Working with Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) can sometimes be a challenge. They’re often big organizations that know exactly what they want and can be hard to persuade otherwise. Or on the flipside, they don’t know at all what they want and seek out too many options. However, all it really takes to build a great working relationship is a positive, candid attitude and a willingness to be receptive to their thoughts and ideas for the project.
Follow these tips to help make working with HOAs a breeze:
1. Listen to the needs of the community and provide expert advice
Always have the HOA’s needs, wants and best interests in mind. After all, they are the ones financing the project and living in that community, so every decision affects them directly. At the same time, don’t be afraid to offer a solution different than what they are requesting if it could provide a better outcome. For example, it doesn’t make sense to replace wood fencing every ten years for another wood fence, or to constantly maintain it, when they could consider a vinyl product that looks similar to wood but never has to be replaced again.
But you won’t sway them without hard evidence. Come to every sale prepared with fact sheets and product spec sheets that not only show them their options, but also why those options are worth their consideration. For example, to convince them to ditch the wood fence in place of vinyl, you’ll need to present exactly what the benefits of vinyl are as opposed to wood.
2. Consider property resale value
When deciding on a fence, think of what might provide an added value and aesthetic to the property. Explore various options with them and help them choose something with a timeless look and easy upkeep.
3. Avoid being too “out there”
While you want to help the HOA increase value and curb appeal, make sure you stay within the parameters of their current community. Many of them already have a certain style and atmosphere they’ve established, so you shouldn’t tamper with that. Try to coordinate colors and themes of the existing structures with the new fence options. As you know, CertainTeed’s fence products are all designed to match its siding and roofing, so this shouldn’t be difficult to do.
4. Don’t be afraid to introduce a premium product
Again, if it’s in the best interest of the community, it may be worth bringing a premium product forward for their consideration. With pooled association money, HOAs generally have a reasonable budget to afford a higher-priced product, especially because it will be purchased in bulk, as opposed to when an individual is buying for his house and has to absorb that cost all on his own. And you may find that they are excited about the nicer product and the quality they would get for their money.
Putting this advice into action, Matt had a great experience working with an HOA in Marietta, Georgia that was tired of the time and money it was taking to maintain the community’s wooden fences. Check out his success story in World Fence News.
Matt Richardson is territory manager for CertainTeed fence, railing and decking.