As costs for maintenance, insurance, and other essential services continue to rise, many HOAs are challenged to increase cash flow and put a little extra into reserve funding – ideally without being forced to raise fees.
Assessments can sometimes be issued to cover ad-hoc expenses, but these can be an unwelcome surprise for residents, who may be facing their own financial challenges.
With a bit of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, HOAs can find new ways to bring in extra cash without burdening homeowners. To support HOAs in these challenging times, we’ve brainstormed a list of ideas to help boost the budget.
Twelve Great Ways for HOAs to Bring in Extra Income
If you’re looking for alternatives to special assessments, consider these ideas.
1. Rent out underused areas
Parking spaces, storage sheds, and empty buildings all have rental income potential. Think about local yoga instructors, community colleges and schools, or local businesses that might need an extra office or parking space. Weekly vendor markets are another possibility. Though some of these ideas may need to be managed, you likely have someone in the organization who would volunteer to be the point person.
2. Outside vendors
On-site businesses like coffee shops, pet groomers, or hair salons add value to the community and allow local businesses to grow.
3. Install vending machines
Consider installing vending machines in common areas to provide residents with convenient snacks, drinks, and essentials. Seek out used machines or purchase new ones, but ask for ideas about what residents want to see in the machines.
4. Open a laundromat
If you don’t have laundry facilities, consider purchasing coin-operated machines. Send out a survey first to see if there is any interest. You don’t want to waste time and money on unneeded services.
5. Reduce costs
Conduct a thorough audit of your ongoing expenses and see where you can trim the budget. It’s worth looking at vendor contracts to understand what’s included, as you might be paying for services you don’t use. If that’s the case, renegotiating may lower your costs and put money back in the budget. But be sure you’re not sacrificing essential services to save a few bucks; you don’t want to impact the quality or comfort of your property.
Other ways to reduce costs include going paperless, eliminating postal mail, adding technology, and using a centralized security and surveillance system that a single individual can manage.
You can also step up your recycling and green bin programs, as better uptake may reduce your need for garbage pickup. Launching a campaign to reduce landfill trash will appeal to most people, so getting your residents on board shouldn’t be hard. If you cut your dumpster pickup in half, you’re saving a big chunk of cash you would otherwise need to cover.
6. Sell advertising
Most HOAs send out a monthly newsletter. Selling ad space to local businesses gives you a consistent monthly income and adds value for your residents and advertisers. Getting ads in front of your community is a huge advantage for advertisers, especially if you target businesses that interest your demographic.
7. Rent out clubhouse and recreational spaces
Your clubhouse and recreational spaces (tennis courts, pool, etc.) can be rented to outside customers for parties, presentations, fundraisers, baby showers, weddings, retirement parties, concerts, and other events. Put together a rate list, take some nice photos, and create a brochure or web page to advertise your facilities. Seek out local clubs, organizations, businesses, and schools to market to.
Another idea for ongoing rentals might be establishing a business or co-working center. Installing business-grade internet and providing amenities like desks, meeting rooms, audio-visual equipment, and a small break room or café could be attractive to residents who work from home as well as people in the area.
8. Put a cell tower on your roof
Allowing a cell tower installation can bring in a nice chunk of cash for the HOA every month. An additional benefit is that your residents will have better cell service. Not all properties are suitable for this type of income-building initiative, but it’s worth checking in with a wireless carrier or tower service to schedule a site inspection.
9. Charge a monthly amenities fee
Monthly amenities fees are not always popular among residents, but even a small fee can help offset costs for maintenance, upkeep, and future upgrades. This option would be most suitable for properties that already have significant amenities like swimming pools, fitness centers, tennis or pickleball courts, etc.
10. Host fundraising events
Hold fundraising events monthly, quarterly, or as often as you like. Collect items to auction off, hold raffles, 50/50 draws, contests – there are so many ways to raise money and have fun at the same time. Many homeowners will gladly donate to fundraisers, whereas mandatory assessments may leave a bad taste in their mouths. Bake sales, rummage sales, concerts, plant sales, workshops, and contests are other great ways to get people involved.
11. Install EV charging machines
If any of your residents have electric vehicles, they’ll likely love the convenience of having an on-site charging station at their disposal. You can charge residents who need them a monthly fee for use or choose a fee-per-use system.
12. Install solar panels
Solar panels may have a significant up-front cost, but they will lower energy costs for your residents and potentially put money back in the budget over time if you can sell power back to the grid. Solar arrays will also raise the value of your property and provide tax advantages, which will reduce costs over time. Rebates for equipment and installation may be available at the state and federal levels.
Mounting costs are a concern for most HOAs today, but special assessments shouldn’t always be the answer. Instead, focus on creative ways to cut costs, add value, and build up some reserve to protect the association from the unexpected.
Speak to us today to learn more about how your HOA can reduce costs and add value for your residents without raising fees.