The universe of homeowner associations seems to be a "thousand points of light" all separated by an impenetrable void. Each operates in its own little world inventing and reinventing solutions to problems as they come crashing in. The board members rarely see their job as a privilege but more of a curse, something they got stuck doing because no one else would do it.
Being an HOA director can be one of the most rewarding experiences there is if the board takes its role seriously. To work efficiently, systems need to be instituted that address repetitive tasks like financial reporting, meeting minutes, newsletters and maintenance checklists. Having established ways of doing things allows simplification and gradual improvement of each system and easier transition to the next generation of directors. The easier it is to grasp the tasks, the more willing volunteers are to step forward.
One invaluable planning tool is the Annual Planning Calendar which lists meetings, social, maintenance and repair events all on one page. It serves as a handy guide for the board and advises the members well in advance of events to plan for.
Having an accurate budget ensures that the board will have the money to pay the bills and to adequately maintain the common elements. Add at least five percent more to your budget, especially if you are having collection problems. This will provide a cash buffer.
If collections are a problem, and they always are, it's time to beef up your Collection Policy or enact one if you don't have one. Collecting money in a timely way is Job One for every board. Since there is no government bailout, every penny is needed when it's due. Fortunately, the governing documents grant HOAs significant collection powers if they are used. Collecting delinquencies is one of the key reasons an HOA needs professional management. No neighbor should have to collect money from another neighbor. Doing so invariably alienates one from another and leaves an uncomfortable tension.
Rules that work is a fundamental to organization and community harmony. All rules should be necessary, enforceable and appealable. Enact only those that have all three components. Get organized and burst the curse.
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