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A Community Association handbook is one of the best resources you can have in a community.  You should consider carefully its content and it’s layout.  It’s best to form a committee to do this. It will speak volumes about what kind of community you are. It should contain all of the mandatory facts, especially those found in your official community’s governing documents. But it should also contain day to day living information of how your community thrives.

A community handbook is useful as much for existing residents, as it is for potential buyers. It will be important for what it says about you and your neighbors, but also as important for what it doesn’t say. Studies show that the majority of buyers in a community association are coming from another community association, such as a condominium association, homeowner’s association, or cooperative. So most people know what questions to ask to know whether or not your community will be suited for them. For example, some people like communities that have lots of rules and lots of enforcement, and some like communities that don’t. Perhaps one of the first sections a buyer will look at in your book will be the rules and regulations, and they will take notice of the flavor or attitude the handbook is written in.

It is also a fact that owner residents take better care of the property and obey the rules and regulations better than renters or investors.  If a community has to have rules that say and cover every little thing, that implies that there is less common sense and common courtesy.  When I first drive through a community I look for signs.  I mean it, literally, I look for how many, what they say, how they say it, and where they are located.  The more signs, the more it indicates to me that that community needs extra management and extra security.  It is a negative, and implies residents and guests have to be told the obvious things, and may not listen to or do what they are told.  Signs or for people that are willing to read them and obey them. If someone is going to drive 30 miles an hour in a 15 mph zone no sign will help, and they will either read it and do it anyway or just ignore it, and perhaps also your rules and regulations.

So consider carefully the content or your community handbook.  Don’t politicize, add things you wish you had but don’t, add rules you wish you had but couldn’t get voted in, expand the existing rules by words you prefer versus what is written, or leave out things you wish weren’t there.  Make sure your board of directors approves the final draft, so that your association is covered for errors and omissions in publishing.  Use common sense and common courtesy, keep it positive with the assumption that anyone willing to take the time to read it is going to be a lawful person, abide by your laws, and someone who will improve your community by living there.

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