Basic Director Training Needed for Condominium Communities

Real Estate Agent with Retired CA BRE# 01048160

HOA Directors

The day should have been long ago when homeowner association directors with little understanding or training, actually run Homeowner Associations. So many of the people that get elected ( usually because no one else wants to serve or for other reasons that I will leave out of this post) are most often not  qualified.

HOA Training 

The Directors need training to work the budgets, recommend the allocation of reserves, propose by-law changes, and interpret the pre-formatted CC&R's that were filed with the respective State Dept. of Real Estate by the developer when the property was first approved as a subdivision. I believe most HOA directors would want to learn if there was a venue to provide this needed training.
Legal Assistance

If a Homeowners Association actually had better hands on legal guidance, the legal advisers would insist that each of the elected Directors understand  what they have been elected to do. The same goes for the management companies that often advise the associations. In situations that I have observed, it often seems like the sight challenged leading the sight challenged.

In some respects it is totally amazing that the associations function at all. Getting out the reserve studies ( usually constructed by the management companies ) and the annual budget for the decision on what fees will be charged for the current year are often all that is accomplished by the directors.

Hands On Approach

In other associations the Directors take a more hands on approach dealing with infractions of the accepted rules, policing the common areas and various other aspects of life in a subdivision. And there have certainly been charges levied by individual homeowners that the board has exceeded it charge. Most courts however usually back the associations, finding language in the CC&R's that gives them greater latitude.

What is needed is instead of the rather unpleasant conflict is, Director training that should be available by the respective authorities that authorize the forming of subdivisions in a state or at least by legal entity that is hired to keep tract that rules are regs are lawful and that those that abuse members the system are handled properly.

HOA Management Company Role

I recently came across one management company in particular that was providing this training and it should not surprise you that this particular association is very well run and  the homeowner members appreciate the better way affairs of the association are managed. The company doesn't want any fanfare so they shall remain anonymous but they certainly take their charge in a serious and professional way and as a REALTOR, I applaud their exceptional efforts.

Most CC&R's were meant as a model that would be adopted at the time the association takes over for the Builder of the Subdivision. They were also intended to be living documents that would be amended to accommodate the life style and way of life for that association within the legal limits assigned to them.


What happens in reality is that the model CC&R's available for the new subdivisions usually get adopted and without further action they remain that way, often at the consternation of most who reside there. When I inquired about how that happens , I was told that the legal work and expense required is often the harbinger to the desired change. Unless the articles are simply onerous, they remain  that way , year after year,after year.

Role of REALTORS Associations

Since REALTOR associations usually provide basic training in Roberts Rules and the fundamentals of how associations operate to their new elected directors , it might be a very useful community service if the REALTOR Associations could design a basic training for the Homeowner Association Directors in their community. It could also be a nice additional revenue stream offsetting some of the other programs an association might like to provide its members. It might be worth looking into. What say you?


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Courtesy of William Johnson GRI CRS e-PRO author of The Real Estate Text Book and The Voice of San Diego Real Estate



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Comments (14)

Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

William your observations about the CC&R's being tough to change because of legal is what I have seen too. Great review on this whole topic.

Aug 05, 2008 12:10 PM
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

I say that even my association could benefit with some training. You should see our elected "officials". And you should see them in 'action' when we get a water leak too :)

Aug 05, 2008 12:13 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

This makes lots of sense, William. I have seen some associations that are very well managed and others that are a disaster. That often IS a problem with volunteerism, adn personal agendas.

I see a training consultant opportunity here! BUt having the local boards take on this training is an interesting approach. Training should be mandatory in order for someone to be in the leadership role, or they should have past experience at a minimum.


Aug 05, 2008 12:16 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hello Gary, Thanks for the compliment. This issue keeps coming up and I am surprised that the the Dept of real estate in the various states has not addressed this. It could even be mandated in the basic standard issue CC &R's. That would help and the course could give a better understanding on what the Directors are embarking on.

Aug 05, 2008 01:37 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Woo Hoo, You are too funny, but I have said that before. I can see you sort of giggling at them as you murmur so no can hear you, your choice words describing them,LMAO. You have real time experience with the issue.

Aug 05, 2008 01:39 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Training Consultant would be a great service and imagine how many clients there would be. If you could get such a thing approved by the Dept of Real Estate , you would have a gold mine with new directors in these subdivisions, usually every year.

Aug 05, 2008 01:41 PM
Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker Associate ,CRS,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Hi William,

Great info, training like this would be a huge help for most hoa's. As for the associations coming up with the criteria, that would be task. Did you try it in S.D.? Maybe CAR, do they still have a common interest subdivision committee? I'm out of the loop on this one.

BTW, just sent you and email.

Aug 05, 2008 05:45 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Lynda, Thank You. Yes I think so as well. I was on that committee when I first raised the subject. Out of their realm. It falls under the auspics of the dept of real estate. But local associations that would be in proximity of the subdivisons  most certainly could in fact develope this basic training.

Aug 05, 2008 06:24 PM
Susie Blackmon
Ocala, FL
Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing

Maybe we should clean our our own closets before cleaning out someone else's!! 


Aug 05, 2008 06:50 PM
Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist
Kingsbridge Realty, Inc - Hubert, NC

Hi William,
This makes a lot of sense, it should be required reading for all condo associations.

Aug 05, 2008 10:12 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Susie, This comes from the frustration of representing seller's and buyers in the acquisition of but even more so in the gathering of information required to transfer ownership.

Aug 06, 2008 05:32 AM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Cynthia, I guess someone is reading things. I received a call asking if I could share the name of the HOA management company as a referral for another association. Pretty cool,huh?

Aug 06, 2008 05:38 AM
- -
- - Bogota, TN

Hey this is actually really fascinating given the current state of affairs. It make a lot of sense..........

Aug 06, 2008 09:43 AM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Rob, Thanks for that. Appreciate you dropping by and sharing that.

Aug 06, 2008 11:32 AM