If you are an HOA Board Member, you have a tough job. Your responsibility is to manage the community while also watching out for the bottom line. It can be challenging to balance these two goals, so having a reserve study will help.

The reserve study is critical for HOAs because it protects against unknown risks and gives owners peace of mind knowing that enough money is put away for emergencies. This article will define reserve studies, benefits, and costs of an HOA reserve study.

What Is An HOA Reserve Study?

An HOA reserve study analyzes a homeowners’ association (HOA). Its purpose is to ensure adequate funds to pay for major repairs and replacements. These studies take into consideration the expected increases for inflation, utility costs, replacement costs, loss of income due to vacancies or delinquencies, and any other factors that may affect the HOA’s income.

A reserve study should have all the components for which the association is responsible under its governing documents. This typically includes roofs, driveways/parking areas/roadways, siding, exterior painting surfaces (walls), decks & porches, heating & air-conditioning systems (HVAC), water heaters, and swimming pools/spas.

The study is also used to develop a funding plan for the board’s financial assets. This plan will identify how much money needs to be set aside monthly or annually to cover the association’s future repair and replacement costs.

How Often Should An HOA Conduct A Reserve Study?

An HOA reserve study should be updated at least every 3 to 5 years, or more often if there are significant changes in the community (e.g., new construction, renovations, etc.). The board of directors will typically review and approve the study and then work with the property management company to implement the funding plan.

If you’re an HOA member, you must be aware of your community’s reserve study and funding strategy. This will give you an idea of how much money is allocated each year to cover potential repairs and replacements. If you have questions or concerns about the study, reach out to your board of directors.

How To Perform A Reserve Study

There are several steps involved in performing a reserve study, and each one is important to produce an accurate report.

The first step is to examine the association’s governing documents. This includes reviewing the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions), bylaws, and operating agreements. It’s essential to understand the rules that govern the HOA so that the reserve study can be performed correctly.

Next, the association must collect data about its physical assets. The association should also track any recent expenditures to update the estimated costs for future work.

With the data in hand, the reserve study can be conducted accordingly. This process typically involves creating a few different reports, including a cash flow analysis, an asset inventory, and a deferred maintenance report.  

By understanding the condition of the community’s physical assets and estimating the costs, HOAs can create a budget for their reserves and ensure that their community remains in good condition.

HOA Reserve Study Costs

The cost of a reserve study can vary depending on the size and complexity of the association. However, a reserve study can cost anywhere between $500 and $10,000, depending on the size of the community. It is an important investment that can help associations avoid costly renovations or replacements in the future.

If your HOA is considering performing a reserve study, be sure to shop around for a qualified professional who can provide you with an accurate estimate. And remember, the sooner you perform a reserve study, the more time you’ll have to save up for any necessary repairs and replacements.

The Benefits Of HOA Reserve Study

A reserve study is an important planning tool for homeowners associations (HOAs). With it, the association can better understand the long-term financial health of their community and make informed decisions about how to allocate resources.

There are many benefits of having a reserve study conducted for an HOA. Some of the key advantages include:

Improved Communication And Transparency Among Board Members And Residents

A reserve study provides a forum for open discussion about the community’s future needs and how best to fund them. This can help reduce misunderstandings and conflict among members.

In addition, a study ensures that everyone is on the same page when it comes to managing the association. Members are less likely to argue about expenditures by having a clear plan in place. 

Everyone will understand that the money is being put towards necessary repairs and improvements, which will benefit all residents in the long run.

More Accurate Budgeting And Forecasting

A reserve study helps board members plan for future needs by estimating the necessary costs and then spreading those costs out over time.

This allows the HOA to budget for these expenses responsibly, rather than waiting until an emergency arises and then scrambling to come up with the money.

Identifying Potential Issues Before They Become Major Problems

HOAs with reserve studies can monitor their HOA funds better than those without them because they visualize the projected income and expenses. This lets HOAs know when they will need more money before it’s too late and the issue becomes a safety hazard.

By identifying and monitoring these needs early on, HOAs can ensure safety and keep track of necessary maintenance, which is beneficial for residents and tenants who call the community home. 

Reserve studies are an important tool to help homeowners’ associations stay financially healthy. Depending on the size of your community, you may need to conduct more than one reserve study throughout the years. 

Smaller communities may be able to get away with just one reserve study conducted every few years or so, while larger communities should perform multiple studies annually to keep up with changing needs and costs.

Bottom Line

Conducting a reserve study can save HOAs thousands of dollars in the long run by identifying significant costs beforehand and including them in their yearly planning and budget. It also allows communities to estimate upcoming expenses years in advance without huge assessments. Contact us today for more information on reserve studies.