Being part of the HOA board can be an exciting and rewarding experience. You’re ready to serve your community and help it to become the best it can be. You’ve come armed with lots of ideas and ambition. While those things are wonderful, it’s important not to get ahead of yourself and to ensure that you’re following the right policies, processes, and procedures. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when committing yourself to serving on the HOA board:
- Joining for the wrong reasons. Running an effective HOA means doing what is in the best interest of all members, so avoid joining the board simply for personal gains and to make changes that mainly benefit yourself. If you’re seeking praise and recognition, that’s probably not a good reason for joining either, as being part of the board means doing a lot of work that may go unnoticed by others.
- Not understanding existing governing documents. While you don’t have to have every HOA document memorized, you do want to go into board service with a solid understanding of how the association operates, what issues are and are not within the board’s authority, and the basic guidelines and expectations that govern the community. It is possible to change rules and regulations, but it takes time and there are certain steps to go through.
- Taking on too much, too soon. Being excited about your new position is wonderful but don’t be overzealous. Volunteering to lead multiple projects and initiatives and trying to create drastic changes immediately can become overwhelming. Give yourself a chance to get familiar with board service before taking on additional tasks. Also, you don’t want to step on the toes of the property manager and interfere with their responsibilities.
- Underestimating the scope of responsibility. Serving on the HOA board is a big commitment. Make sure you understand the time commitment and responsibilities of the position you’re assuming, especially if you’re in a leadership role such as President, Vice President, Secretary, or Treasurer. It requires more than just showing up at meetings, so talk to current and former board members to get a better feel for what’s involved before you jump in.
You have the ability to do a lot of good for your community by being a board member, just make sure you do your research and ask questions before throwing your hat in the ring. You’ll want to have realistic expectations about what is involved and how you can make a smooth transition to board service. Make the most of the opportunity by talking to the board and property manager so you can be a positive asset to the association and its members. Have questions about HOA operations or need additional support? Contact a reputable property management company like Kuester.