Understanding how goodwill applies to homeowners associations.

What is Goodwill in an HOA Community?

Goodwill is defined as friendly, helpful, or cooperative feelings or attitudes. Regarding businesses, it can also be defined as the favor that a business has acquired through its good reputation. Having a good reputation means that people believe in you. You can be counted on to follow through and make good on your word. When things go wrong, you can be counted on to make it right. If you gain a reputation for treating people fairly, you will be afforded more goodwill when problems or disputes arise. However, the reverse is also true. If you have a bad reputation, it is much more difficult to improve it.

Goodwill is important in building both personal and business relationships. As HOAs have both personal and business aspects, goodwill becomes even more important. Having the goodwill of vendors and homeowners in your HOA will help you get things done. Since goodwill isn’t tangible, it can be easy to overlook in the pursuit of more concrete goals. However, goodwill is a truly vital consideration for all HOA board members. Don’t make the mistake of discounting it. Managing your community will be a much smoother process if you have the goodwill of vendors and community members.

Why is Goodwill Important in HOAs?

An HOA is a collection of neighbors working together for the common goal of maintaining property values. The HOA board is in charge of running the HOA, managing community amenities, and enforcing rules. The HOA also collects fees and assessments from homeowners. In some cases, the HOA can wield a lot of power over homeowners. However, the HOA board needs the cooperation of homeowners to truly get anything done. That is where goodwill comes in. If there are constant arguments between neighbors or between members and the HOA, it’s impossible to get anything done. A community where most people are working towards one goal is much more cohesive.

When an HOA cultivates goodwill within the community, it becomes much easier to get things done. If community members think rules are enforced fairly across the entire community, they are more likely to comply. Additional goodwill can be generated when homeowners feel the HOA is accomplishing its goals of maintaining and increasing property values. Having common area amenities that are clean and in good repair is also important to many community members. If members believe their fees are used wisely and can see the effects, it’s a powerful generator of goodwill.

How to Promote Goodwill in Your Community

In the current digital age, having face-to-face events is a great way to generate goodwill. Talking about the community in person creates many opportunities for goodwill. A gathering with good food and fun sets the stage for a pleasant conversation. Alternatively, email updates can feel like burdens and be another thing people have to check off their to-do lists. In-person meetings help people develop relationships and create a sense of community and a desire to help each other. Faceless digital communication with no human interaction doesn’t create the same bond. Simple events that bring neighbors together will create more goodwill in your community than anything else.

People are at their best when they feel that they’ve been given a fair deal. An important way to generate goodwill within an HOA community is to ensure that rules are enforced fairly. Enforcing only some of the rules some of the time can lead to anger and resentment. In addition, enforcing rules for some residents while letting others slide will also have negative effects. For the most part, people don’t mind following reasonable rules. However, no one wants to feel like they’re the only ones being forced to follow the rules. It’s also important that board members are seen following the same rules as other community members. A spirit of fairness in the community will create a lot of goodwill.

Vendors

In addition to homeowners, goodwill with vendors can be another important factor in your community. Having quality, reliable vendors who want to work in your community makes a huge difference when completing projects. Goodwill with vendors is generated when you are respectful of their time and treat their employees and contractors well. Having reasonable expectations of the work and paying promptly are other ways to create good business relationships. With a vendor’s goodwill, you’ll find your business at the top of their list when something needs doing.

Conclusion

Goodwill is one of those things that isn’t at the forefront of most people’s minds when they have it. It’s only when goodwill is lost that it becomes obvious how vital it is. It can feel overwhelming if you’re taking over an existing HOA or managing one with a lot of conflicts. If that’s the case, you should consider stepping back from the other problems initially. Focus solely on understanding the current issues and creating goodwill in the community. Host events with no motive other than to form relationships. Give people a chance to know you and be comfortable with you. Once you’ve proved you’re focused on the best interests of the community, people will be more likely to trust you. That will make solving the other problems in the community much easier. Trust is difficult to re-establish once it’s lost. But it’s not an impossible task. Show people the HOA can be trusted and the goodwill will serve you well for a long time to come.