Best practices are often touted in businesses, but can be learned and applied anywhere. As I have mentioned before, the internet is replete with information on homeowners associations. Blogs, forums, associations for associations, case studies, instruction, and advice all abound because of the thousands and thousands of HOAs and the fact that millions of us live in communities governed by such organizations.
Below are 5 best practices that I found on Neighborhood Link. Our board is working hard to live up to these standards.
- Know your governing documents. Make sure everyone on your HOA’s Board of Directors has read through your CC&R’s, bylaws, resolutions and rules—or at least knows where to find them for future reference. An educated board can better answer questions, resolve issues and enforce regulations.
- Be transparent. Promote and encourage homeowners to attend board meetings, post meeting agendas in advance and communicate current board projects and progress. Post meeting minutes and provide a way for homeowners to get in touch with either board members or the HOA’s management company.
- Communicate. Develop a plan that clearly states how, when and what information should be communicated to homeowners. Will you communicate via a printed newsletter, email, online community like a Facebook group, or website? What information do homeowners most want to know: project costs, decisions made, status updates? How often will you communicate?
- Create a strategy. Companies develop short- and long-term goals, and so should your HOA. What do you need to complete in the next year? What would your HOA like to achieve in the next five years? A strategy helps guide the direction of the current and future boards, and helps board members be more proactive.
- Be vigilant about finances. Question every expenditure, review monthly bank statements and perform annual audits. Keep a close eye on contracts and make it a policy to only hire licensed, insured contractors. Use finances appropriately to maintain your community and increase property values. Perform a reserve study to understand your HOA’s current financial position and potential future costs.