So, you’ve taken the step to become more involved in your community and become an HOA board member – that’s great! Your new role will be exciting and at times, nerve wrecking. It can be a rewarding experience so we have complied a short list of some tips to help you adjust in your new role.
1. Educate Yourself
In order to be effective in your new position on the HOA board, you will need to know how it operates and what the rules are. Study the by-laws provided to all home owners and any additional rules for board members. Learn everything you can about your position and what is required of you in your new role. Stay up to date with changes that are released and monitor newsletters, blogs, or other forms of communication that your HOA is a part of. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to clarify your part in the committee.
2. Learn From Your Predecessors
While educating yourself on the current rules and regulations, review old meeting notes and talk to your predecessors about issues they faced and changes they made. Understand why they made the decisions that they did, even if as a homeowner, outside of the HOA board, you disagreed with the outcome. Perhaps you can find insight in their reasoning and better understand the decision made. Some policies were created and put into place for a reason, learn what that reason is before attempting to make changes to it.
Taking on too much at once will burn you out before you even truly begin. You may have a lot of new ideas that you believe your community will benefit from but making too many changes at once can be difficult to implement and enforce. Decisions need to be thoroughly planned and investigated – you don’t want to make a change that everyone else disagrees with. Enforcing it will be nearly impossible and may lead to you losing your new position. Some things may even be out of the board’s jurisdiction so there is no need to get all worked up. Take on a single issue at a time and be sure you are not overstepping into another board member’s duties.
4. Get To Know The Vendors
Know which landscaping companies, road construction or repair companies, or other vendors the HOA relies on for community maintenance. Meet with them and introduce yourself as a new board member. Compare your ideas for the community with instructions provided by previous board members and ensure everyone is on the same page. If needed, get updated bids from your vendors to make sure your community is getting the most out of what they pay and adjust HOA fees as necessary.
5. Compare Short-Term & Long-Term Effects
Compare the short term and long term financial effects that the changes you wish to make will have on your community. You may think you are saving money and reducing HOA fees by going with a cheaper vendor bid but you could be getting less quality work. Making upgrades may improve the look of the community but do the changes justify the cost? These are things to think about before committing to major changes.
6. Transparency Is Key
You may feel like you have joined an exclusive club where major community decisions are left up to you to decide. But keep in mind that being open with your community and having their support with the decisions you make is key to a long-lasting position on the HOA board. Get to know what is most important to community members so that they know that their dues are going to important issues. You can do this by holding open meetings or taking door to door surveys.