Living in an HOA community isn’t just about neatly manicured lawns and guidelines on what mailbox you can pick out for your home. People move into planned communities because they seek the security that living among others offers them (without being forced to live in the rabbit cage apartments that most cities have to offer). How do you, as a member of an HOA Community, go about building community in your HOA Community?
IKO Community Management wants to help you to nurture a true sense of community within your HOA community. Here are some tips to get started:
Be nice. Give your neighbors a nod in the morning as you’re both leaving for work. Invite them to your summer picnic. Encourage your kids to invite kids to play with them from your neighborhood. Share babysitting duties or carpooling to soccer practice. There are many simple ways to be friendly with your neighbors. You don’t have to go over the top! Don’t bridge the line between being the good neighbor and the nosey, overbearing neighbor.
Plan/Attend Events. If your HOA offers events or activities throughout the year, make sure that your family attends a few of them. Even if the events are marketed towards attracting new potential homeowners, it’s a great way to meet new people and tell others about how much you love living in your community. HOA Board Members – a great guideline for activities (if you’re just rolling them out) is to aim for at least one large-scale event per season (fall, winter, spring, and summer). If you haven’t already formed an activity committee we would highly recommend it. You’re sure to have some wonderful event planners in your community! Try to balance these events between attracting current members of your community to nurture a good relationship with bringing in new potential homebuyers. Not only are you allowing your community to come together to get to know each other better, but there’s no better marketing for your community than good word of mouth. If you need some ideas for events that can bring everyone together, here are a few examples:
- Summer – Summers are easy when it comes to planning events to bring your community together! If you have a pool, open it up to your entire community for a day. Other ideas include a free hotdog and hamburger open house, a block party and/or a Fourth of July parade.
- Fall – Fall brings harvest festivals, hayrides, cider and pumpkin pies! Events during fall should encourage homeowners to strut their stuff. Have a pie-baking contest! Partner with a local farmer to bring hayrides and other farm activities to your community. These will be a big hit with the kids. Pumpkin carving or painting parties are also popular.
- Winter – Depending on where you live, winter might be a more difficult time to organize multiple activities due to bad weather. Keep it simple with a coat drive, open to the whole community and housed in your sales or community center. Other popular drives are nonperishable food item collections and toy drives. Winter is a good time of the year to focus on giving back. Plan a community volunteer day and bring your community together to help the larger community.
- Spring – Everyone has been cooped up all winter, and the cabin fever is starting to take its toll. Spring is perfect for egg hunts, planning plots in your community’s garden, or organizing walking groups within your community. Like winter, plan for bad weather and hope for the best! It’s a good idea to have multiple rain dates marked on the calendar.
Keep the Peace – We all know that living in an HOA community has its benefits, but we are also aware that these benefits come with certain expectations. If you’re afraid that you might be crossing the line when it comes to community bylaws and expectations, do your research before you act. There’s no need to become the problem resident! There’s no quicker way to ostracize yourself from the community than to break the rules. If you’re a member of the HOA board, take a deep breath and try to work with your community members. While it is their responsibility to know the rules, we’re all only human.
IKO Community Management hopes that your HOA community will start (or continue) to nurture a true sense of community. There are many ways to bring your community together, and these are just a few.