A self managed HOA operates as a representative democracy in your neighborhood, which means that every so often you will have a peaceful transfer of power.
Elections can sometimes get contentious, and any change has the potential to be stressful. However, if everyone keeps the community’s long-term best interest in mind, people of goodwill can work in tandem for an effective transition.
When people take on new roles within the HOA, they become responsible for ongoing responsibilities and projects. As a final act of leadership, outgoing board members should make sure their replacements understand the nature of the jobs they’re stepping into.
Experienced volunteers have a lot of wisdom to share about:
- key documents
- proper enforcement of covenants
- meetings and elections
- Invoicing and collection policies
- insurance requirements
Newly elected volunteers also need to be brought up to speed on any pending legal issues and other potentially thorny concerns, so they won’t get caught off guard.
In addition, ongoing building projects should be fully understood by the incoming leadership. Different committees and their roles should be discussed as well.
If your HOA still relies on paper files and ledger books, there will be a flood of paperwork to transfer and explain. HOA self management software makes the process quick and easy, but whatever record-keeping methods your HOA uses should be clearly communicated to newcomers.
In the business world, training your replacement has the potential to be a good or a bad thing.
- If you’re leaving the job because of a promotion or you’ve decided to retire, it’s a chance to provide the company with one last service.
- If the company wants you to train someone else before you’re shown the door, that’s a tough row for anybody to hoe.
No matter why you’re leaving the HOA’s management team of volunteers, you want your community to be in a stronger place for your having served. That means taking time at the end of your term to ensure the community’s business will be taken care of in your absence.
Doing this final job the right way requires a strategy:
- Provide a list of duties.
- Introduce new information at a comfortable pace.
- Answer questions and clarify instructions.
- Show how the work is done.
- Make introductions.
- Focus on the job, not personalities.
As an outgoing leader of a self managed HOA, you know what kind of commitment is required, so do your best to communicate that knowledge in a friendly and professional manner.
Advice for HOAs
The team at McKinsey & Company focuses on improving the performance of a variety of organizations. They looked into transitions and developed a set of core principles:
- Start transition planning before the election.
- Develop a set of goals and initiatives to implement.
- Focus on issues that have the most potential to cause problems.
- Assign responsibilities to the appropriate officers.
Honesty should be a guiding virtue for anyone in a position of public trust, and it’s especially important during a transition in leadership.
No administration gets every call correct. Any new role involves a learning process, and that means mistakes will be made. If you can share the mistakes you and your team made, you can help the new group of leaders.
For that matter, you don’t have to be limited to the issues you’ve encountered. If you’ve been in contact with other HOAs, you can also share mistakes they’ve committed, including failing to:
- Collect overdue fees effectively.
- Review financials.
- Hold meetings correctly.
- Maintain proper insurance coverage.
- Abide by state and federal laws.
This is also a time to share some of your successes as well as how they came about. There’s a chance your replacement was on the outside looking in while you and your team were dealing with an issue, so this is a chance to let them peek behind the scenes.
For instance, if your HOA switched from a paper-based record system to a digital system, incoming leaders might like to see all the steps involved with choosing the right HOA self management software.
You want to avoid discussing the personalities involved with disputes during your time in office, but it can help to share the types of conflicts that the HOA executive board has to handle.
While any homeowner should have a good working knowledge of the HOA’s founding documents, make sure your replacement has digital or paper access to the community’s covenants, conditions and restrictions, bylaws, and articles of incorporation.
Newcomers might also appreciate a tour around the common areas:
- tennis court
Discuss the upkeep required for each location. If possible, introduce the new leadership team to vendors and maintenance people, so those relationships can get off to a smooth start.
New officers will bring fresh ideas, which are important for any organization. But don’t underestimate the value of experience. Make sure incoming leaders understand your HOA’s established norms as well as the rationales behind them.
During times of change, both sides of the transition should remember the heavy-lifting words from grade school:
It doesn’t matter if you’re the one leaving the board or the wide-eyed newbie stepping into a new role. As elected officials of your HOA, both have important responsibilities to friends and neighbors. Let that common interest guide you through the transition process.
Keep it digital with HOA self management software
The secret weapon to making any transition go smoother is to keep all records digital. The right HOA self management software provides an online portal to handle a variety of functions, and it’s all password-protected.
When using PayHOA’s platform, the HOA president can share important documents with board members and homeowners. Everything can be organized into digital files and folders. A community calendar helps with managing board meetings and events.
HOA self management software is a time saver for treasurers. From budgeting to auditing, PayHOA’s platform puts all the information you need at your fingertips. It’s a snap to generate real-time accounting reports as well as track income and expenses. Treasurers also can create vendor profiles, send professional invoices, and pay vendors directly from the software.
PayHOA allows homeowners to autopay their dues, so that potential pain point isn’t as onerous as it could be. It’s also easy to keep track of all communications regarding violations and maintenance.
For secretaries, HOA self management software makes it a snap to communicate with all homeowners or a select few via text, email, phone, or mail. It’s also a simple matter to direct homeowners to the 24/7 online portal for access to their payment histories and other important documents.
Newly elected board members will get assigned to committees, and PayHOA helps them to:
- Send mass emails, SMS, and automatic phone calls.
- Email custom PDFs to homeowners for special events.
- Send surveys and vote digitally with the option of anonymous voting.
- Build a custom website for the community.
- Create and monitor a community message board.
The right digital tool can make a big difference when it comes to preparing incoming volunteers for their duties. A thorough and peaceful transfer of power ensures new leaders get the best starts they can get, and that’s to everyone’s benefit in the neighborhood.