Nine Guidelines for a Successful HOA Community
If you volunteer on your homeowner’s association board, you know that there are many rewards and a few challenges, too. Some residents may have individual demands and concerns, and some of your board members may have difficulty agreeing. There is also the critical need to develop and adhere to a strict budget carefully. And that’s just the beginning. With all of the community's demands, being a board member can seem a little daunting. But the following nine HOA guidelines can help you steer your community to success.
Consider your own HOA, and remember that the most successful ones follow these HOA guidelines.
1. Put the community first.
Rising above personal interests and putting the needs of others first is at the core of volunteerism. It’s no different for HOAs. Those who tirelessly work towards achieving the greater good tend to be the most successful, no matter what challenges they face.
2. Get homeowners involved.
You can engage homeowners and residents through the power of committees. The more committees you create, the more opportunities for residents to pitch in. Set them up if you don’t already have committees that focus on architecture, security, social events, and landscape.
3. Respect final decisions.
Resentment breeds discontent. It’s critical that your committee and board members get behind final decisions – even if they cast a dissenting vote. A unified committee or board is a healthy one.
4. Have a vision and mission.
Vision and mission statements aren’t just for Fortune 500 companies. They can help your HOA maintain clear principles in the face of any challenge. Often, these documents serve as a guiding light when storm clouds gather.
5. Have Board and Committee members who work together as teams.
Differing opinions are what make organizations powerful. But even when board or committee members disagree, they should remember they’re all on the same team, working together to do what’s best for the community. When everyone focuses on achieving the community’s shared goal, disagreements can usually be resolved.
6. Run it like a business.
Your association is a corporation, and it should be treated as one. If you’re on the board or a committee, prepare for a meeting like you would for a business engagement. A good property manager will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision on a topic, so make sure you review it before decision time.
7. Collaborate with a property manager.
One of the most critical HOA guidelines is that your property manager is your partner in good community management, including planning for the future and addressing today’s challenges and concerns. From goal setting to reserve projections to choosing the new landscaping vendor for the upcoming year, treat your property manager like the partner they are.
8. Communicate well.
Transparency is the best tool in any board or committee’s toolbox. Don’t leave your homeowners guessing; you’ll find that the more they know, the more they’ll want to be involved – and that’s good for everybody. Keep the lines of communication open for upcoming projects, scheduled events, board or committee meetings and annual meetings. Of course, you’ll need to keep them apprised of important happenings like water shut-offs, bulk trash days and street cleaning and repair. But you can do more – look to the more significant aspects of community life (like the beginning of the school year) and remind them how these seasonal changes can and will affect life in your community. Knowing you care enough to communicate will go a long way toward encouraging greater resident engagement and goodwill.
9. Say thanks.
Showing gratitude works wonders – even in a community. Thank your residents for following guidelines and trying to keep your neighborhood a great place to live. Show your appreciation often, and you’ll be repaid in the form of a friendly, healthy community.
Does your board follow these HOA guidelines? If not, download them and use them toward making your community the best it can be.