The holidays are upon us! It's times like these when we begin to reflect back on the year and count the blessings we have received over the year. It's also a time to look within and begin to assess what we can do better in the coming year.
For community associations, the one question we might ask, is 'How can we make our community better?' I submit that the real question should be 'How can we make the board better?' CAI has done numerous surveys that show that homeowners are happier and communities are better when the board is healthy. Let's look at some ideas from the CAM industry this week on how we can make that happen (plus all the news and info you might have missed this week in Community Association Management with this week's CAM Mashup!)
Healthy Boards Make Happy Communities
The first step to a happier, healthier board of directors is to recognize and encourage the traits that make a board successful. The NJ Cooperator has some great advice on recognizing and drawing out the traits that make up a great board. Check that out here.
Of course, much of running the board is really about making decisions. Are your boards defaulting to the easy decisions that keep them from getting into trouble with residents, rather than actually doing what's best for the community? This is called defensive decision making and it's dangerous to any organization, Farnam Street tells us.
One of the hardest (and most important) decisions a board can make is in choosing a partner to help manage the community. You want your management company or accounting firm to be an asset that helps the board, not some fly-by night that is ineffective, or worse, fraudulent. The good news is that there are safeguards that a board can put in place to protect the community and insure your partner is above board, and Mulcahy Law Firm has prepared a free tip sheet on the topic.
Sadly, conflicts aren't limited to board meetings. Many times, the board has to be prepared to deal with outside conflicts too. That can put a lot of stress on the board if they are unsure what action to take or afraid to take sides. This article by the NY Cooperator breaks down the different kinds of conflict and includes advice from lawyers and other CAM professionals on what to expect, and when the board should take action.
The key to being effective in any situation is good communication - making sure that all parties involved have the information they need to make informed decisions is a sure-fire guarantee to a healthy board. And one step to making sure that happens is to give your boards access to your accounting and management software. Good news if you are a TOPS [ONE] user, and this webinar on how to give board members access to their community data is just the ticket!
All of the above is some great advice on making sure your board is healthy, happy and effective at their jobs. But none of it makes a difference if you are losing board members! So last, let's take some helpful advice from Associa on how to prevent board resignations.
Because Time Equals Money
Community association management can be a thankless job - for every one thing you finish, 10 more things have piled up that need your attention! If you look at the needs of the typical community association manager, one thing stands out. CAM Managers need more time.
We always talk about the many hats a manager wears. The sheer volume of things you need to remember and deal with on a daily basis can quickly become overwhelming. You may find yourself asking, "How do other managers handle all this and still get a little sleep every night?" The answer is both simple and complicated. Sadly there is no magic portal that gives you extra time every day. (Unless you know of a magic time portal, in which case, please share with the rest of us!) What we do have is a series of time saving tips and efficiency tricks that add up to real time you can use every day.
Can a court set aside an HOA Lien foreclosure sale because the sale price was too low? That's a doozy of a question, since we've seen a lot of animosity from primary mortgagors due to low sale amounts (and a lot of exploitation by real estate investors for the very same reason!) Leave it to a court in Nevada to provide the answer.
When is the last time you updated your community's reserve study? If it's been a while (or you had to ask what that is) now is the perfect time to get going. Your reserve study dictates your community's budget and guarantees that your community is prepared when wear and tear in your amenities becomes something more dangerous. (Remember that community that got slapped with a mega settlement due to a faulty swingset? Nobody can afford to be in that situation!) Not convinced? Here are some of the reasons why you should update your reserve study every year.
After the reserve study, the next most important thing your community can do with your amenities is to implement a proper preventive maintenance program. Not only are well-cared for amenities more attractive to current and prospective community members, a good preventive maintenance program can help extend the life of those amenities, saving you on replacement costs down the road. Check out these tips on how to care for your community's top amenities from IKO Community Management.
Has your community implemented the latest in modern amenities? With the number of electric vehicles on the road swelling to ever greater numbers, electric charging stations are moving from a nicety to a necessity for homeowners. For Florida community associations, new laws have gone into effect that you really should know about if a homeowner requests a charging station be added.
Working Parents Unite!
Community Associations have so many different kinds of clubs and activity groups that some of us (yep, working parents, I'm talking to you!) simply cannot take advantage of. If your community has a lot of families, perhaps it's time to consider forming a new kind of group - a working parents support group! I love this idea so much, and only wish it had been available in my community when my son was younger.
Do You Have Big News This Week?
If you've got big news that would be relevant to other CAM professionals, please share it with us in the comments, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and share a link to your news with us for inclusion in the next mash-up!
About the CAM Mash-up: As an educated member of the Community Association Management industry, you already know how crucial it is to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest news, trends and happenings within the industry. Each week, we bring together our favorite reads of the week and share them with you! Enjoy the CAM Mash Up and please share it too!