With a new calendar year upon us, it is fair to assume that a few community associations have seen some turnover in board members, with long-serving members rotating out and new volunteers rotating in. For these new HOA board members, this season can be daunting and exciting all at once. Certainly, there is a lot to love about serving on the HOA board, but there are also many responsibilities to keep in mind. We offer the following five tips to new board members, with the hopes of making this season of transition as seamless as possible!

1. Know what the by-laws and governing documents of your community association say. This means reading and studying them, but also committing them to memory as best you can; many mistakes are made by board members mistaking what their governing documents actually say. Spend some time with these documents, and, if you are unsure as to what any particular policy means, ask for clarification!

2. Seek out as many board member education opportunities as you can. If your community works with a professional management company, there will likely be plenty of chances for you to learn more about association management. These opportunities can prove tremendously helpful and illuminating.

3. Spend some time getting to know your Property Manager. See if you can schedule a time to meet together—perhaps for lunch some day—and simply introduce yourself. Ask about what kinds of ongoing projects the board has been focusing on, to make sure you are up-to-date.

4. Make sure to learn from board members past and present. Talk with them, and ask for their wisdom. Try to learn from their triumphs and their shortcomings alike!

5. Finally: Do not make the mistake of trying to remake the association to fit your personal preferences. Remember that you are working with a group of volunteers, all seeking to do what is best for the community. That should be the one and only priority, always!

By following these guidelines, new HOA board members can ensure the smoothest transition possible, and really enjoy their time of service on the HOA board.

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