1) Thinking you can “wing it”
Too often, new board members take their seat at the table before learning what that actually entails. This is dangerous! If possible try to take a class or at the very least get your managing agent to give you an overview the roles and responsibilities within the HOA. Take the time to understand the management plan before you jump in. This will help you hit the ground running as an effective and efficient Board Member.
2) Simply doing too much
If you take the advice from point one, you know that your authority as a board member is derived from the HOA governing documents. And you have, of course, taken the time to understand them.
To put this simply: If it’s not in the governing documents, you can’t do it.
It’s easy to be enthusiastic and optimistic but never loose sight of reality. Some things, you simply can not change or regulate.
3) And doing it too soon
Along the lines of point two, another common mistake being to overzealous. Many times, people join the board for a specific reason. The minute they have the power, they try to enact change without fully understanding the implications of their actions. Any good decision takes time and the impact should be understood from all angles before action is taken.
4) Changing vendors hastily (Power trip alert!)
Try to avoid passing judgement on vendors before you’ve had the opportunity to meet with them. Maybe you didn’t like what they were doing before you came along but keep in mind that they take direction from the board. You might be able to turn the situation around without changing vendors. Again, you need to understand all sides.
By now you’re probably getting the idea. Most mistakes can be avoided with a little due diligence, patience and understanding. If you simply take the time to understand the Association, your role within it and the implications of your actions – you will be on your way to contributing to a healthy HOA.