Homeowner’s association management can make or break a community. There’s a reason why some HOAs are known as strict, rule-driven Nazis while others are loved by the entire neighborhood!
When you’re in charge of an HOA, or at least a member of the board, here are a few things to keep in mind to succeed:
1) Stay Balanced
Homeowner associations fail when they tend to lean too much towards one direction or the other. If every single proposed rule/bylaw change is put into place, the community will get frustrated with the constant change. Likewise, if your entire board is too conservative, you’re going to have problems as well.
The best way to do this is to have a board with a good mix- seniors and young adults, businessmen and homemakers, etc.
2) Clear, Constant Communication
Your homeowner’s association board needs to ensure the community knows what is expected, upcoming events, when fees are due, etc. And while email is a great way to do that, it’s more effective to combine email with other things.
- Fliers at the front of the neighborhood/complex will be seen daily, and people will look at them just because they stand out.
- Phone calls work great, although this can be very time-intensive if there are hundreds (or thousands) of members.
- Newsletters work well, as long as they aren’t done too often
3) Keep the Big Picture in Mind
Sometimes it can be tempting for a board member to push something just because it benefits themselves. While that’s certainly understandable, it may not benefit the community as a whole. In fact, the majority of cases will not help everyone. You may really like that lime-green color for your house, but your neighbors (and home appraisers!) will probably disagree.
That’s a (somewhat) obvious example, but think of others:
- Pet policies (exotic/dangerous pets, dogs barking, etc.)
- Vehicle policies (cars in the grass, on the street, on blocks, etc.)
- Standardization (mailboxes, weeds, grids in the house windows, etc.)
The ultimate goal of an HOA is for the entire community to be better off because the organization exists. That may, at times, conflict with your personal tastes.
4) Take Action
It’s easy for homeowner’s association to become too “lax.” They may reach a comfortable zone where the bylaws/rules seem to work for everyone, there’s enough events to keep people from fussing about the HOA fees, the pool is clean, etc.
But strive for a little more. Things can almost always be improved.
Maybe it’s getting a new slide for the playground. Perhaps you could add something to the pool area or club house. If you have a lot of extra space but lack the funds for a major project, maybe it can be a neighborhood garden.
Some members of the community will protest, but the majority of them will appreciate the constant move towards progress. And even those who disagree with the homeowner association management’s moves initially, they will come around when they realize the benefit they received.