Even if you have previous experience serving on a corporate or non-profit board, or even the PTA at your kids’ school, serving on the board of your homeowners association can feel like a totally new and unique experience. A HOA community is a complex, multi-faceted entity, growing and changing all the time—and as a board volunteer, one of your jobs is to make sure you’re properly educated to address these changes.
That may sound like it’s easier said than done—but actually, HOA education can be surprisingly easy to come by. Certainly, there are innumerable HOA blogs and publications out there, including this one! Additionally, your senior board members and your HOA management company should be able to furnish you with some training and insights.
As new HOA board members work to educate themselves, there are several particular areas in which they might focus, working to develop their knowledge of the community particulars, as well as HOA generalities.
Five areas to focus on include:
– Finance. As a HOA board member, you are partly responsible for the proper administration of HOA funds, and for the association’s general financial well-being. Of course, this means understanding your HOA’s basic financial status. Make sure you spend some time reviewing the current budget, past budgets, and the most recent reserve study.
– The law. What does your state say about HOAs? What are the legal allowances and restrictions that your association faces? It changes from one state to the next, so learning about your state’s laws is crucial.
– Your community’s guidelines. In addition to state laws, your HOA will also be governed by its own unique governing documents. It goes without saying that board members should have copies of these, and spend some time studying and understanding them.
– Meetings. What procedures are used to facilitate your association’s meetings? What are the best strategies for ensuring that meetings are effective and not too time-consuming?
– The management team. Who is your property manager? What services does your association management team offer? Spending some time with your manager, simply getting to know one another, can be most helpful—and you can also pick your manager’s brain about the other topics listed here!
We recommend arranging this meeting with your community manager as soon as possible, to begin this all-important process of education!