- Joe Wise
Get More Buy-In for HOA Decisions
Making effective decisions quickly can be challenging for many homeowner and condo association Board members. Part of the reason is that association decisions need to be transparent, and reaching consensus is difficult when the topic pushes a hot button. HOA decisions must be made for the good of the entire community, so decisions rarely please every homeowner. Making effective decisions quickly doesn’t have to be painful. Tweaking your decision-making process can help get a higher degree of buy-in and arrive at a solution more quickly.
Review authority: While the Board is elected and has authority to make many decisions for the association, homeowners must vote on other decisions. Most CC&Rs identify the Board’s authority and decisions that require a vote by owners. Your first move is to check your association documents to make sure the right people are involved in making a decision.
Gather input: Transparency is vital when making decisions for a community. Solicit input at the onset. Obtain multiple opinions and reasoning from as many people as possible. Many Boards fail to collect input from enough owners. Requesting at the onset helps identify potential problems so that you can address these upfront. In addition, it can also improve buy-in because owners have an opportunity to share their viewpoint.
Get agreement: Reaching consensus shouldn’t be a battleground when you frame the issue and maintain control of the meeting. Clearly frame the issue with primary supporting points for each option for the attendees. State the case for Option 1 and allow unique arguments and counter-arguments. Stick with new arguments while avoiding repeated arguments. You move through this process faster than you think because each argument is heard one time.
Take a vote: Whether your Board is authorized to make the decision or homeowners need to vote, it’s time to make the choice. Follow voting guidelines in your association’s bylaws. While there were intense discussions with no agreement in the meeting, there’s often a clear consensus in the vote. Creating the opportunity to “be heard” can make a difference.
Communicate and/or implement: Convey the decision to all homeowners. To facilitate better understanding, include the supporting points of the decision along with the implementation timeframe. Any homeowner action(s) should be clearly outlined along with negative consequences for failure to comply. Communicate broadly. Communicate more than one time. The goal is to eliminate surprises for homeowners.
Review and Adjust: You make the best decision possible based on the information, but situations change that the Board couldn’t have predicted. Be willing to reconsider a decision when it doesn’t work for the community or there is new information. Whether it’s a recent or old decision, correcting a wrong is the right thing to do for your community.
Wise Property Solutions is a property management company serving East Tennessee with offices in Knoxville, TN and the Tri-Cities, TN-VA. Specializing in Condominium Association Management, Home Owners Association Management, HOA Management and Gated Community Association Management.