Ensuring it provides the best possible service to residents is the bottom line for the Homeowners’ Association of the Sardinia Bay Golf & Wildlife Estate in Port Elizabeth.
To achieve this the HOA, which comprises just three members, relies on sound financial principles, estate personnel and residents with expertise in certain areas.
Ian Hughes, who has been chairing the body for the past three years, says the trustees view their role as one of serving the residents.
“At the end of the day we work for the homeowners. In a sense they are my customers,” he says.
“We want them happy, within reason of course, and always while respecting the rules and guidelines of the estate.”
Hughes, who is supported by resident Ian Robertson and developer Pete Featonby-Smith, is convinced the body has strengthened its relationship with the residents thanks to its results-driven approach.
“We had to work to find common ground, but the relationship does work well. I believe if you produce results, you will earn respect.”
He is convinced that is why there is an acceptance by residents to stick to the rules and abide by architectural guidelines.
After changing its operational model, the HOA makes a point of involving residents with specific areas of expertise.
“Initially, the idea was to outsource everything,” says Hughes, “but we looked at the cost and decided it was an expensive method.
“For instance, if they (service providers) were mandated to cut the grass, they would only do certain areas.”
Once the HOA brought such services in-house, there is a sense of ownership and control and a lot more gets done. Hughes used the golf club as an example.
“Previously, there wasn’t much being ploughed back into the course, but now, under resident Stephen Daly, there’s a vested interest to get it into the best condition possible.
“I don’t believe the greens were ever hollow-tined before and that’s something that will now happen annually.”
When the residents take ownership of something, he says there is a definite sense of love and care.
“So, when we identify a project, we consider the expertise among the homeowners,” explains Hughes. “Although, it’s not only the knowledge, but the enthusiasm.
“For example, we have Nina and Jane Robertson (not related), who are very keen gardeners. If we want to redo or lay out a garden, they will jump in and get involved.”
He says the financial model adopted by the developer from the get-go laid the foundation for much of the HOA’s success.
“It is based on sound financial planning from the beginning. He insisted on setting aside funds from every sale towards the capital fund.”
It is also critical that the developer remained debt-free throughout the building phase and still contributes by ensuring that everything managed by the HOA is top-notch, says Hughes.
The way in which the estate is run by the HOA instils, according to him, a lot of confidence in people who are in the market for high-end lifestyle properties, which has greatly contributed to the success of the sales efforts.
All in all, Hughes is over the moon with what has been achieved in the last year.
“It’s nothing short of phenomenal.”