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HOA Homefront: The board balancing act

The ancient Chinese concept of yin and yang deals with opposite and inseparable forces. Common interest developments, or homeowner associations, have their own “yin and yang” issues, in which four basic and inseparable priorities must be balanced to produce a

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Essential Board Member Skills: Objectivity is Key

I believe the most important skill for a board member to possess is objectivity. You need to look at all positions and possibilities and then select the path that provides the greatest good for all members of the association. This

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E-mail Intelligence – Does Your Board Possess it?

Today, I am discussing the pros and cons of homeowners’ association (HOA) board members and managers using email for community correspondence, and how to craft a sound email policy for your association.  Board members, managers and association residents are no

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Clarifying Board Roles: Who’s On Board?

Chances are if you’re a resident in a co-op, condo, or HOA community, you’re familiar with your property’s board of directors (or trustees, or managers, depending on what part of the country you live in). Boards are usually made up

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Essential Board Member Skills: Listen More, Talk Less

When I was asked which skill was most essential for board members, I had an immediate consideration for one I thought they should definitely master: listening. However, as a matter of routine, I did a straw poll of some of

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Are your Resolutions Sticking?

Many people have resolutions on the brain during this time of year. But it’s one thing to set goals — network more, learn to meditate, or get better at writing — and quite another to actually accomplish them. What are

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Being a Condo Director Could Enhance Your Career!

How did Kellyanne Conway, President Trump’s former campaign manager and current Counsellor to the President (and proponent of “alternative facts”) make it to the White House? It was recently reported that Ms. Conway met President Trump a number of years

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6 Essential Skills Board Members Should Master

If you’ve chosen to dedicate valuable time to serving as a board member, giving the job your best effort may require you to refine certain skills or learn new ones. But between your limited time, big buzzwords and best practices,

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Clarifying Board Roles: Who’s On Board?

Chances are if you’re a resident in a co-op, condo, or HOA community, you’re familiar with your property’s board of directors (or trustees, or managers, depending on what part of the country you live in). Boards are usually made up

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Duties of Homeowner Association Board of Directors (MN)

Ok, you have volunteered to serve on the board of your non-profit association. You attend your first board meeting. You start to vote on various issues. What guides you in making your decisions? Under the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act

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May an HOA Board Waive HOA Assessments?

Is it legal for our HOA to waive assessments for board members?  Most Bylaws and/or CC&Rs in California provide that board members serve as volunteers. That is the California HOA model. Waiving assessments is no different than accepting compensation except

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Help Your Board Stay Proactive in the Winter Months

Oftentimes Boards of Directors believe that after the holidays, they can catch a break for a couple of months prior to meeting and discussing Spring projects. They use Winter months as a ‘rest period’ from Board activities. Yet, the beginning

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New Board Member? Here’s What to Expect in Your Orientation Training

he beginning of a year signals many things but in many community associations, it signifies the start of a new relationship with recently elected board members. Volunteering to serve your community in the capacity of an elected board member is

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What Roles Do Owners, Boards And Committees Play Within Community Associations?

There are various opinions on the role of community and condominium associations. But, generally speaking, the main purpose and authority of the association are to maintain common elements and ensure compliance with the association’s governing documents.   Property owner associations

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Could Your Personal Emails Be Exposed?

Imagine the worst case scenario: you are on the board, the board is embroiled in litigation, and the opposing side wants to know what was said in an email. Suddenly you may find yourself facing the possibility of a third

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7 ways condo boards can increase property values

The decisions and priorities of community association boards govern the daily lives of their residents. But those actions also have a huge impact on selling prices.  We asked several city and suburban real estate agents who work in the community

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How to be a successful condo board director

In a previous post, I provided a checklist of best practices that successful boards use. Successful boards are made up of successful directors. What makes a successful condo board director? Here are five characteristics I’ve noticed that are common to

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So You’re on the Board….Now What?

You took the plunge! You volunteered, put your name on the ballot, and were elected. After the anticipation, the vote, and the satisfaction of being elected subside, you may realize that you are not exactly sure what to do as

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Does a condo board have to enforce every single rule and regulation?

Q: I live in a condominium complex where there is no enforcement of the house rules. I have noisy neighbors, neighbors with three cars (for their two-person, one-bedroom condo), neighbors who erect anything and everything on the common elements. The

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Wearing the right hat: Managing condo owners’ expectations

Picture this: It’s a sunny Saturday morning, and a condo board director has just stepped out to grab the morning paper before settling in for a relaxing breakfast. As she turns to go back inside, a neighbor starts a long-winded

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Can I serve on the board if my name is not on the deed?

Q: My wife and I took title to our condominium unit in my wife’s name for estate planning purposes based on our estate planning attorney’s advice. Now the board is telling me that I am not eligible to serve on

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New Year – New Board

Welcome to 2017! Do you have new board members at your association? According to ECHO, this is a great time to stress the importance of a Board’s duties, responsibilities and ethics. Ethics are the moral compass that guides the performance

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Six Ways Board Member Training Creates Successful Communities

When board members volunteer, they’re driven by the desire to enhance their communities. But what happens when good intentions don’t pair up with a board members’ level of expertise or education?  “Board members volunteer their time because they want to

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5 Ways an HOA Board Can Encourage Member Involvement in the New Year

Since a new year is about to begin, this may be a good time for the HOA board to communicate with the Association members about several ways they can help make the community an even better place to live in

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Taking It to the Streets: Dealing With Conflicts Outside Your Condo or Co-op (NY)

The day-to-day operation of a residential condo or co-op can certainly be a handful for its board of trusted volunteers. But not to add insult to injury, communal living doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and there are likely to be

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Tips for Effective HOA Board Member Transitions

If you are reading this article, you’re most likely a newly elected HOA or community association board member who will be taking office in the near future. HOAs and community associations are real businesses with budgets in the hundreds of

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Events, Expos and Educational Classes: Why HOA Boards Should Attend

Most homeowners association (HOA) board members are not experts. Board members are well-intentioned, dedicated volunteer-leaders who want to protect the value of their property and ensure their community continues to be a great place to live. Of course, the act

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10 Questions Your HOA Board Should Ask Before the End of the Year

It’s important for an HOA board to work on ending the year well. It doesn’t matter if your homeowners association plans around the fiscal or calendar year, the questions below apply to both. It may already be the end of

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Three Great Reasons to Join a Condo Association Board

Making the decision to join a Condo Association Board is a big step. You’ll be responsible for the governance and management of a community – possibly one with hundreds or thousands of people living in it. The job will be

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How to Act Effectively as a New Condo Association Board Member

Learning to be an effective new Condo Board member is a process. While you may come in with the greatest of expectations and designs, reality is messy and different. Before anything else, you first need to “learn to learn” –

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Ten Key Items that Should Be on Every Community’s Annual Calendar

As a board member or the management company for an association, do you have all your ducks in a row for the new year? With the holidays fast approaching, it’s easy to get distracted. However, it’s important to take the

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Board Power: Its Sources, Its Uses, Its Limits (NY)

Today’s boards owe a debt of gratitude to Ronald Levandusky and his kitchen.  In 1990, a man named Ronald Levandusky wanted to remodel his kitchen at One Fifth Avenue. In the process, he changed the position of a two-inch steam

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How to Make Good Governance Policies for Condo Boards

Policies may not seem like an exciting topic, but they are crucial to the success of any condo board. I divide policies into three areas: governance, financial, and communications. An earlier post described best practices in communication. In this post,

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Total Board Recall in Your HOA

The natives are restless. The smell of tar wafts through the night air and somewhere a chicken loses its feathers. The board prepares for impending doom.  Board recalls don’t happen out of the blue. Like Mount St. Helens, they give

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Shortening the Board Member Learning Curve

For those who live in community associations, board membership should be viewed in the same vein as a civic duty. An effective board of directors is essential for the financial and administrative wherewithal and stability of every community association, so

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What is Condo Association Fiduciary Duty?

The term “fiduciary duty” comes up often when talking about Condo and HOA Boards. According to US Legal.com the official definition of fiduciary duty is:  “A fiduciary duty is an obligation to act in the best interest of another party…A

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How to Make Condo Boards Successful: The Ultimate Checklist

One of the questions I’m often asked is what makes a condo board successful. I’ve been in the thick of things as President of my condo board, and I’ve spoken to people involved with dozens of other condo boards. From

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8 time-saving strategies for community associations to avoid strain

For many community association residents, serving on the board is a rewarding experience. They guide how the money gets spent, and they reap satisfaction when improvement projects are successfully completed.  Board service also can be a frustrating, thankless chore that

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Fighting Apathy: Identifying Great Condo Board Member Candidates

Condo Association Boards have an extremely challenging job when it comes to running their Associations. They have substantial control over finances and the direction a community goes. The fear of breaking bad – and resulting horror stories – is very

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HOA Target, Process & Objective

The lack of communication is often one of the biggest complaints that many boards receive. Yet, good communication is a fundamental imperative of every homeowner association. If the board is to succeed with its objectives, it needs cooperation from the

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Whose job is it anyway? The difference between the roles of Property Managers and the Board of Directors

For most members of the condo community, the Property Manager is the face of the condo corporation. They are responsible for day-to-day running of the condo corporation, and I find that people can get confused about the difference between the

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The First Steps to Learn to be a Condo Board Member

New Board members are are a key to fighting apathy. They come in full of energy, ready to change the Association for the better. They know what they’re getting into, but how do you get to work? This article is

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HOAs: How to make community service fair

It is a basic truth that the risk in any venture should match the reward. High risk investments should bring high yields, while low returns may be acceptable for very secure investments.  The same principle should be applied to volunteer

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How to make sure volunteer work does not bring risk

It is a basic truth that the risk in any venture should match the reward. High risk investments should bring high yields, while low returns may be acceptable for very secure investments.  The same principle should be applied to volunteer

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New HOA Board Members – Get up to Speed on Your Community Finances

Congratulations, and thank you for stepping up to serve your community on the board of directors! As an HOA or community association board member, you get to run a business and make key decisions that will impact your community now

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6 ways to manage a successful homeowners’ association

It is always a convenient option to form a group of like-minded people, chosen by the rest of the residents to maintain harmony in the neighborhood. For this purpose,homeowners’ associations are formed so that one can mark the elements that

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Contending with Apathy Towards Board Member Service in Community Associations

Community association living has many advantages and desirable qualities. Residents share expenses in order to be able to enjoy relatively carefree maintenance of their property and the use of amenities such as pools, fitness centers, meeting rooms, and other appealing

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How to Effectively Represent Condo Association Owners as a Board Member

Condo Association Board members are elected to represent Condo Association Owners and to carry out their fiduciary duty with regards to the Condo Association. That’s the job. There are many other challenges that go with it, but those are the

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The Road to Self-Management: Independence Has Its Pros and Cons

Management by definition is a process; a series of ongoing systems and controls put in place with a specific outcome in mind. The management needs and requirements of HOAs, co-ops and condominiums have helped define the overall property management industry.

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If Hillary and Donald were running for your Condo or HOA Board which one would get your vote?

I realize that the title of this blog post will prompt some readers to dash off a response in support of their favored candidate or at least launch an attack against the candidate they despise.  The question in the title

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