Last modified on January 17th, 2020
By Megan Eales Monroe
We surveyed 715 homeowners living in community associations across the U.S. to find out why they value living in an association, how engaged they are, and their perceptions of their board and management company.
What we discovered was largely positive. Overall, most of our survey participants reported that they are happy to live in community associations, engaged with their community, and satisfied with the work their boards and managers are doing. Our research also points to some interesting generational differences, specifically, how reasons for living in associations vary for different age groups. We also identified a few areas of improvement for community managers to keep in mind going forward.
Homeowners Value Living in Community Associations
The majority of homeowners in our research agreed that living in an association has many benefits — 72% said they agree or strongly agree with the statement, “I see value in living in an association.”
In fact, 44% said they were specifically looking to live in an association-based community when selecting their home.
The reasons for why they prefer community associations vary, but there are some interesting trends. Overall, the most common reasons respondents gave for living in an association were to “protect the value of my property and neighborhood” (22%), as well as “access to shared amenities” (19%).
Interestingly, homeowners within different age groups each valued different aspects of association life. For those between the ages of 45 and 64, the most common reason was to “protect the value of my property and neighborhood,” while younger homeowners within the 18-24, 25-34, and 35-44 age groups all agreed that “access to shared amenities” was a top priority.
For homeowners between the ages of 55 and 84, “shared responsibility of maintenance and upkeep” also rose to the top, while those above the age of 85 valued “social interactions with people like me.”
Most Homeowners are at Least Somewhat Engaged with their Associations
All-in-all, most homeowners appear to be engaged with their association. 73% of homeowners said they were either “somewhat engaged” (40%) or “very engaged” (33%), with only 27% reporting that they are “not at all engaged.”
Given the fact that so many homeowners value living in associations, this is not surprising. However, despite being engaged, most of the homeowners we surveyed (60%) have never served on the board. It’s also interesting to note that 26% of those surveyed were currently board members, while 13% were past members.
Homeowners Have (Mostly) Positive Perceptions of their Association’s Board & Management
For the most part, homeowners reported a mostly positive perception of their association’s board and management companies.
Homeowners largely find their boards to be trustworthy (68%), reliable (69%), and fair (64%). However, homeowners are split when it comes to their board’s responsiveness — only 50% said their board is responsive. This is an area where association boards should continue to implement technology to streamline their communication with homeowners so they can receive timely and appropriate follow up for any issues or concerns.
Likewise, homeowners have mostly positive perceptions of their association’s management company. Our survey reported that 67% of homeowners say that their management company is trustworthy, 64% say it is reliable, 60% say it is fair, and 60% say it is responsive.
Overall, 57% of homeowners agree that their management company adds value to the association. While many are already doing an excellent job in this regard, there may be room for others to improve.
Takeaways for Community Association Boards & Managers
Since homeowners find so much value living in community associations, both board members and community managers have an important role to play. Homeowner leaders who step up as board members can help shape the fabric of the community, and make a big difference for their neighbors.
The board can make or break the experience of community association life — and while boards are doing a great job according to the majority of homeowners we surveyed, responsiveness remains a concern for many. By using modern community management software, boards of directors can improve their responsiveness to homeowner needs and streamline communications.
Likewise, while community managers are also highly esteemed by the homeowners we surveyed, there is an opportunity for many to improve homeowners’ perception of the value they deliver to their communities. By leveraging modern, mobile tools to communicate with homeowners and offer on-demand resources and information, community managers can display the full value of the service they provide to their associations.