Establishing a welcoming committee to contact new residents will enhance the board’s service to the HOA, as well as to the whole community! A welcome package (or packet, basket, etc.) is a good way to ensure that the first contact new residents have with the association is positive.
First Impressions Go a Long Way
Active and involved residents are essential to the success of the community and the HOA board. Getting (and keeping!) everyone involved takes continual effort. You will find that many new residents are eager to meet their neighbors and become involved with the neighborhood. A welcome package is a great way to start that process!
A Welcoming Committee can help start the relationship with new residents off on a friendly note by extending a nice gesture of friendship. It can also ensure that you, as members of the board, have done your part to ensure that the rules and regulations of the community are available to new residents; this way, if the time ever comes when a resident is in violation, they can’t say that they didn’t know about a particular rule. A welcome package is a subtle, friendly way to alleviate any confusion about who is responsible for what. (See below for suggested items to include in any welcome package.)
A Joint Effort
Your HOA management company can play a huge part in your welcoming efforts. Since the board functions on volunteer time and doesn’t always know each time someone moves in to the community, it is very beneficial to work with your management company to create the HOA’s welcoming package. Management companies often have the time and resources to create, prepare, and distribute the package.
Your welcoming efforts can be big or small depending on your time, budget, and desires. You may choose to send a package via mail, provide documents at closing, or have an actual welcoming committee of residents who visit new homeowners.
If your HOA has a clubhouse or a pool, the board may even want to consider hosting a brunch or social gathering, just to help people get to know each other! Informal social gatherings put everyone at ease and encourage people to show up because there is little effort involved on their parts. There is no way that is better than any other – find what works best for your community!
Here are some items that you may want to consider including in your HOA’s welcome package:
- Handbook with a copy of all rules and regulations
- Information about community amenities, including and key fobs or amenity passes
- Special committee information
- Assessment payment information (for example coupon books or information about electronic transfers)
- Community map
- List of names and contact information for members of the board
- Calendar of upcoming community events, including board meetings and elections
- List of important phone numbers, including emergency contact information, utility companies, trash and recycling company, and management company contact information
- Any forms that need to be completed (e.g., forms asking for owners’ contact information, pet and vehicle registrations, license information, etc.
- Coupons or gift cards to local businesses (local small shops will likely be more than willing to partner with you to create these special offers, as they will benefit as well)
If the association budget allows, the board may even want to consider an inexpensive but useful product such as a chip clip, reusable bag, drink cozy, or a pen with the management company contact information on it. People love free gifts!
A welcome packet – whether mailed or hand-delivered – starts an open line of communication between the HOA board and new residents. It helps creates a certain level of comfort and results in relationships that will create confidence and camaraderie between everyone in the community. What will your HOA welcome packet include?