Moving into a new neighborhood can be stressful enough without having to also worry about community rules and logistics, like parking and trash schedules. As an HOA manager, you can alleviate a little of this chaos by providing new residents with a comprehensive welcome packet that they can review once they’ve settled in. This can help you set expectations early and create a positive experience right from the start. What should this packet include? Here’s what we recommend.
First and foremost, you want each packet to include a personalized letter welcoming the new resident to the neighborhood. This doesn’t have to be long-winded. Just a short note to introduce yourself and the board, congratulate them on their new home and provide a brief synopsis of what makes the community special. You may also want to include a summary of what’s included in the packet and highlight anything of particular importance, such as forms that need to be signed and returned.
A list of contacts can be especially beneficial to new residents, as it provides them with easy access to the names and phone numbers/email addresses of the people they can reach out to if and when they have questions. For instance, someone who just moved in might wonder how and where they can dispose of their moving boxes once they’ve been unpacked. In addition to board members, you might include contact details for security, maintenance, city or town departments, and anyone else relevant.
Rules and Regulations
Now, to get to the nitty gritty, you’ll want to provide a detailed guide for residents to reference that will clearly state what’s expected of them, what they can and cannot do, and other important information. Most HOAs have specific rules and regulations surrounding the following:
- Property Guidelines
You should also include info on things like fees/dues, disputes and what the specific consequences are if a resident is found to be in violation of any governing rule.
Along with your HOA’s rules and guidelines, there are also likely certain policies in place for how residents must go about doing various activities. For instance, how should residents submit a maintenance request? Where, when and how should amenities be reserved? Where should trash bins be left and what day is pickup? How should monthly dues be paid? It can be helpful to make a list of FAQs and then use that to develop a how-go guide that will be included in your welcome packet.
Another helpful tidbit of information, particularly for residents who are entirely new to the geographical area, is a list of local services. For example, where the nearest grocery store is located, which nearby restaurants delivery, where to find medical providers and vet clinics, etc. The more information you provide here, the more helpful it will be for new residents to become acclimated to their new home.
And, last but not least, include any and all necessary forms. Ideally, this packet should be sent electronically. That way it doesn’t accidently get misplaced in the chaos of the move and new owners can easily access and reference it whenever they need to. All required forms and documents can then be signed, submitted and stored electronically as well for quick, easy access.
What did we miss? Are there must-have items in your HOA welcome packet that you would recommend? Please share in the comments section below.