Serving on an HOA board is an eye-opening experience.

Whether you’ve never been a member of an HOA board or previously served on one for a few years, you will gain a new perspective when joining an HOA board. You may be surprised at the work it takes to maintain an association. Previously, you may have been content to pay your dues and let others take care of everything else, or may have had a negative view of board decisions and HOAs in general.

However, living in an association and becoming involved on the board or a sub-committee is a revealing behind the scenes learning experience, kind of like how working in a restaurant might make you a better customer.

You are sure to learn a few lessons while serving on the board, a lot of them good!

Serving can be fun

You are sure to make friendships within your association because you might not have otherwise interacted with this group of people. Our lifestyles today often involve running here and there, pulling into your driveway one minute and leaving the next to meet family or friends. It seems there isn’t time to stop and chat anymore. It’s difficult to know your neighbors let alone build a friendship with them. Serving on an HOA board is one way to meet your neighbors and build relationships while working to improve your community. Board members often experience a sense of community missing in our day-to-day schedules.

Snacks can make everything better – even a board meeting

Nothing says relationship building like sharing food. Simple refreshments can help lighten the mood and tone of board meetings while making it easier to work through budgets or the details of an upcoming project. Seated around a table just makes it easier to talk to others and if you are breaking bread at the same time, it is more of a bonding experience.

Engaged, active members

You shouldn’t want to be on a board in name only. Every group needs engaged and active members to ensure that procedures are followed, and projects get appropriate follow-through. An effective board is comprised of active members that do their best to attend all meetings. Also, don’t join your HOA board to further a personal agenda item or one of a small group of owners. When you sign on, it is to represent all owners, meaning weighing all sides of an issue, reading up on background material and creating policy with sound reasoning.

Decision-making with real impact

The decisions made by the board have significant impact on the quality of life in an HOA. They may include determining how money is collected from homeowners and how it is spent, policy decisions, how to handle late collections, and scheduling maintenance. Some of the decisions made by the board may have legal repercussions, so it’s important to weigh them carefully. Board members shouldn’t shy away from consulting legal counsel for tough decisions, especially as it relates to collections.

It’s a community service

Serving on the board, you are volunteering your talents and time to benefit your community. You generally won’t be compensated. In fact, you may bear the brunt of the homeowners’ ingratitude and impatience. Good communication will help them remember that you are their neighbors trying to make the community a better place for everyone. Other homeowners will appreciate that the community runs efficiently and effectively without any effort on their part.

In your community service on the board, remember no news is often good news and enjoy your experience for all the positives.