You may serve as a volunteer board member on your HOA, but that’s not your only role within the association. Even more basically, you are a community member—a neighbor. In many ways, then, the best way to serve your community has nothing to do with what you do in board meetings, and everything to do with the daily interactions you have with those who live near you.
Being a good HOA neighbor is not something that happens by accident. It happens only when you make an effort to be kind and considerate. How can you be a good neighbor within your HOA community? Here are some tips:
- First, make sure you read and follow the HOA covenants. If you’re a board volunteer, you should be familiar with these documents anyway; if you’re not, now is a great time to review them. Everybody is going to get along better when they’re playing by the same set of rules, simple as that.
- Should a problem, grievance, or disagreement emerge, try to settle it with your neighbor face-to-face. E-mail, texting, and Facebook messages may seem more convenient, but they can also lead to miscommunications. It’s far better to sort things out face-to-face, which can often lead to an agreeable and even amiable solution.
- Spend time reaching out to your neighbors. Invite them over for a meal or a cup of coffee; if you bake a batch of cookies, take them a couple. Cultivate goodwill, and it will help avoid any problems down the road.
- Try to head off problems in advance. If you’re having a big party, let your neighbors know that the music will be turned off at a certain hour. If your child is having a slumber party, agree on a lights-out time in advance.
- Last but not least, you can be a good neighbor by getting involved with the community—and one way to do that, of course, is to serve on the HOA board!