One of the biggest draws to living in a managed community might be the range of amenities available to residents. These features are designed to offer recreation, utility, or other benefits, but they can lose value if they’re considered outdated—not utilized, become neglected, or deteriorate with age. That’s when, as a leader of your community association, you might consider repurposing your community’s outdated amenities, restoring interest, engagement, and use by members. Read on to find out why these amenities may need repurposing, what changes can be made, and tips on how to do it.
Three Key Reasons to Repurpose Outdated Amenities
Amenities play a vital role in the homeowners’ association (HOA) lifestyle and, therefore, should be consistently monitored for use and wear-and-tear. Whether you receive homeowner feedback, witness residents using a facility for a different purpose, or notice an amenity is seldom used or occupied, there are various signs that a board of directors may need to rethink the benefits of these features to the community. As the demographics of residents, trends in the industry, and personal preferences change, your community’s amenities might need to be reevaluated to keep pace with these fluctuations. Here’s why:
- Residents pay to keep amenities functional. By paying their regular assessments, community members contribute to maintaining the amenities. In return, it’s a board’s job to consider the value of those amenities—how often they’re used, their purpose, and their longevity—when holding stakeholders accountable in their financial ownership duties.
- It allows you to stay competitive in the homebuying market. HOAs are growing in popularity— it’s estimated that 4,500 new associations were formed in 2021 alone and nearly 83% of new-home sales in that same year were part of HOA communities. These statistics show that homebuyers are attracted to all that HOAs have to offer—consistent property values, safety, and various extras. As an HOA ages, so do the amenities that come with it. By tailoring your community’s offerings, you sustain an advantage.
- It can open the door to additional revenue streams. By allowing non-community residents controlled access to pools, sporting facilities, club rooms, and other offerings, you may be able to generate additional funds. The board can then use that capital to manage the association’s budget, maintain regular assessments, build its reserve fund, or implement new projects.
What Amenities Should You Repurpose?
Think about how your current amenities could offer solutions to people inside and outside of the community. Notice the specific ways homeowners use the pool, clubhouse, tennis court, or other amenities to understand what enhancements could add value. Ask yourself:
- Do residents reserve the clubhouse for meetings or events? Add a projector, whiteboard, and extra seating to better accommodate important sessions.
- Do families host birthday parties at the pool? Consider creating an enclosed pool facility that can be used as a party space with outlets, tables, chairs, and a kitchen area.
- Does the community offer a beautiful backdrop—like a beach or waterfall—that’s frequently used for special occasions? Spruce up the surrounding area and add a pergola or shaded structure to promote photo-ops.
- Do homeowners use the tennis courts for pickleball? Modify your courts by changing the nets, swapping equipment, and adjusting the dimensions of the court to better fit the game.
Tips for Repurposing Outdated Amenities
A lengthy process, your board must collectively agree that an amenity’s facelift can be accomplished—you have the funds, interest, and motivation to move forward. Any big changes will impact the community long-term. Keep these tips in mind as you consider alterations to the community’s facilities and grounds.
Review your governing documents. This will allow you to better understand construction regulations, codes of compliance, added-revenue measures, and the homeowner approval process in your community. Seek legal counsel to ensure you’re working within the scope of your power.
Check your insurance policies. If your board is considering renting amenities to people outside the community as an added revenue stream, many policies don’t cover third parties. It’s always best practice to confirm outside vendors hold the proper insurance coverage before signing a contract, but the onus may be on your HOA if non-members host a wedding or special event on HOA property. Speak with your insurance representative or put a pause on outside revenue plans if changes to insurance do not fit in your budget.
Create a project plan. Proper planning is essential in any project. Enlist a committee to help create and manage a plan for your repurposing project. Make sure the plan includes construction timelines, budgets, approvals, road closure information, amenity closures, and temporary alternatives. Organized procedures allow you to avoid delays and work faster towards a finished product.
Communicate plans and ideas with residents. Explain how the repurposing of your pool area, hospitality suite, event space, sports facilities, or other amenities will benefit the community. Many HOAs just like yours require a homeowner vote before approving modifications, so identifying how these upgrades can add value is crucial. Double down on communication efforts and get homeowner input on changes, send a poll on design preferences, and send frequent progress reports. By being transparent with community members, you can form and maintain an aligned vision for community amenities now and in the future.
Fall Projects for Your HOA
Repurposing outdated amenities is just one of the many projects your community can start this fall. Check out our article, “8 Fall Projects for Your HOA,” for suggestions on what to put on your to-do list this season.