If you made the move to get elected to your HOA board or are interested in getting involved, it could be the first step to you making a difference in your community. From specific improvements that affect the neighborhood looks to less obvious ones that could have a lasting impact on community relations, there are many things you can do once you’re involved. While becoming a new HOA board member is a good thing, it can come with lots of responsibilities and be overwhelming at first. That is why the best way to go into this new position is to be armed with knowledge. Here are five pitfalls that you should avoid before putting as a new HOA member.
Not Focusing on Learning Before Doing
You would never take your vehicle to someone who had no experience whatsoever, and it is the same with almost everything.
As a newcomer, you should review every document, procedural information, and detailed responsibilities to learn as much as possible to help you be prepared for the new position. Remember: educated board members make the most change!
While having a good level of enthusiasm is a great quality for any new position, including your newly elected office, being overzealous can have its downfall. Many new board members make the mistake of doing too much work too soon or overstepping their true responsibilities. If there are problems within the community that you’re extremely passionate about, first establish that you have the authority from the governing documents to actually enact change. If you see that you do not have the power, go through the proper channels with the help of the rest of the board.
In addition, an update to a policy might be good, but you can’t change a policy until you know it and understand it well.
Avoid “bulldoze” mode
As a new HOA board member, a soft opening is a good thing. Many new members will come in with a grocery list of things that can be updated; however, this can prove detrimental in relationship building and gaining influence to make the change that you deem important. Everything is fresh and new, and that means that you have to learn the ropes, how things are done within that HOA, and what needs to be improved based on priority. It’s also always important to understand the background of why a policy/rule is the way it is before you change it.
Making Rash Decisions about Vendors
Regardless of if you approve of how the last members ran the board, it is always best not to pass automatic judgment on their tactics. Consider the contractors and their qualifications before pulling the rug from under them just because the last person hired them. Meet with landscapers, CPAs, etc. (if that is within your purview), and explain to them the new direction. It is very likely that the vendors will go along with the modifications. If not, then you can make your move.
Not Learning from Their Predecessors
Once again, if you find that you disagree with the last leadership, think about why. Take the time to consider the things you did not like, why you did not like them, and what decisions could have been better. Look through meeting minutes and notes to get a picture idea.
Reach out today if you have any further questions about how to navigate your new HOA role.