As an HOA board member, you want your HOA to function without a hitch. No one likes dealing with problems — though they are a natural part of the job — and there are some ways you can clear obstacles before they arise. After all, prevention is better than a cure. If you want to know how to run an HOA successfully, read on.
Learn How to Run an HOA with These Tips
Being a part of an HOA board means investing a lot of time and resources into the community. You are not just an observer, destined to pass judgment without ever taking any action. When you are in a position of power, you have certain responsibilities to fulfill. One of these duties is to make sure your association is managed fairly and properly.
While this may be easier said than done, just about anyone can run an HOA with enough time, the right attitude, and a good amount of effort. Here are some tips on how to run an HOA triumphantly:
1. Have Clear Objectives
When figuring out how to run an HOA, the first thing you must do is lay down your goals. The HOA board must establish clear objectives, defining where you want your association to be in the future.
Come up with a vision for your HOA and work towards that vision, using it as a guide of sorts in your decision-making process.
Once you have these goals in mind, you must draft a short-term and long-term strategic plan. Determine which projects you should take on to accomplish your objectives. While the board is mostly responsible for this aspect of running an HOA, it is a good idea to involve all community members when setting goals. After all, an association is not only made up of the board.
2. Keep Members Invested
One of the most important things that can make or break an HOA is the involvement of individual members of the community. If they are invested, the community can be a wonderful and fun place to live.
Among other things, this means high levels of participation in community meetings and events as well as taking a lively interest in any changes to the policy.
For members to be invested in the HOA, the association should have strong leaders that can keep the members united and increase their interest. In addition, members who feel valued and heard will be more likely to invest and participate in community events.
As a board member, you can accomplish this by fostering a sense of camaraderie among residents. Be friendly and approachable, keeping in mind that no one wants to talk to a hostile leader. Listening to complaints can be tiring, especially if you have to deal with them on a regular basis. But, as a person of influence, listening matters.
3. Hold Efficient Board Meetings
Board meetings that seem disorganized, too long, or just downright unpleasant may be a key indication that the HOA is not running as smoothly as it should. On the other hand, a concise and organized meeting that follows a strict agenda can be a sign of a healthy HOA.
A strong association should be sending out written meeting notices with HOA board meeting agendas to every member ahead of time. This way, homeowners will have plenty of time to get their schedules in order and plan out their activities.
4. Lead with Open Communication
Transparency in leadership is crucial to building a strong foundation for your community. Transparency means that there is open communication between the leadership and each person in the association.
In order for the HOA to function in a healthy way, each change to the policy, each due date, and any other important information should be readily available to everyone in the community. If residents are feeling uninformed, this could be a sign that the leadership is not organized enough.
With communication being such an important part of how to run an HOA smoothly, you may want to consider setting up a social media page. Social media makes it easier for the HOA board to disseminate information and post updates in an instant. Similarly, homeowners can keep up-to-date on the latest news in your HOA without having to call. You must note, though, that there are some best practices to adopt when it comes to using social media in your HOA.
5. Have a Transparent and Healthy Budget
The budget and any financial concerns should be something that is transparent for all members to see. More than that, the budget should always be balanced and fair. A good HOA board must know how to properly draft a budget. As one of the foundations of an HOA, if the budget is in shambles, the rest of the community will likely follow suit.
The budget is usually available upon request, but some state laws require the HOA board to present a summary of the budget to all community members. For instance, North Carolina’s NCGS § 47F-3-103(c) mandates that the budget must be provided to all lot owners within 30 days after a budget is proposed. If your state has no such law in place, as a board member, it is still in the community’s best interests to make a copy free available to all residents.
6. Enforce Policies Effectively
Rules do not seem like a lot of fun, but the policies of an HOA are the glue that holds the community together. A successful HOA is distinguished by its policies and how they are imposed.
Make sure the policies are widely known by everyone in the association, enforced uniformly by the board, and followed by individual members. In this area, the community is as strong as its board. If the board is willing to let things slide, then the whole association could be set up for failure.
This in no way means, though, that you should blindly follow a rule even if it is outdated. Some HOAs encounter rules that do not really work well when enforced, and you may find yourself in a similar situation. In this case, use common sense and see if there is anything the board can do to change the rule.
7. Know When to Call for Help
A wise HOA board member is not afraid to ask for help. Sometimes, with life and all that comes with it, you will find yourself too busy to focus solely on the HOA. If the board has too much on its plate, it must be humble enough to know when they need support. HOA management companies have extensive knowledge and experience in how to run a homeowners association. In times of trouble, consider picking up the phone and giving one a call.
An HOA’s Success Relies on You
The strength of an HOA largely depends on how an association performs in each of these areas. However, an HOA is only as good as the pilots who run it. It is impossible to reach a high level of success without board members like you. If you want to truly know how to run an HOA smoothly, accept your role in the equation and carry out your duties to the best of your abilities. By doing this, you can ensure your association is in good hands.
Running an HOA can be a challenge. If you ever choose to work with an HOA management company to fulfill this job, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
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