HOA Budgets

The HOA budget serves as the financial blueprint of a homeowner’s association (HOA). The budget gives a detailed estimation of the association’s revenues, expenditures, and allocations toward reserve funds over a set time frame, typically a year.

Generally, the association's Community Manager collaborates with the HOA Board Treasurer to formulate a preliminary budget. Alternatively, some associations opt to form a Budgetary Committee involving community member volunteers. This approach not only divides the responsibility but also boosts understanding and approval of the budget, enabling residents to have a say in allocating their contributions.



Why Do HOAs Need a Budget?

An HOA budget is a pivotal tool, assisting the board in informed financial decision-making. It aids in anticipating the forthcoming year’s costs, ensuring prudent management of the association's funds. These funds cover expenses like maintenance, utilities, insurance, and administrative fees. Furthermore, the budget provides a steady reserve fund earmarked for significant repairs and replacements.

The budget is essential as it dictates the homeowner dues, which are the primary revenue source for the association. Having a detailed budget allows the board to be well-informed about the necessary expenses, potentially leading to more accurate assessments.



Breaking Down an HOA Budget:

An HOA budget can be segmented into three primary divisions: estimated income, anticipated expenses, and contributions to the reserve fund. Each of these divisions can then be broken down further into distinct sub-divisions.


Income Streams:

An HOA's primary income sources are member assessments and membership dues.


Expenditure Categories:

General & Administrative:

These may encompass charges for accounting, legal services, banking, community management, office-related expenditures, and maintaining the organization's website.


Contracted Services:

This involves the upkeep of community common areas and provisions such as HVAC, plumbing, greenery, sanitation, and utility bills like electricity, gas, water, wastewater services, and waste management.


Repairs & Maintenance:

These consist of federal income tax, property tax, official filings with the state's secretary, and insurance premiums.



Electricity, gas, water, wastewater services, waste management, etc.

Reserve Contributions


Reserve Fund Contributions:

This allocation is meant for long-term projects, major repairs, and replacements that the HOA anticipates in the future. By setting aside money in the reserve fund, the association ensures it has enough financial resources to handle significant expenditures without placing a sudden financial burden on the members. The amount set aside can vary based on upcoming projects, the condition of existing amenities, and recommendations from reserve studies.


When the HOA Board partners with a professional HOA management team, like AAM, an experienced accounting team guides the process or prepares a proper budget while offering invaluable insights for your annual budget planning.


Effective HOA Budget Planning Steps:

  1. Draft a Strategic Plan:
    Begin by outlining your association’s financial goals. What milestones do the association aim to achieve over the next year? Monthly goal segregation can help simplify this process.


  1. Examine Previous Budgets:
    A retrospective analysis of past budgets can be very insightful and helpful in creating the new one. Comparing projected versus actual expenditures can also highlight patterns.


  1. Solicit Vendor Proposals:
    Providing accurate financial forecasting, including contracts for association vendors, is crucial. It is a best practice to review vendor contracts nearing expiration and send out proposal requests to gauge future costs.


  1. Assess Maintenance and Utility Costs:
    Budgets should encompass projected utility and maintenance costs. Factor in potential inflation and wage increments, which can also indirectly influence these expenses.


  1. Review Insurance Policies:
    Ensure your association's insurance coverage is both comprehensive and current. Regular discussions with your insurance provider can inform you about any necessary coverage modifications.


  1. Ensure Adequate Reserves:
    A well-maintained reserve fund is crucial for unforeseen expenses and preventative maintenance. Periodically review your reserve fund to guarantee it remains sufficiently funded, aiming for a minimum of 70% funding.


  1. Examine Financial Reports:
    Thoroughly explore your financial statements to help discern any required budgetary adjustments.


    1. Consolidate and Calculate:
      Utilize budgeting software or spreadsheets to consolidate your data, subsequently determining the required homeowner dues.


    2. Acquire Approval:
      Ensure that the specifications of your governing documents or local regulations ratify the finalized budget.


    3. Engage the Homeowners:
      Prioritize transparency by sharing the approved budget with community members. This not only informs but also fosters trust.


Tips For Creation

Tips for HOA Budget Creation:

  • Contemplate any potential projects discussed throughout the year for possible inclusion in the subsequent year's budget.

  • Use year-end projections to detect trends and anomalies.

  • Consult vendors for potential cost increases in contracts.

  • Familiarize yourself with legal stipulations surrounding dues incrementation and budgetary adjustments.

  • Adhere to recommended budget categories, like association websites, board education, and long-term planning tools.

  • Consider utilizing online templates for a streamlined budgeting experience.

  • Fundamental Principles for HOA Budgeting

The goal is to always strive for equilibrium in your budget. Should expenditures exceed revenues, strategize to reduce costs without compromising service quality. If balancing remains challenging, consider elevating dues or exploring a special assessment. The key is to break even by the year's end, as associations function on a not-for-profit basis.

Additionally, adhering to due dates and stipulated deadlines for budgetary approval, as mentioned in the association’s legal documents, is paramount. Any delay or oversight could spark owner disputes or dues non-payment.


Example of an HOA Budget Template

Typical HOA budgets detail projected revenues, expenditures, and allocations to reserve funds. For those unfamiliar with the process, readily available online templates can guide you through the budgetary journey.


The Importance of Meticulous Budget Planning

The HOA budget is an integral component of successful community management. It relies on rigorous data collection and computation and the importance of early planning. The budget also indicates the dues amount for residents while serving as a fiscal roadmap of the association’s finances.

Partnering with an expert HOA management company like AAM can be invaluable for associations seeking professional budget formulation and approval guidance. Let our experienced team guide you and offer instrumental insights for your community’s future budgeting needs. Take the step for better financial planning today!