. Once you have paid the outstanding balance in full, the lien will be removed from your property.

As previously mentioned, those who have trouble dealing with this obligation should get in touch with their homeowners association to discuss their potential options.

Don’t Neglect This Term at Your HOA Meetings

Although you may not understand this term, the first time you hear it at HOA meetings, it's more straightforward than you might expect. Ensure that you keep the above guidelines in mind to avoid problems you may have encountered.

Looking for ways we can help you out in the future? Feel free to reach out to us today to learn more.

What Is an HOA Foreclosure?

System - Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Every year, around 0.11% of all US housing units face foreclosure. Yet many people believe only lenders can start these proceedings. But did you know an HOA can do it as well?

As an HOA, a time may come when you need to start foreclosure procedings. Read on as we give the essential guide on HOA foreclosure.  

What Is an HOA Foreclosure?

Most people are familiar with foreclosure in relation to a mortgage. If the person who took out the loan for the property does not pay, then the lender can foreclose on the property and seize it. 

Many people are surprised that an HOA can foreclose on a property. It will happen when a homeowner does not pay assessments or has unpaid dues. 

How Does an HOA Foreclosure Work?

For an HOA to foreclose a property, they need to apply for a Claim of Lien. This prevents an owner from selling the property or refinancing unless they have paid the debt. It will stay attached to the property for three years if it is not paid and when it expires the HOA will have to apply for another. 

The process will start with a hearing. In this, confirmation that the homeowner is behind on their payments by at least 90 days shall be given. A vote then gets taken to act on foreclosure and notice will be served to the homeowner to allow them to pay their debts. 

Failure to reach an agreement means the second phase begins. This starts with the posting of a notice of sale and the HOA begins a lawsuit against the homeowner. 

Can Other People Bid on the HOA Foreclosure Sale?

When a foreclosure takes place, other people can bid on the property. These third parties must submit a bid that is higher than the one the HOA has. The bidder then pays 5% to the trustee of the property at that given time. 

Can It Be Contested?

When contesting of foreclosure takes place, the attorney for the HOA can no longer be its trustee and attorney at the same time, so someone else must become a trustee. This person is normally a lawyer as well, increasing the cost.

A foreclosure does tend to fall in the favour of HOAs. This is because there is a long process in place before it gets to this point, giving the owner plenty of time to rectify the situation in the run-up. A defendant can also not use facts such as the amount owed or if the HOA did their duty as a defence.   

Starting Proceedings

Now you know about HOA foreclosure, you can see that it should take a long time to reach if due diligence had been served. Systems are in place to allow resolution of the conflict before this happens. 

For all homeowner services, Invest West Management should be your first stop. We have management services and a range of resources for all HOAs. Click here to request a management proposal from our expert staff. 

What Does a Homeowner's Association Do?

System - Wednesday, July 6, 2022

In Washington state, there are over 10,000 homeowner’s associations, serving about 2.36 million people. If you’re one of these residents, you may wonder what exactly a homeowner’s association does.

Today, we’re going to look at what an HOA does as well as what its members do. Let’s get started.

What Is a Homeowner’s Association?

A homeowner’s association (HOA) is a group that creates and enforces rules for its residents and properties. Many times, HOAs are in planned developments, subdivisions, or condominium communities. They can also provide valuable services to their members.

HOA’s are run by a board of directors. An HOA board is responsible for collecting fees in order to fund maintenance and upkeep in the area. Many times, residents elect this board.

What Does a Homeowner’s Association Do?

The HOA can help keep your neighborhood clean and orderly. This creates a cohesive and inviting atmosphere. They are responsible for upholding the rules that members need to follow.

If your community offers utilities or facilities, your HOA will be in charge of the upkeep of it. They would also keep master insurance and manage any neighborhood finances.

Some HOAs offer other services. For example, yours might help maintain community grounds or even your own yard.

Sometimes HOAs work with an association management company. This can make it easier for them to fulfill their duties to their residents. 

Responsibilities of HOA Members

If you purchase property in an area served by an HOA, you automatically become a member. As such, you also need to pay dues or HOA fees.

Many groups hold regular HOA meetings. While you are probably not required to attend, you may be welcomed and encouraged to be involved.

Some HOAs have rules that residents need to follow. Most often this dictates the appearance of your home and any vehicles or structures outside it. As a member, you need to follow the association's rules.

If you are non-compliant, an HOA may impose fines.

Differences from Other Similar Groups

It’s easy to confuse HOAs with community associations or property owner associations. However, there are a few differences. 

Since most HOAs are incorporated, they must follow applicable state laws. In some areas, condominium-based HOAs and co-op boards may have different property interests than traditional HOAs. They are considered to fall under the broader term of “community association” along with HOAs.

The membership of property owner associations (POAs) is generally broader than that of an HOA. POAs may include anyone who wants to improve their community and the real estate values of the local properties. That means they may include people who are not homeowners but are still interested in the goal.

A community association management company is not one of these groups. Instead, they offer management services that make it easier for these community groups to function properly.

Understand Your Homeowner’s Association

If your community has a homeowner's association, it’s important that you fully understand its function. This way you can fully take advantage of its benefits and even get more involved.

If your community association is looking for HOA management services, contact Invest West Management today.

What Services Do HOA Management Companies Provide

System - Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Over 57,000 HOAs in the United States use association management companies. This is largely in part because managing all aspects of an HOA is a tough job.

But what exactly does HOA management entail? This guide to HOA management outlines the services that HOA management companies provide. Keep reading to learn how partnering with an HOA management company can help your community.

Administrative Services

HOA management companies provide a community with an experienced manager. This manager serves as the primary point of contact for residents and owners. As an expert in community management, the HOA manager is able to handle any situations that might come up.

The management company schedules board meetings, enforces rules, and prepares an annual budget. They're also responsible for responding to homeowner inquiries. Having an effective building manager is one of several benefits a community gets from hiring a management company.

Site and Vendor Management

An HOA management company operates with the purpose of increasing property values. Part of this responsibility includes maintaining the visual appeal of the property. It also includes ensuring residents are upholding all community rules and regulations.

When the management company identifies any needed maintenance, they alert the HOA board. The board then decides if action is needed. The management company will find a vendor and see that the work gets completed.

The management company oversees regular maintenance. This might include pool maintenance, landscaping, or snow removal.

Accounting Services

It's unlikely that members of the HOA board are qualified or have the time to manage the financials of the HOA. HOA management services include keeping financials secure and adhering to accounting principles.

A management company will manage bank accounts for the community. They will also collect dues, cut checks to vendors, and compile monthly statements. The HOA can trust that the management company is well versed in carrying out appropriate accounting practices.

Debt Management

It can be hard for an HOA board to deal with the legality and logistics of delinquent accounts. A professional HOA management company is well-versed in this area. They will handle late payments and take the potential stress away from the board.

It is the responsibility of the management company to stay up to date on applicable state laws. They deal with billing, reporting delinquent accounts to the board, and sending delinquent notices. They’ll also start legal action for the collection of funds in coordination with the association’s attorney.

HOA Management Companies Provide Many Services in One

Managing an HOA requires expertise in various domains and a huge time investment. HOA management companies are a great one-stop solution for HOA boards who can’t do it all themselves.

If you are looking for a qualified HOA management company in Vancouver or Portland, contact us at Invest West Management, LLC. Our team of experts is ready to provide you with the property management services you’re looking for.

5 Major Benefits of Being on an HOA Board

System - Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Are you looking for a way to make a difference in your community? Are you tired of rules being made without you? Do you live in a community with a homeowners association?

If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, it's time for you to seriously consider being on the HOA board. 

Being an HOA member isn't like what you see in the movies. The HOA is a great way to network while making changes for the betterment of your community.

To learn more about the reasons why you need to join an HOA board, keep reading.

1. You Can Share Your Opinion With the Homeowners Association

A lot of people living under an HOA have opinions about how the HOA board runs things. But, many of them don't bother to bring their concerns to the HOA. 

By joining the homeowners association as an HOA board member, you can share your opinion with the board directly. And, as a member, your opinion has weight.

So, you can forget all of those years that you sat in silence about bush trimming regulations and brick color enforcements. You get to go straight to the source.

2. You Can Make More Friends as an HOA Board Member

There are people on the HOA board that are waiting to network with you. Whether they become friends or colleagues, the HOA is a great place to meet people.

And, since you're both in the same HOA, you know they live close. You could go out to dinner or catch one another at the gym.

If you've been waiting to meet more people in your area, the HOA board is a great place to do just that.

3. You Can Be in the Know With the HOA Board

The HOA board gets to know a lot about what's going on in the community. As an HOA board member, you would get the same treatment.

You may get a notice about construction that's coming. So, you can make the necessary changes ahead of time. No more worrying about your car being towed if it stays on the street for too long.

4. You Can Use Your HOA Skills in Other Areas

The communication skills that you use in the HOA are transferrable just about anywhere. No matter what job you have, you could use the HOA skills you build as a board member.

And, these individuals can become references for future positions.

5. You Can Direct the Future of Your Community on the HOA Board

All in all, your position on the HOA board would give you direct access to your community's future. You wouldn't be single-handedly taking on the community, but your place on the board gives you a lot of influence.

So, use it.

Tell the board what you think is important. Share your thoughts and communicate with your community to see what you can change for the better.

Join an HOA Board

What are you waiting for? It's time to join the HOA board and take charge of your community.

To figure out how to get involved with your HOA, find an association.

What to Expect in HOA Meetings

System - Wednesday, April 13, 2022

There are pros and cons to anything in life, including investing in or buying a home in a community with an HOA. 

While you don't have to get involved in your homeowner's association as an owner, investment professionals have different expectations. 

No matter which boat you're in, it's good to know what you're getting yourself into. Get our guide to HOA meetings below. 

The Different Types of HOA Meetings 

Because an HOA governs everything from which potential buyers get to purchase, to aesthetic concerns of the community and any emergency or urgent matters, most of them have different meeting types. 

Having multiple meetings keeps annual or Board meetings short and respects privacy in the case of urgent matters (including security). 

If you're not on the board or a committee, you'll most likely attend a board meeting. These are like "town halls" or "parent nights," where homeowners can bring up topics of discussion or complaints. If you've ever seen the show Parks and Rec, there are many people there "caring loudly" at each other.

Most of the time, homeowners who aren't active in the HOA come to board meetings when they have a specific complaint to lodge with the board. 

The board will make the community aware of any changes they're making, upcoming projects, or votes they need to be mindful of. 

Board meetings should be announced at least 7 to 14 days before being held. 

Sample Structure

A sample HOA board meeting schedule may look like this: 

  • Calling the meeting to order
  • Approval of minutes from the last meeting 
  • Approval of agenda 
  • Different reports 
    • Management report
    • Different committees 
  • Budget approval
  • Voting on new motions
  • Open floor for member discussions 

More formal HOA boards use "Robert's Rules of Order" as a meeting structure, which means you'll hear things like "open the floor" and "may I get a second?" HOA members do not need to use these terms during the open discussion. 

Annual Meetings 

If you've never been to an HOA meeting before and want to dip your toe in, the annual meeting is the right place to do so. While people may attend the monthly board meetings, you'll see the highest turnout at yearly meetings. 

This is when the board passes the budget for the year, introduces any newly elected board members, or announces large projects for the year.

The open discussion at these meetings can be lively and heated, depending on what's going on in the community. If homeowners show up to any meeting during the year, it'll be this one. 

Less Common Meeting Types 

Finally, the board may meet to go over items that the entire association doesn't need to meet over. These could be emergency conditions like flooding, storm damage, or crime.

Alternatively, boards may hold an "executive session" where they catch up on paperwork and bureaucratic matters, which would be very boring to attend. 

Your Guide to HOA Meetings 

If you've recently moved into a community with an active community management board or HOA, you can get as involved as you choose. 

If you've purchased or invested in a community with an HOA, however, you may have no choice but to get involved. If you don't have time for this, you can hire an HOA management services business to run these meetings for you. 

You don't have to attend any HOA meetings, but you can maintain a well-run community. 

Well-run community management is what we do. If you're looking for help in the Vancouver area, call us. You'll be surprised at how much easier life can be! 

Top 5 Benefits of Hiring HOA Management Services

System - Wednesday, March 2, 2022

HOA management services have helped homeowners' associations across the nation manage the legal, property value, and safety aspects of living in a restricted community for many years. It's a tough job otherwise. 

So tough, in fact, that HOAs spend around $32 billion per year just to have someone else handle it. In this article, we discuss the five benefits that make hiring HOA management services worthwhile. Let's begin! 

1. Protects the Community

The first way HOA management services can be beneficial is with safety and sensibility. An HOA board usually consists of community members, who are fulfilling their responsibilities in their free time and for no pay. 

They don't necessarily have the time to ensure safety concerns are met. Nor are they able to police every single thing that another community member does with their properties. A third-party HOA management service can ensure outside threats are monitored and addressed, while property modifications are handled responsibly. 

2. Makes It More Outwardly Appealing

An HOA service works with the purpose of improving property values. They do this by ensuring that properties are properly cared for. 

In part, that means yards and weeds are addressed in a timely manner. But it also goes beyond that to how aesthetic and safety issues pertaining to the property itself are handled. 

Properties that follow the protocols help overall values. This can pay dividends should property owners decide to join the sales boom currently going or use their properties to generate revenue.

3. Keeps Financials Secure

HOA services mean adhering to accounting principles. Not every community member who's part of the HOA board will be qualified or able to handle the financial demands of an HOA. 

Any time money changes hands between an individual and an organization, the organization is under an obligation to properly account for those funds. That brings with it certain legal requirements that can be hard to grasp for the layman. HOA services have the skills and knowledge to manage these aspects of running an organization. 

4. Legal Expertise Goes With the Territory

Real estate laws are not easy to navigate. That's especially true when you have a full-time job, a family, and other obligations. Turning management over to a qualified third party means gaining access to their legal experience without having to hire an attorney separately.

HOA management services are a one-stop shop with many responsibilities. That goes for managing the property itself and doing so within the demands of local, state, and federal laws. 

5. Maintains Physical Safety

Relying on HOA management services also means gaining access to their property management capabilities. They're able to spot safety hazards with individual properties, monitor the premises to ensure all is as it should be, and safeguard the community against outside threats.

HOA Management Services Are Multiple Solutions in One

Homeowners' associations are bodies in need of many solutions that require expert training. Doing it all themselves requires a touch of serendipity, time, and money. 

Using qualified HOA management services means getting it all in one place. Are you looking for a one-stop solution in the Vancouver and Portland areas? Contact Invest West Management, LLC today to get started. 


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INVEST WEST MANAGEMENT, LLC
12503 SE Mill Plain Blvd. Suite 260
Vancouver, WA 98684

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