Living in a homeowners association is more than just residing in a structure of wood and nails. It’s about building relationships and being part of a community. There are key relationships that HOA board members can nurture and encourage residents in the Association to develop as well.
Relationship with Neighbors
Neighbors are like your family members – you don’t get to choose them, but you have to live with them. Developing positive relationships with the people who live near you provides an open door if there is an issue or concern, promotes safety as you look out for one another’s well-being, and protection for your home and family when you’re away.
Getting to know your neighbors in the Association is as easy as knocking on their door and introducing yourself. If that feels too intrusive, simply wave at them when you’re getting into your car, or strike up a conversation when you meet each other at the mailbox.
If you find yourself together in the common areas, such as at the swimming pool, strike up a conversation and ask them how they like living in the homeowners association. You just might need to be the one to break the ice. A friendly gesture can go a long way and you may learn things you didn’t know about the community that you can share with other HOA board members.
Relationships within the Association Community
Getting to know your neighbors is easier than getting to know the community as a whole. While it’s probably not realistic to think you’ll develop a relationship with every member in your homeowners association, there are ways to get a sense of the community as a whole.
Plan a social gathering – Something special happens when people dine together. One way to foster relationship and hear input from people living in the Association you may not normally be able to interact with is to have an informal lunch or dinner. It offers up interaction with no action – just a time to enjoy being together.
Make people feel heard – Consider inviting individual committee members to breakfast. Just listen to them and offer thanks. For example, in light of the California drought, now would be an ideal time to meet with the head of the landscape committee and ask, “How are we doing responding to water restrictions and the drought? Is this the time to change our landscape in response to the drought?” Again, no action will take place. Instead, it’s a casual opportunity to really hear what they have to say.
Simply being attune to the heartbeat of the community will help you gauge where there is tension and where there is contentment so you can respond to the negative and foster the positive.
Relationship with the Manager
If your HOA board has hired a manager for the Association, there are simple things board members can do to strengthen the relationship:
Listen – If you’ve just recently hired a manager, it can feel like they are suggesting a lot of changes, but be open-minded and hear what they have to say. If you shut your mind to any new ideas and the manager isn’t feeling heard or respected, you’ll get nowhere. It goes both ways – the manager should also listen to board members’ cares and concerns.
Ask – This is as simple as doing your homework before attending HOA board meetings so the HOA manager can answer any questions you may have prior to the meeting. It’s the difference between just showing up and being an informed, active participant in the discussions about what’s happening in the homeowners association.
Interact – Schedule informal one-on-one time for board members and the manager so you can get to know each other as actual people. It’s amazing what you can learn about a person and the perspective you can get over a simple cup of coffee.
If you’d like to learn more about hiring a manager to help your homeowners association, contact us at The Hignell Companies for a free evaluation below. For more ideas on how to build relationships in your Association, or information on other HOA topics, subscribe to our blog.