How Often Should a Reserve Study Be Done

How Often Should a Reserve Study Be Done?

A reserve study is a crucial component of financial planning for community associations, especially those with shared amenities and common areas. It helps determine the long-term funding needs for future repairs, replacements, and maintenance of these assets. However, one common question that arises is how often a reserve study should be conducted. The frequency of performing a reserve study depends on various factors, including the size of the association, the age of its assets, and the level of funding available.

In general, it is recommended to conduct a reserve study every three to five years. This timeframe allows for an adequate assessment of the association’s assets and the potential need for funding adjustments. However, it is essential to note that this is not a fixed rule and may vary depending on the unique circumstances of each community association.

Factors to Consider:

1. Size of the Association: Larger associations with more extensive common areas and amenities may require more frequent reserve studies. This is because they have a higher number of assets that need to be evaluated regularly.

2. Age of Assets: Older assets tend to deteriorate faster and may require more frequent assessments to ensure adequate funding. Newer associations with recently constructed assets may be able to stretch the reserve study frequency to five years.

3. Funding Availability: If an association has limited financial resources or is struggling to meet its funding obligations, more frequent reserve studies may be necessary. This allows for a closer monitoring of the financial health of the association and the ability to adjust funding plans accordingly.

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4. Legal or Lending Requirements: Some states or lending institutions may have specific requirements regarding reserve studies. In such cases, the frequency of conducting reserve studies may be dictated by these legal or lending obligations.


Q: What is the purpose of a reserve study?
A: A reserve study helps community associations plan for the future by assessing the long-term funding needs for the repair, replacement, and maintenance of common assets.

Q: Who conducts a reserve study?
A: Reserve studies are typically conducted by professional reserve study providers who specialize in evaluating community association assets and financial planning.

Q: What does a reserve study include?
A: A reserve study includes a physical assessment of assets, an estimation of their remaining useful life, an analysis of repair and replacement costs, and a funding plan to ensure adequate reserves are available.

Q: Can an association skip a reserve study?
A: While it is not recommended, an association may choose to skip a reserve study. However, this may lead to inadequate funding for future repairs and replacements, resulting in financial strain and potential special assessments on homeowners.

Q: Can an association conduct reserve studies more frequently than recommended?
A: Yes, an association can choose to conduct reserve studies more frequently than the suggested timeframe, especially if there are concerns about the accuracy of previous studies or significant changes to the association’s assets.

In conclusion, conducting a reserve study every three to five years is generally recommended, but the specific frequency should be determined based on the size of the association, age of assets, funding availability, and any legal or lending requirements. By regularly assessing the financial needs of a community association, reserve studies help ensure its long-term sustainability and the preservation of its common assets.

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