“How can I have a successful HOA community?” As an HOA board member, you have most likely asked this question — regardless if you’re newly-elected or tenured. Admittedly, running a community is hard and very challenging. However, if you have a solid foundation, it’s possible to achieve great success. To guide you through this process, here’s what you need to know about how to run an HOA successfully.
How to Run an HOA Successfully
What makes a good community? There are so many possible answers to this question. So much will depend on the type of community association you have, your homeowners, your assets and facilities, and so on. However, at the very base, a successful community has several traits or characteristics.
Here are important things to consider if you want to run an HOA successfully.
1. Build a Competent HOA Board
How to start an HOA community, especially one that is successful? The answer is: You need to build a competent HOA board of directors.
As the governing body of your community, board members should have a working knowledge of community association management. They must be able to fully understand your governing documents in order to make informed decisions.
When looking for potential candidates for the HOA board, look for homeowners who have leadership qualities, communication skills, and management experience. You also want people who are strategic, reliable, proactive, and collaborative.
2. Always Remember Your Fiduciary Duty
In order to have a successful HOA community, board members must always put the community and its members first. As a board member, you should always remember your fiduciary duty to the association. This means you have a legal obligation to make reasonable decisions for the best interest of the entire community.
Fiduciary duty encompasses board member responsibilities such as creating the annual budget, preparing and participating in board meetings and other community events, enforcing HOA rules and regulations fairly and even-handedly, avoiding conflicts of interests when it comes to community matters, and fostering a sense of community among the homeowners.
3. Involve Community Members
The HOA board cannot run a successful community on its own. You will need the involvement and cooperation of homeowners. This not only makes community management easier and manageable but working with like-minded people also makes the experience more fun.
While it’s true that the HOA is the governing board and homeowners are required to follow HOA guidelines, it is possible for both parties to collaborate and work together. Your homeowners are valuable resources; their experience and expertise can help the community function optimally.
Apart from that, communication and transparency are also essential for a successful community. Without this level of involvement, homeowners may feel left in the dark — which can cause discord between the board and its members.
4. Have a Business Mindset
If you want to run an HOA successfully, you need to run it like a business. HOA board members should know their roles, duties, and responsibilities.
They should also be strategic and logical when making decisions on behalf of the community. Always think about the mission, vision, and values that your community upholds.
HOA board members also have to stay on top of community matters such as regularly preparing financial reports and statements, scheduling maintenance and repairs, collecting HOA dues, monitoring insurance deductibles, and so on.
When these things are properly taken care of, the association will be able to operate smoothly and efficiently. This, in turn, paves the way for the community’s success and growth.
5. Hold Productive and Concise Board Meetings
A successful community has productive and concise board meetings. HOA board members should keep in mind that these meetings are not discussion forums or planning sessions. It’s a place to conduct official association business.
Therefore, boards should always come prepared to board meetings. Study the board meeting agenda and relevant materials ahead of time. If you have questions, ask them before the day of the meeting.
Just because you have a short board meeting does not meet that you were not productive. An organized board meeting only means that every member came prepared and is ready to make decisions. To run an HOA successfully, encourage board members to stick to the agenda and express thoughts as concisely as possible.
6. Fair and Consistent Rule Enforcement
Enforcing HOA rules and regulations is one of the most difficult aspects of community management. Even though everyone knows the homeowner association guidelines and governing documents, you will still have homeowners who do not fully comply.
You can lessen this by having fair and consistent rule enforcement. If homeowners see that the board is playing favorites, the more they will refuse to comply. Selective enforcement can also lead to legal troubles if the board is not careful.
7. Collaborate with a Community Management Company
Even if you already have the most competent board of directors, the HOA can always benefit from the services of a community management company.
Board members are volunteers so they won’t always have the time or expertise to deal with community matters — especially time-consuming tasks like accounting, collections, and homeowner communications.
If you have an HOA manager, they will be able to take care of essential community tasks. Not only that, but an HOA management company also has access to resources and technologies that board members do not. They can provide software and programs that make community management more seamless, cost-effective, and effective.
How to Run an HOA: 7 Things That Can Lead to Great Success
It will take more than these 7 things to run an HOA with great success. However, as long as you keep all these considerations in mind, the HOA board will be able to create a solid foundation for successful community management.
Being an HOA board member is so much more than just enforcing rules. Sure, rule enforcement is important but you should also make it a point to get to know your community. Collaborating with homeowners can help board members make better, more informed decisions that benefit everyone.