Lessons to Build On: Successfully Transition from Builder on the Board to Homeowner Governance

May 10, 2016    Margo Crummack CEO/Principal    Education

SUCCESSFULLY TRANSITION FROM BUILDER ON THE BOARD TO HOMEOWNER GOVERNANCE

Without proper guidance and understanding, the transition from a developer-controlled board to homeowner governance can be tricky business. In order to understand the end result, we must truly start at the beginning

POTENTIAL HOMEOWNERS ARE POTENTIAL CANDIDATES

Any business is only as good as its people. HOAs are no exception. Great homeowner board member candidates are essential to the long term success of any community. From the very beginning, recruiting HOA board candidates should be on everyone’s mind.  But where do you start?

YOU ALREADY HAVE YOUR HOA RECRUITERS!

I’ve found that sales agents and escrow officers are the first to meet potential homeowners, and therefore potential HOA candidates. They meet homeowners and work with each homebuyer, already building a personal rapport before they move into the development. This relationship naturally allows the salesperson or escrow office to gauge if the homebuyer is interested in running for the HOA board. By implementing this effort you’ll help the future of the development!

HOW TO IDENTIFY HOA CANDIDATES

As a team, working in conjunction with the community manager, identify candidates who are ready and willing to commit; let the mentoring begin! It is a rare thing to find an experienced homeowner board member.  Management understands this and will be very instrumental in growing and nurturing a great crop of future board members. Board members need to be coached on best practices and how to apply them with the best interests of the overall community in mind.

The most successful transitions are those where there are informed homeowners ready and willing to step into your seat when it’s time for you to resign from the board. This is why involved candidates and passionate candidates make all the difference.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU RESIGN YOUR BOARD SEAT

Are you positive that you and your organization have a good relationship with the homeowners and new board members?
If the answer is YES, great! If the answer is NO, then I suggest you postpone your exit until you show you care, and the homeowners feel you care. This goes a long way to avoiding future pain or in the worst case scenario, a lawsuit.

Are the homeowners happy with the ultimate look and functionality of the community? 

Do not leave them frustrated and unhappy; it will come back to haunt you in the form of negative press and poor buzz.  YELP is very popular for a reason and it’s effective if a disgruntled customer wants to get a point across. We understand it’s hard to listen to criticism, but it’s your professional obligation to listen to it.

Are all of your bonds exonerated and off your books? Have all conveyance documents been provided to management? Have the utility bills been internally audited to ensure they are all turned over to the association?

So many questions! I know, I know. But these are important housekeeping items that can save you time and headache as you prepare to leave the board. Write these down, print this out, take an image of this article, but don’t forget these questions.

OKAY, IT’S TIME TO EXIT…GRACEFULLY

When homeowners are happy and great candidates are waiting in the wings, start resigning one builder representative at a time.  Once the new homeowner board member is comfortable and up-to-speed on all board business (and business is moving smoothly), that’s a great time to take the next step and resign your next seat.

Although you are completely off the board, it is still important to keep open lines of communication.  Periodically check in with the management company to see how things are going and to offer any advice, insight, or recommendations.

FINAL THOUGHTS

It may seem easier, but I recommend never resigning all of your board seats simultaneously. I also understand builders have limited resources when it comes to employees serving on these boards. Still, resigning at once and walking away from the table is rarely perceived well.  It often leaves the homeowners and board members feeling abandoned and that you do not care, which can be a disastrous combination. The more time you invest in these transitions, the greater your chances are of creating a healthy and thriving community your buyers are proud to call their home.

Reach out to me anytime if you’d like any advice or you’d like for me to speak to your team. Information is knowledge. Knowledge is power.

Good luck and I wish you continued success!

 


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ABOUT MARGO CRUMMACK
Margo co-founded Crummack Huseby Property Management, Inc., over 17 years ago when she saw a need for a more customized and personalized approach to community management. Margo along with co-founder Sandra Woods Huseby's mission was to create a breath of fresh air within their industry: to create an open dialogue with communities, to focus on the core of a community, and to customize management styles to suit what’s best for that particular community.
 
As an expert in New Project Development, Margo is often invited to consult from day one. Her work ethic is respected and valued—when she says she’ll do it, it gets done. One of Margo’s crown jewels is the beautiful 20-Merchant Builder Master Planned Community that she consulted on back in 1999 and still manages today.

Always advocating for continued learning, Margo encourages an environment of “training, motivating, and innovating” for herself, Crummack Huseby’s employees, and their clients. She is also a well-respected speaker and educator within the industry, serving on the Education Committee for CAI-OC and CACM’s Education Review Committee.  


ABOUT CRUMMACK HUSEBY
As leaders in our industry, and with decades of combined experience, we’ve set a new standard for BRE consulting and processing coordination with your SRP. There’s not a one-size-fits-all at Crummack Huseby Property Management, Inc., because we understand builders deserve an experience that’s as unique as the communities they create. Our unforgettable team and unparalleled personal approach to New Community Management and BRE Services sets us apart. Let us help your community stand out. When you’re ready for us, we’ll be here for you.  For more information, visit ch-pm.com or call 888-399-9430 Toll Free

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