- Joe Wise
Is Your HOA Playing Whack-A-Mole With Maintenance and Reserves?
Whack-A-Mole. You’ve probably played the game or at least heard of it. A face pops up, and you whack it. Another face pops up, and WHACK. No matter how good you are at the game, there’s always another mole staring you in the face. Odds are that your HOA Board also leads a whack-a-mole life in one or more areas.
How does your association deal with criticial facilities management issues of maintenance and repairs? As your community ages, there are more long-term maintenance and repair issues to handle. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. When the roof springs a leak, do you WHACK that problem? Then WHACK the next urgent problem when it arises? WHACK the next one when it pops up. If you find yourself doing this, you are compounding future problems.
Just as a 55-year-old patient cannot show up at the doctor’s office and reverse 30 years of poor health choices, it will take time for a community association manager to help an association develop a plan for maintenance and capital reserve funding. It’s detrimental to the community when you don’t have fully funded reserves and a maintenance plan that keeps the association in good repair.
The definition of 100% funding your reserve fund is confusing to many people. If your reserve study states that you need to replace a roof in 10 years at a cost of $100,000, “fully funded” does not mean that you have $100,000 today. It means that you have $10,000 in the bank this year, $20,000 next year, $30,000 the following year, and so on until you have $100,000 on the 10th year when the roof is scheduled for replacement.
Maintenance plans and reserve funds help you pay for the expected as well as the unexpected. You can identify some of the repairs that are needed, and you have a good idea of their timeframe. You have ballpark costs. That’s what you need to get started on building your reserve fund.
The game of whack-a-mole is really just more of the same. If you keep doing what you have always done, don’t be surprised when you keep getting what you have always gotten. When you don’t have a plan, there’s always another mole popping up from unknown places. Stop WHACKING and start planning to regain control in your association.