Whether elected or volunteered for, a president of the homeowners association should have a few innate abilities in order to successfully run an HOA. Success is typically defined by moving the community in a positive direction while maintaining the happiness of the homeowners and property values of each home.
With all of this responsibility, what does a great HOA president look like? Here is IKO Community Management’s breakdown of the top qualities a president should have:
Commitment. A homeowners association president should be committed to bettering the community as a whole. He or she should be committed to attending every meeting, creating family-friendly community events, and more. Without commitment to the community, the neighborhood will not move forward.
Attention to detail. A president can’t run a condominium or homeowners association if he or she does not pay attention to the tiny details. He or she should take the time to thoroughly read through documents, understand the financial situation, learn about the community’s needs and wants, and master the best way to communicate with homeowners and his or her board members.
Consistency. He or she should be consistent with their actions, especially in regards to obeying and enforcing the rules. Homeowners are much more likely to abide by the community regulations if they know the HOA will enforce them, and even more so if they see members following the rules, too.
Pride. A great HOA president should have pride in where they live. Simply put, if you do not have pride in what you are doing, then you will not put forth the effort, time, or resources to do your best.
Honesty and fairness. An HOA president should be law-abiding without bias toward specific neighbors. While flexibility is a great quality to have in most positions, HOA-regulated communities come with laws, covenants, and restrictions, so it’s important for a president to understand this and follow through.
Leadership. This quality seems like a no-brainer, but it is important for someone who is comfortable in a leadership position to take the reigns in the homeowners association. He or she should be all right with delegating tasks to smaller committees, making bold decisions for the community’s aesthetic, being the public face for the neighborhood, taking control of unruly situations, and more.
Ability to take criticism. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to like what you do or say all the time. An HOA president should have thick skin and the ability to take criticism, whether it is constructive or negative.
"You have to be able to not take this stuff personally," said Nathaniel Abbate, Jr., of Makower Abbate & Associates PLLC in Farmington Hills, Michigan. "You have to realize that your association is a few things. First and foremost, it's a community, but it's also a business and a government. The worst association directors are people who take it personally."
Organization and balance. A successful HOA president is organized with documents, meeting minutes, and more. However, he or she also understands how to balance personal and “professional” life in the community. Since they are a homeowner as well, it is important for he or she to be balanced between personal and professional relationships with neighbors.
Communication. Like every relationship in life, communication is key. Most homeowners associations’ secretary is responsible for communicating to homeowners through email and during annual and weekly meetings. However, it is still vital that the president understand the communication process in case of absence or emergency.
Also, because he or she is the public face of the community, they need to be able to talk to potential homeowners/renters, board members, realtors, and property management companies.
If you have the time for the big commitment of being on your HOA board, make sure you can communicate effectively, stay organized, and take criticism now and then. If you are comfortable simply being a community member, brush up on what to ask your homeowners association president with IKO Community Management’s popular guide: