People who purchase a condo are just like anyone else who buys a residential property; they want a good neighborhood, a quality house, and maybe a good school or access to transportation. Low on the list of priorities for people in the modern era is whether they can ask their neighbor to borrow a cup of sugar.
Still, when it comes to being part of an HOA, there are a lot of benefits to creating a community that is cohesive. Whether it’s enabling your HOA board to operate effectively or resolving a problem between residents without having to escalate things to a courtroom, forging a quality community does more than provide a source of baking ingredients when you’re running short: it creates a community that works better for everyone.
One of the first things to do when forging a strong community is to develop strong communication systems within the community. As with any other living situation, open, transparent communication is the cornerstone of good relationships between residents, and it starts with the HOA board.
Modeling good communication can be done in many ways, but when the board provides a variety of channels to access information about what’s happening around the community, they boost participation in community events and develop a stronger brand identity as a result. While townhall meetings and other events open channels between HOA members and the board, developing something as simple as a newsletter can reap rewards in forging a community among neighbors.
Apart from the open channels of communication, an HOA board can help foster a sense of community through building a website that is exclusive to HOA members. Such a website doesn’t need to be complicated; it can have little more than a calendar of HOA events with places to access the important documents that govern the HOA. Such a small step can reap real benefits, however, as it helps generate a sense of connection with the larger neighborhood.
Communication and shared connection are important aspects of a community, but participation is a key differentiator between regular communities and great communities. When it comes to getting people to volunteer for the HOA board, for example, it’s sometimes worth simply asking someone for their help. Someone may have a skill that the board could benefit from consulting—such as financial planning—and even though that expert might be willing to help, he or she may have the wrong idea of how much time or energy volunteering may take. The expert may think volunteering would mean hours out of their week, when the reality may be that a thirty minute consultation is all that’s really necessary.
Apart from getting volunteers to join or help the board, though, building a strong community in an HOA requires people to join others in a social setting to create the friendships and connections at the core of any good community. Holding social events in common spaces, for example, is one way to build community effectively. This method is a fundamental aspect of community-building, but it often gets overlooked or executed in a way that is ineffective or otherwise contrary to the aim of building community. For example, having common spaces that people want to be in makes it significantly easier to attract attendees to community events.
Building a positive community in your HOA might seem like a labor-intensive task, but little things go a long way to making life easier. It can help resolve problems before they arise between residents, and also develop a great additional perk to attract quality people to your HOA.