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Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Condo, Townhome or HOA Community Living Experience

Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Condo, Townhome or HOA Community Living Experience

Are you a homeowner living in a community association such as a condo, townhome or HOA community?  How is your living experience so far?  Is it living up to your expectations?  What were your original reasons for buying into a condo association, townhome association or an HOA community?  Was it because it was “maintenance free” or perhaps “effort free”?  Did you think it was going to be really effortless to own a home within a community association?  Did you think it would be as simple as paying the basic monthly assessment dues and doing absolutely nothing else?  In other words, did you think you would never need to go to a board meeting, never have to meet any of your fellow homeowners, never need to read any of the mailings or emails sent to you and NEVER serve on the board?

Did you think you wouldn’t need to read the rules and regulations or skim through the governing documents such as the declaration and bylaws?  Did you think you can plant whatever you wanted in the front of your home?  Did you think you could blast music at 2am on a Monday night?  Or perhaps leave barking dogs every time you left your home?  Or yell at the management company because you were sent to collections because you didn’t bother paying the special assessment, you didn’t attend the special assessment board meeting, you didn’t read the 5 emails and 5 letters sent to you and you didn’t read the signs posted all around the association informing all the unit owners about the pending special assessment.

Come on.  Fess up.  Does this sound like you?  If it is, it’s okay.  I won’t tell anyone.  Well the reality is that you are not alone.  A large number of people who have bought into a community association imagined that they would not have to integrate into the community.  They thought it was like pitching a tent in the middle of the forest and doing whatever they wanted to do without any sort of repercussion.

The truth of the matter is that community living is not designed to be as “maintenance free”, “worry free” or “effort free” as you might have imagined.  It is designed for people to come together and connect with each other.  It’s designed for people to learn the art of compromise and to build mutually beneficial relationships that create enjoyable living experiences.  It’s is designed to create synergistic environments that are harmonious and filled with people who are connected and enjoy helping each other.  These are the real benefits of community living.  Community living is actually in many ways better than spending countless hours on social media.  You can actually get real tangible benefits from attending board meetings and connecting with your neighbors.

So how do we experience community living in the most ideal way?  I will now share the top 5 ways to maximize your community living experience:

  1. Read the rules and regulations.  Make sure you get a copy from your attorney or real estate agent BEFORE you purchase your condo, townhome or HOA.  Carefully review them and make sure that you fully understand them.  If you own pets, make sure the document doesn’t prohibit having pets or your type of pet for example.
  2. Attend the board meetings.  Contrary to what you may think, it is MUCH better to attend the board meetings than to AVOID the board meetings.  If you feel the board meetings are not productive, then share you opinion about that and offer suggestions on how to make the meetings more effective.  The board members really appreciate the homeowners that attend the board meetings more than you may realize.  They feel supported in their efforts by the homeowners that attend.  Of course, this is assuming that the homeowner attendees are there for positive supportive purposes and not to complain and gripe.
  3. Get to know your fellow homeowners, board members and management team.  Crazy suggestion.  Right?  The reality is people enjoy working with their friends better than working with people they don’t know.  So it is just as true in business as it is in community living.  Take the time to get to know your neighbors and board members.  Take an hour and drive to the management company office and introduce yourself if they don’t have an onsite presence in your community.  As bizarre as this might seem, I can assure you that it will make a huge positive impact in the way you are helped going forward.
  4. Read and understand the governing documents such as the declaration and bylaws.  You should have received a copy at your closing from your real estate attorney or real estate agent.  An even better approach is to review it with your attorney before closing.  Make sure you understand the implications and responsibilities of home ownership within that community association.
  5. Get Involved.  Volunteer.  Serve on the Board or on a committee.  This is one of the best ways to get to know your neighbors.  It is also a great way to make a positive impact on your community association.  If you serve on the board, it is important to lead courageously.  Do what is best for your association long term.  Don’t take a short time approach.

SUMMARY

Community living is best experienced by connecting with your neighbors.  It is not designed for people to purchase a home and avoid contact and interaction with their fellow homeowners.  Take the time to invest energy into your community, make a positive impact and you will discover the true benefits of community living.

 

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