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 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. 

HOA Board Responsibilities: What You Need to Know

System - Wednesday, February 2, 2022

If you're new to living in a condo or planned community, the concept of a homeowner's association (HOA) can be a little foreign. You own your home, but you also have an HOA board as part of your life. What's that all about?

In fact, the HOA board is there to make your life easier and more comfortable. They help to organize the care of the communal areas and facilities of the property. They also protect your investment by helping everyone to follow the rules.

But what are the HOA board's responsibilities? Who are the HOA board members? Should I become one?

Let's explore all these questions and more as we look at everything you need to know about HOA board responsibilities. 

How the HOA Board Works

Just like a corporation, a homeowners association needs a board of decision-makers to oversee its smooth running. 

The HOA board is typically made up of members of the community - your neighbors. Board members are elected by the community. 

Usually, the board is quite small. Depending on the size of the community is could be as small as 3 members, or as large as 7.

The HOA board members have different functions. Typically, there will be a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. Any other members are simply general members of the board.

What the HOA Board Does

The HOA board is responsible for running the HOA. Typically, the HOA is responsible for:

  • Making and enforcing HOA rules
  • Collecting HOA fees
  • Organizing the maintenance and improvement of the common areas

The Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) guides the HOA. HOA board members and all residents should become familiar with it.

These are the bylaws - the rules that everyone must live by. It's important to be familiar with the HOA rules if you do not want a polite but firm notice making you aware of them when you paint your fence the wrong color. 

One of the most important HOA responsibilities is budgeting. They need to budget for the ongoing maintenance of the property. This includes having funds for regular maintenance, landscaping, window washing, and snow removal.

They must also plan for future capital projects. This could include installing new fencing, making major renovations, or large-scale repair projects. 

Along with this, the homeowners association must ensure that the property complies with all relevant laws. This includes laws set by the State of Washington and any federal laws regarding their particular type of community.

How an HOA Management Company Can Help

There is a lot of work and responsibility involved in being an HOA board member. However, you can have the satisfaction of helping your neighbors and keeping your community safe and pleasant.

Working with an HOA management company can help to make the process much smoother. They can help to foster good communication between all parties. You get the benefit of their experience and expertise and the help of a neutral third party. 

Choose Invest West Management for Your HOA

Is your HOA board struggling to keep things moving forward?

Don't struggle alone. Choose Invest West Management. We have over 40 years of experience in helping homeowners associations to manage their properties.

We are a full-service management company. Our services include:

  • Community building services
  • Vancouver association governance services
  • Property management services. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can be of service to your HOA.

Important Things an HOA Management Company Can Do for Your Vancouver, Washington, Community

System - Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Today, more than 5 million American households live in condominiums or co-ops. These housing options offer affordable, flexible plans for families. However, they often lack the community found in traditional neighborhoods. 

If you crave this community, consider looking into HOA management companies. For over 40 years, Invest West Management has served Vancouver, Washington residents. Let’s dive into how we can help you, and why we’re one of the best HOA property management companies around.

HOA Management Companies Build Community

First, HOA management companies foster community growth. Neighbors build Homeowners Association on shared beliefs and location. Keeping HOAs afloat, however, is an entirely different story.

Hiring an HOA management company keeps your HOA alive. We maintain positive community growth that brought households together in the first place. Let’s take a look at some of the specific ways Invest West Management can foster your community. 

Streamlined, Professional Communication

Most civil disputes don't start because two parties are at true odds. Instead, they're birthed through miscommunication. With our professional oversight, these miscommunications will be few and far between.

Our team harnesses skilled managers and officers that streamline community communication. We help run board and committee meetings to be civil, smooth, and courteous. 

Even if community members can't make it to a meeting, we keep them in the loop. Our team sends out newsletters to inform community members who couldn’t make it. This keeps your community informed about decisions and rationale.

Responsibilities Handled

Delegating work between community members is no easy task. You'll ruffle feathers among neighbors who feel they’re getting the short end of the work stick. Let our managers carry out board directives to take the burden off of community members.

Our managers can handle the dirty work that keeps your community running. Services include regular property inspections, reporting violations, and finding homeowners out of compliance. As our managers handle tasks, your neighbors have time to spend with each other in harmony. 

Comprehensive Property Management

Companies that manage HOAs can do more than build communities. As our name would imply, Invest West Management also offers general community management.

We access a trusted network to service community maintenance needs. This network includes plumbers, electricians, and more. If your community has a maintenance need, we know who to call.

Additionally, we house our own team of maintenance technicians. Our team is perfect for emergency responses when other professionals can’t make it in time.

Invest in HOA Management Services Today

HOA Management Companies serve communities across the country with their community management services. They feature easy communication, delegated responsibilities, and in-house property management. For these reasons combined, HOA management companies are a worthwhile investment. 

Ready to find out why Invest West Management serves as a management boon to so many communities? Call our Vancouver location at (360) 254-5700, or our Portland location at (503) 221-0924. You can also visit us in person at 12503 SE Mill Plain Blvd. Suite 260, Vancouver, WA.

Community Association Management: Working With Association Managers

System - Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Did you know that a record number of people live in Home Owner Association (HOA) communities as of the 2020s? First-time HOA residents can find the process daunting. Working with a community association management team or manager can make this process far smoother. 

Community association management companies are designed to work with your HOA Board. Many communities are choosing to create their own HOA management systems. Whether you're a homeowner or board member, having a community association management company isn't as complicated as you think. 

Why Have an HOA?

HOA and other community associations are like having a mini-government in your neighborhood. The purpose of an HOA is to regulate what can be done in your community. Maintaining neighborhood standards is why so many people are choosing to invest in Vancouver, Washington.

Some of the most beautiful landscapes in North America have been scourged by short-term rental housing. Short-term rentals have pros and cons, but they do not create community. Given the mass exodus from America's cities to smaller, rural communities, HOAs have become vital to maintaining a sense of "home."

HOAs can limit short-term rentals in their communities through creating documents that preserve a sense of community. Many other nuance issues go through HOAs. Community aesthetic is another important factor to maintain housing prices. 

Community Association Management

Maintaining your board can be complicated. The members are neighbors first, so emotion can play into decision-making. To separate personal feelings from management, community association managers work through communication processes. 

Communication is key is maintaining a happy community. Instead of having your neighbor tell you how to live, a community manager can work with individual homeowners to resolve any issues. 

The purpose of the community manager is to carry out the directive of the board. The board is always made up of people who live in your community. The job of the manager is to undertake the day-to-day operations the board has delegated.

Overall, the community managers want to positively enhance the quality of life in any community they serve. For example, they may help you and your neighbors maintain your properties efficiently. With an owner portal, the HOA management services can increase the value of your home.

If you're new to an HOA, creating the governing documentation can feel like a complicated process. These documents establish the nature and types of rules the HOA board of managers can make. 

Your Home Is The Most Precious Resource

Whether or not you have an HOA at present, we can help. You set the rules, and it is the job of your community association management team to ensure they're carried out. 

Your HOA cannot enforce any rules that go against your governing documents. Setting these up correctly is key. You'll need to make sure your documents align with local ordinances, state, and federal law. These common interest statutes are what protect you and your home. Get in touch to learn more! 

What Gives the Association the Right to Tell Me What to Do?

System - Thursday, November 5, 2015
In a nutshell: the association declaration and state law gives the association the authority to regulate some of what you can do in your community.
Community associations have a governmental component. Like a city or county government, a community association has a charter—called the declaration. The declaration generally encompasses bylaws, covenants and other documents that give community associations their legal foundation.
These governing documents obligate the association to preserve and protect the assets of the community. To enable the board to meet this obligation, association governing documents also empower the board to make rules and define the process for adopting and enforcing them—within limits. Governing documents also establish parameters for the nature and type of rules the board can make.
State law gives associations the authority to make rules. These are called common interest community statutes, and they apply to condominiums, cooperatives, and property owners associations.
Remember, however, that the board can’t make or enforce any rule that is contrary to the governing documents, local ordinances, state law or federal regulations. Remember also that the board makes rules on your behalf—to protect your investment, your home.

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