Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Future of Homeowner Associations...

If your a community association, older established homeowner association, or a small homeowner association, chances are the level of volunteerism and/or community involvement has drastically declined over the years.  For most associations, those Board of Director members who were once actively involved are now faced with an inability to find volunteers.  Those born during the Great Depression, or who lived thru World War II and understood the notion of volunteerism are dying in record numbers.

For the Baby Boomers, who approximately 2000 per day are turning age 60, college age children are moving back home.  Faced with the worst recession since World War II, the Baby Boomers are dealing with declining incomes, depleted 401k's, reduced or non-existent savings accounts, and job lay-offs never thought imaginable.  Add to that bankruptcy, and/or foreclosure and the picture becomes more bleak.

As such, the future of neighborhood, residential, and/or commercial associations is somewhat dismal at best. Where will the volunteers come from? Who will manage the association after the present Board of Directors is gone? Will our association stagnate or merely die?  Will our association become part of the management portfolio of an otherwise uncaring professional management company? Or will our properties merely crumble and decay into nonexistence because of limited resources?

These are all very important questions that many Homeowner Association HOA Board members would most likely want to ignore. At least until their term of office has expired, or they have moved.  The problem with most associations is that complacency will most likely be the order of the day.  Unless a professional management company is on the sidelines ready to adopt the troubled property, they will most likely stagnate and die. The notion that Homeowner Associations can continue to operate as a business entity as they did 20 years ago is nothing less than flawed thinking.  Those management companies that fail to recognize this issue will find themselves having revenue related difficulties as well. Thus, it is imperative that Homeowner Associations, like commercial businesses develop some form of succession plan in the event of declining volunteerism, community involvement, or revenues.

As they saying goes "A failure to plan constitutes noting less than planned failure."