Are you thinking about joining your homeowner association board of directors?
There are over 351,000 HOAs in the U.S. About 70% of these HOAs are volunteer run.
Volunteering on your HOA board can be time-consuming and draining. That’s if you join for the wrong reasons, or you don’t fully understand what the board requirements are before you join.
There are also many rewards. You are part of the team that protects the community and solves problems for community members.
It’s also a way to get involved and give back to your community.
There are several other pros and cons to joining your HOA board. Read on to learn what they are and steps you should take before joining the board.
What Does a Homeowners Association Board Do?
Many developments have a community or homeowners association, also called an HOA. The HOA is responsible for operating and maintaining the community’s common areas. These can be pools, parks, recreation centers, sidewalks, landscaping, building exteriors or clubhouses.
A homeowners association is also responsible for enforcing rules regarding these common areas. For example, if a homeowner wanted to paint their home, it has to be within the rules and regulations of the HOA.
As part of that responsibility, the HOA sets a budget, which is paid for through dues for the community’s homeowners.
The homeowners associated is governed by its bylaws, articles of incorporation, and CC&Rs (Conditions, Covenants & Restrictions).
There are also state laws that govern corporations, planned developments, and non-profit organizations.
Your HOA should have an attorney who specializes in working with community associations. Click here to learn more about that.
Pros of Joining an HOA Board
Joining a homeowners association board of directors does have several advantages to it. These are common reasons why people decide to volunteer.
Socializing & Networking Opportunities
The best thing about volunteering is that you get to know your neighbors. There are ample opportunities to meet and connect with others in your community.
Learn New Things
If you believe in continuing education, you will enjoy serving on your board. There is a lot to learn such as laws that oversee HOAs, financing large projects, budgeting, and diplomacy.
You’ll even learn things like which roofing contractor you should hire.
Guard Your Investment
You may not realize it, but the board of directors wields a certain amount of power in your community. They enforce the standards set in the bylaws that will protect your home’s value.
A board that neglects its duty to maintain the property could result in property values declining.
Be of Service
At the end of the day, volunteering on an HOA board is about service. It’s not about recognition or glory. You get to give back to your community and help other homeowners by solving problems.
Cons of Joining an HOA Board
Now that you know why you’d want to join an HOA board, let’s take a look at why you’d want to stay away from the position.
Serving on a homeowners association board is more than a monthly or quarterly meeting.
Terms of board members could last anywhere from two to six years. That’s a big commitment to take.
You Are Dealing with Other People
You’ll often find that boards run by the 80/20 rule. That is, 20% of the members do 80% of the work.
At the very least, you’ll know more about psychology and understand what other members strengths and weaknesses are.
You’ll Hear Criticism
Volunteering is often a thankless job. You’re more likely to hear complaints and criticism than thank you.
Before you Join the Homeowner Association Board of Directors
If you’re still considering joining the board of your homeowner’s association, you need to do your due diligence beforehand.
What can you do to make sure that the board is a great fit for you?
Understand why you want to volunteer. Everyone has a reason to volunteer. For some, they’re retired and want to contribute to the community. Others want to protect their investment. You need to be clear as to what you want to join your HOA board before you join.
Assess your skillset. You already have an impressive list of strengths and skills that you bring to the table as a member of the board. You have some weaknesses, too. When you assess your strengths and weaknesses, you’ll find if you’re a good fit for the board or not.
A person with an accounting background would be qualified to serve on the homeowner association board of directors since budgeting and bookkeeping are major responsibilities of the board.
However, if that person doesn’t like conflict, they’re not a good fit to work with other community members to enforce policies.
Volunteer first. You don’t have to dive in as a fully fledged board member to start. The smart move would be to volunteer in another capacity before joining the board. Consider joining a committee first to get a feel for how the board operates. You’ll see a lot that goes on behind the scenes that could give you a positive or negative impression of the board.
Attend HOA meetings. One easy way to understand what a homeowners association board does is to attend board meetings. You’ll see first hand how the meetings are structured and run and how tasks are divided among board members.
It’s also highly recommended to read through the meeting minutes from the last year. You’ll know what the major issues are like roof maintenance or one community member who isn’t pleased with the enforcement of the rules.
Talk to other board members. You should talk to other board members to ask them about their personal experience serving on the board of directors. They may gloss over the negatives to get you to join. You’ll need to be sure that you’re getting an honest assessment of what board membership is really like.
Be an Active Member of Your Community
Joining your homeowner association board of directors isn’t for everyone. There are a lot of things to consider, like how much time you have to commit and if the position of board member is a good fit with your skill set.
It can be a great opportunity to network and give back to the community that you call home.
Use caution and good judgment before joining your HOA board. It can be incredibly rewarding, or it could be a nightmare volunteer position.
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