Often, the best, most successful boards and communities share the same combination of habits and traits; all the while, the worst, least successful boards and communities share the same habits and traits, as well. Case in point: there isn’t tremendous mystery in what actions make certain communities successful…and others complete failures.
“Whether you live in a small, close-knit neighborhood, a luxury gated community, a high-rise in the city, or a beach-front condo, your HOA board will need to stick to some fundamental principles in order to be successful,” says Billy Rudolph, the director of corporate communications for Associa, the nation’s largest association management company, with two offices in New York.
1. DO organize. “The most basic tool that a board should have and the easiest for any board to achieve—is organization,” said Enid Hamelin, the director of marketing with Lawrence Properties, a full-service building management company based in New York City. Hamelin was a board member in her building for 16 years, five of which she didn’t live in the building (but still owned a unit in it), and claims the more organized the board was, the smoother it ran. Prior to each meeting, her board always sent out an agenda. That small action saved time during the meeting, and was super helpful for everyone. “It’s all about getting the board to run properly,” Hamelin says.
Sticking with that agenda is crucial. Rudolph says that board members and residents often have individual and personal agendas to present at meetings, making it difficult to remain on topic, causing them to run for hours upon hours. If there’s an agenda and a time limit for other business, then it becomes easier to keep the meetings timely.
Although easier said than done, creating a diverse group of board members is imperative, also. “They may be florists or interior decorators; they may be in retail or one may be an artist, and it’s really helpful for the managing agent to remind them that there are opportunities where they can learn,” Hamelin says.