How to Renovate Your HOA, A Case Study

by | Case Studies, Condominium Financing, HOA Financing, HOA Loan, Loans

Depressed values for this HOA, despite repairs

Realtors in the area knew that units in the California condominium complex were undervalued. There was a general reluctance to steer potential buyers to the building because of the ominous repairs and renovations that were needed. Both realtors and buyers were afraid of the “unknown”. They could see that much work was going to be required but they were not able to project the costs of the renovations.

Renovations were needed and this HOA knew they needed to tackle them

The community pool was dated and looked to be unsafe. Both the clubhouse and fitness center were in desperate need of massive renovations and the parking lot was peppered with potholes and broken asphalt. Potential buyers feared that they would be tagged with a large assessment or multiple large assessments in the future to fund the much-needed repairs.

The board knew the problems and needed to renovate the HOA

Various boards had been fielding complaints from residents for years. They were all aware that something needed to be done. But it had been easy to finish a term and kick the can down the road to the next board. There was a lot of interest and sympathy but not much energy to actually face these problems head-on.

New leadership

All that changed when Marge took over as President. Having been a long-time resident, Marge was very familiar with the situation. Rather than being part of the ongoing complaining faction, she wanted to be part of the solution. She understood that a repaired and renovated condo complex was in all of the unit owners’ best interest.

Teambuilding to assess of the Costs of the HOA renovations

Marge’s first order of business was to assemble a team of volunteers to identify and assess the overall costs of the hoa renovations. Once the primary cost estimates were collected, her committee ranked the projects in order of importance. Armed with a ranking system and rough cost estimate, she began exploring a preliminary budget and financing alternatives.

Cost Estimates for renovating your HOA

Clubhouse $1,100,000
Fitness Center $ 750,000
Pool $1,500,000
Parking Lot $ 750,000
Preliminary Budget $4,100,000

The renovation committee turned to Arch Capital Solutions to help them build a priority matrix for various scenarios along with projected costs and preliminary budgets. Arch Capital helped them pare down their analysis to 4 scenarios ranging from a “Bare-Boned” HOA renovations and an upfront assessment to a “Cadillac Rehab”.

HOA Renovations Project Prioritization


Priority 1
Highest Priority
Very Important
Nice to Have
Cadillac Rehab
Clubhouse $1,100,000 $1,100,000 $1,100,000 $1,100,000
Fitness Center   $ 750,000 $ 750,000 $ 750,00
Pool     $1,500,000 $1,500,000
Parking Lot       $ 750,000
Preliminary Budget $1,100,000 $1,850,000 $3,350,000 $4,100,000

They examined financing alternatives ranging from large upfront cash assessments to combinations of a lower upfront assessments and a long-term loan to fund the balance of the work. They overlayed their scenarios with several funding alternatives.

Budgeting for the HOA Remodel

Preliminary Budget

# of Units: 450
Average Monthly Dues $ 350
Average Annual Dues $4,200

  Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4
Budget $1,1,00,000 $1,850,000 $3,350,000 $4,100,000
Monthly Loan Payment
(Per Unit)
$ 18 $ 30 $ 55 $ 67

Finally, they enlisted a realtor in an attempt to project “post-renovation” condo values so they could construct a cost-benefit analysis. Before the work, units were selling for an average of $450,000.

HOA Renovation Return on investment (ROI)

Post Renovation Market Analysis / Return on Investment (ROI)

  Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4
Value of Renovation 5% 10% 15% 20%
Post Renovation Market Prices $472,500 $495,000 $517,500 $540,000
Projected Increase in Market Values $ 22,500 $ 45,000 $ 67,500 $ 90,000
Total Dues Increase (over life of loan) $ 3,225 $ 5,475 $ 9,912 $ 12,131
Return on Investment 691% 822% 681% 742%

The unit owners overwhelmingly voted in favor of the “Cadillac Rehab”. They understood that their dues were going to be increased in order to repay the HOA loan. More importantly, they also understood that their association would become much more livable and desirable once the work was completed.