With the dust of the election campaigns starting to settle, how often did we ask ourselves why would anyone put themselves through all that? Why risk personal reputation and consumption of precious time for such unguaranteed rewards? Or to the point of this article, why should you join the condo board?
The answer(s) will be found in one or more of the following 10 reasons.
Protection of Net Worth
This is the answer driving most condo leaders to join the board. Your condo unit may be the biggest investment in your financial portfolio, and you need to safeguard it. Whether you live in a condominium or HOA there comes a time when the community faces hard choices regarding a major project or special assessment decision. You will sleep better at night knowing you have some control over the process.
The community needs your special skills or experience. Perhaps your accounting background can help develop an operations maintenance budget or assist in capital reserve planning, Maybe you know the construction trades and can guide the building committee or you have a good understanding of landscaping and help spruce up the grounds. Whatever your talent, it could be invaluable to your community.
Help Your Neighbors
Often a board member never sought to be on the board but neighbors brought attention to a serious problem and the only solution was taking a leadership position. It is often said some are born to lead while other have leadership thrust upon them. Whatever the case, you might be the right person for the job.
Make New Friends
Perhaps you are new to the community and want to meet your fellow unit owners. Whether you have just moved to Maine or have downsized from the big house, adjusting to a new lifestyle can be difficult. What better way to immerse yourself into your new community and get up to speed than being a member of the board?
These times have created many employment problems. A leadership position on a condo or HOA board may be just the experience highlight on a resume to standout in a competitive job market. A board position might just be the management experience your career histor has lacked. This benefit coupled with the networking potential of the other board members and committee chairs may provide opportunities not otherwise available.
There is a bewildering list of condominium regulations and documents. There is no better way to learn the relevance and meaning of such documents as the Bylaws; Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions (CC&Rs); Articles of Incorporation (Association); Operating Rules; Master Deed; HOA Declaration; etc. As well as financial documents; Minutes of Meeting; Maine Condo Act and all the protocols for voting and running a community. They do not teach this in school. Serving on the board could be like a mini-MBA.
We have learned perception is more powerful than truth. Condo communities having experienced serious problems such as fire; water damage; or mismanagement can quickly develop a bad reputation in both the local area but also the real estate community affecting sales appeal and subsequently market value. Often boards believe because they fixed the problems the rumors and reputation of the condo community has been cleansed. This is rarely the case. Perhaps you have the real estate marketing prospective needed on the board to make proactive actions to reverse the negative local perception.
Quality of Life
Many who buy a condo unit do so to avoid typical home ownership problems. When unexpected problems do arise such as excessive internal/ external noise or a board not responding to complaints; sometimes it takes a special person on the board to put issues into a human perspective to avoid hurt feelings and create a neighborly atmosphere.
Change the Rules
As condos get older, it is often realized the original rules do not work as well as they did. Unit owners often join the board to change those outdated rules. Many are resistant to change so it takes special skills to shape the issues of needed change into a reasonable and attractive solution for the many. Rule changing is one of the major benefits to being on the board.
Though being on the board can often feel frustrating and unappreciated, a well-run board will shake off these negative feelings and introduce measures to make their tenure on the board and their fellow unit owners’ community experiences a lively and rewarding time. This could include community social events, inclusive efficient meetings, timely communication media, and a willingness to encourage new ideas.
Good condo living does not start with the developer but with engaged people living in the community. Further, a community’s greatest asset is its volunteers, regardless of whether they’re serving on the board or a specialized committee. A community’s well-being is more than the sum of its parts; its spirit and fellowship are the synergy of its unit owners, property management, and affiliated service providers working toward common and well-understood goals. Good condo communities are not born, but made.