To ensure a successful experience as a Community Association Board member, it’s important to understand your role and responsibilities. We’re sharing seven tips today that can help you become comfortable with your new position on the Board and set you up for success as you serve your community.
Tip 1: Educate Yourself on the Governing Documents
The first thing you’ll want to do is to familiarize yourself with the management of your association, including the governing documents and the rules and regulations that impact the daily business of the Association. It is important that you understand the authority of the Board and its processes. It is also helpful to read the minutes of the last few Board meetings.
Tip 2: Review the Financials
Once you’re familiar with your governing documents and Board meeting minutes, take a look at the financials of the association. You’ll want to review income and expense statements, budgets, and reserve funds. Take a look at whether there are a large number of homeowners that are delinquent or prepaid so you know where the Homeowners Association (HOA) stands financially.
Tip 3: Learn about Maintenance and Vendors
Before you joined the Board, you probably took for granted that things happened when they were supposed to. Common areas were kept clean, landscaping was maintained, and security was in force. Now that you’re on the Board, you’ll need to know who is providing these services and how the contracts work.
Tip 4: Communicate Openly and Ask Questions
Hopefully, your Board has some kind of structured on Boarding or orientation process. If not, you’ll have to learn how things work and train yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s better to acknowledge what you don’t know than fake that you do know. If there’s something that seems confusing or counter-productive – ask for an explanation.
Tip 5: Go Slow and Be Patient
You might have some great ideas about how to make your community better, and now that you’re part of the HOA leadership, you can’t wait to get started. That’s fantastic, and the entire Board will benefit from your enthusiasm and energy. Before you dive right in and change everything, make sure you understand what’s required to get anything done. No single Board member has a lot of power on their own, and you’ll need to build a consensus before you can put your ideas into place. So, focus on relationships before you steamroll ahead with your own plans.
Tip 6: Balance Long Term and Short Term Goals
The Board needs to consider immediate needs and plan for the future. This can be a challenge, so be prepared to think about investments that will reward the community over time as well as meeting the most urgent and critical needs. If you’re in a condo building, working elevators are probably far more important than new paint. A hot tub next to the pool would be nice, but if the roof is crumbling, you’ll want to address that first. Think in terms of communal priorities.
Review the Associations Reserve Study or Long-Range Budget to see how they compare to the current budget and future needs for funding. You may find that the community is not saving enough annually to meet future repair needs or that the Association is right on track.
Tip 7: Embrace High Ethical Standards
Being a Board member comes with a lot of responsibility. You’ll have access to private information about your neighbors, so be sure you respect that privacy and act with diplomacy. Remember that you have fiduciary duties and follow the highest possible code of ethics.
There are plenty of materials and resources that can help you feel more comfortable as a new Board member with your HOA. We can help, too. Contact us at Community Property Management.