Challenges of Self Managing a Condominium Association
Serving on the Board of Directors for a Condominium Association is not a job to be taken lightly. Overseeing the day-to-day operations of keeping the association running smoothly and making sure that the property is well maintained is a full-time job. Yes, property managers can help. But responsibility is placed squarely in the hands of the Board. When all is said and done it's the five people who serve on the Board who are accountable for managing what is essentially one of the biggest investments of the residents.
We're rapidly approaching the end of another year and most condominiums will be holding annual elections for their Boards. If you're like most you'll be choosing 2-3 new officers to serve as Board Members for the next two to three years. During that time they will be tasked with working with seasoned Board members. This process helps to maintain some consistency in the way the Association functions. If you have strong Board members with well defined operating procedures in place and the skills that are needed to keep the business viable, you're very lucky indeed. If not, your Association. and your investment, are on risky ground.
Who Will Serve?
It's a thankless job….but someone has to do it. Not everyone wants to serve on the Board. It takes time and dedication. It doesn't take a genius. Five people pool resources to do the job. No one person should be running the show. But, even so, it can be hard work. The task of choosing good people is up to the Unit Owners. The challenge is to find capable individuals able and willing to set aside their own personal agendas and assume responsibility for doing the work needed to keep your property maintained and financially healthy in these economically troubled times. Unfortunately, small associations don't always have a pool of strong individuals who feel able and willing to assume the responsibilities. And, usually the pool of individuals who understand what it means to set aside personal agendas to work for the betterment of an entire community.. .
Prepare Potential Board Members Now
This is the perfect time to start grooming people for the tasks ahead. Here's what we've found…
- A comprehensive Operating Manual that includes all the pertinent information a Board member needs to make wise decisions and carry forward the policies and procedures that have been put in place by previous , is a valuable resource. It provides firm grounding for new Board members, helping them understand their powers and limitations. It enables them to quickly and confidently make good decisions that will keep your Association financially and legally healthy.
- End of year tasks like Budget Planning, preparation for the big Annual Elections and end of year maintenance projects all afford lots of opportunity for Association members to learn what is involved in the tasks of running a successful Association. A little experience helping outgoing members with these tasks, can make all the difference when it comes to an individual being willing to accept a position on the Board.
- Strong communication throughout the year is critical to ensuring that everyone knows and appreciates the challenges of maintaining a condominium. Condominiums are communities made up of people who share common space. Building relationships and helping everyone feel like valued members of the community is essential to fostering commitment. It's more than just saying "Hi" when you pass each other in the halls. Good Boards look for ways to share information and get feedback. Meetings, newsletters, bulletin boards, email, knocking on doors…every tool put in place enhances the effort and helps draw interest and commitment.
At very minimum, now is the time to start putting a bug in the ear of people you want to represent your interests in maintaining the investment you've made in your condominium.
What do you do to ensure that your Board is the best it can be? Let's talk about your Operating Manual, your community newsletter and other tools you use.