Amanda is an RN who served as the HOA president of her community.
Want to Become an HOA President?
In this article, I hope to share some tips and tricks with you related to becoming an HOA president, as well as some knowledge sharing if you are interested in running for a board position as a homeowner. No matter your background, I will share some tips and tricks to help you on your journey
Tips and Tricks for HOA Presidents
Here are a few tips that will help you be a successful HOA president.
1. Address Your Neighbors’ Concerns
My first tip as an HOA president is to make sure you post about what your neighbors are concerned about; this can be easily addressed by using a Google form or any kind of quiz to find out what concerns are in your neighborhood. Whether it be landscaping, communication, social events, etc., making sure your neighbors are heard is definitely something that was my first priority when I first became elected.
I’d also include in the survey ways in which your neighbors would like to be contacted. This can be done via Facebook, Nextdoor, email, or snail mail. I would only post a limited number of options and use no more than two communication routes. I’d also check with your management company to make sure that you don’t already have an app or existing communication being sent out.
2. Work With Your Board
In the next order of business, I would almost always make sure you work with your board to figure out what issues are their concern and what times of day and or preferred method of communication will be and when. You don’t want to bother them at 11 o’clock at night; however, you also need to be mindful that you need to get issues and items addressed in a timely manner.
3. Have a Solid Meeting Agenda
At your next scheduled meeting, make sure you have topics at hand to address; a good meeting agenda will help you throughout your meeting, and being prepared is almost always important especially when you are presenting in front of your neighbors and the board as a president. Make sure your management company doesn’t facilitate the meetings as well or that a clear line of communication is that forth prior to the meeting.
4. Use Trello to Keep Track of Agenda Items
When preparing an agenda, I would almost always use Trello to keep track of items as well as buckets of things to do; for example, on my Trello board, I have a to-do bucket, a management company bucket, a board member bucket, and a done bucket.
5. Have Several Committees
When it comes to committees, I would almost always recommend having a newsletter committee, landscape committee, safety committee or a neighborhood watch, and any other committee of concern in your neighborhood. That way, you don’t feel like you are doing everything on the board, and instead, you are getting your neighbors involved on issues that matter to them.
6. Know the Rules
Due to the open meeting law, board members cannot hold a meeting without notifying neighbors to have a meeting; however, a meeting can be called 48 hours in advance, and all you have to do is post a piece of paper with the meeting information on a bulletin board or conspicuous area. Please check with your management company prior to holding a meeting with your board outside of a regularly scheduled board meeting!
7. Involve Your Treasurer
Involve your treasurer from the beginning; make sure as a newly elected board you are getting your monthly financial statements as well as vendor contracts so you can make sure bullet by bullet, bit by bit, that your vendors are doing everything they are supposed to be doing and your neighbors are not asking for more than what is being paid for.
A good example of this is in your landscaping budget. If you hire a landscaper to only weed your front yards, however, your neighbor is asking for their drip to be fixed, it is almost always good to have this in writing so you know what you’re paying for with help from your board members.
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8. Set Clear Expectations With Board Members
Make sure you set clear expectations with your board members on what they are supposed to be doing; I would highly suggest having a job description for each board position. Mind you, it is a volunteer position, but having those clear expectations from the beginning will really help down the road.
9. Provide Your Contact Information
Have a way for your neighbors to contact you when they have concerns in the neighborhood; having a separate email labeled “board< your neighborhood>@gmail.com,” for example, is a great resource. Also, set those expectations of when you will be answering emails, such as within 24 to 48 hours.
10. Prioritize Important Issues That Arise at Meetings
The task may be daunting at first when you are on the board; however, I would highly encourage if there are more than five issues that come up during a meeting to prioritize them via a Trello board or some method on what is important in the neighborhood and setting those clear expectations with your neighbors is very wise.
11. Communicate the Dos and Don’ts With the Management Company
Make sure that you regularly communicate with your management company on the dos and don’ts of your neighborhood. This can be anything from looking at your report and seeing what you were paying for to sending out newsletters.
12. Have a Newsletter
Having a newsletter is also a great resource and tool for your neighbors; I’d highly encourage you to start sending out newsletters on a quarterly basis and then from there as you see fit.
13. Have Fun!
Last but not least, have fun at this position; it’s really nice to know the ins and outs of things, and using your resources is to your advantage. Maybe your county or neighborhood has some resources such as neighborhood watch, dispose of med program, pet-friendly walk neighborhood, and so much more.
I’d highly encourage renting a food truck at least once a year or having some kind of social event where your neighbors can get to know one another and exchange email addresses. Having a vendor list, for example, posted online via a Google form or some kind of method is highly encouraged and brings positivity to your neighborhood.
Why I Decided to Become HOA President
Let me tell you, I started to run as an HOA president because it was COVID, and my mailbox had gotten broken into; I was tired of the miscommunication and not being able to reach anybody to figure out the next step so I could get my mail.
This started a campaign in my neighborhood to figure out who the HOA president was. To my knowledge, nothing had been done to fix the mailboxes, so I contacted my management company and got the ball rolling—come to find out, you had to go to another mailbox post office to get a key, and there was no communication about how to do so. So I continued to get flustered as I didn’t have any time off throughout my busy nursing schedule and really just wanted to check my mail and get my makeup packages.
I ended up running for the board in January as the previous president was tired of the “unnecessary complaints,” as he calls it, and people bugging him at all hours of the day, even going to his personal property and knocking on the door to complain about issues they had throughout the neighborhood.
My thinking was if my neighbor could do it, why couldn’t I? Being a busy nurse with 10 years of experience, I had to juggle patient care all my life, and these were life or death moments that I’m talking about. So running for the board was a way for me to help my neighbors help themselves by going through the proper channels and facilitating the open communication they so desperately desired.
I put my name on the ballot with three simple sentences. “As your board president, I aim to make sure everybody is heard throughout the neighborhood. I also hope to bring neighborly togetherness similar to what Mr. Rogers had so nicely shown to us via the television. As board president, I will fix things that are broken.” My next step was the election, which was awesome and got me to where I am in my position as president today, albeit as a volunteer.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Amanda Paladini