Wouldn’t It Be Nice If Life Was Simple In HOA Land And In Real-Life?

Happy New Year! And it’s off with a zing. I am reminded of some important things these first few days of 2016 because of some Facebook posts and also because of a communication with a reader of my website and blogs. First of all, I am reminded by a friend’s Facebook post that life is amazing, then life becomes difficult, then it gets amazing again, and then it becomes difficult again, and then, voilà, it’s good again. It made me remember that the highs wouldn’t seem so quite so euphoric if the lows weren’t low.

The dialogue I had with an avid reader leads right into this kind of reality. She first contacted me because she was having some frustration over her own association, and also over trying to navigate my webstore homepage. She had been trying to get a book which she had paid for and was trying to reach me through the “Contact Me” link at the bottom of the homepage. Not only were her emails going somewhere into unidentifiable cyberspace, the content under the “about us” and “customer service” links was in Latin gibberish. She was sure he had ended up in some sort of cyber terror situation and my store had been hacked. Now she had me wondering. A scary roller coaster for a short time.

Turns out it wasn’t hacked. It just was a hack in charge, that particular “hack” being me. I didn’t even realize there were links bottom-of my store page because I never scroll down that far. This brought up old frustration about the store. Since DAY 1-it’s been a source of heartburn. My Web provider/server made us change stores and this reminds me –if anyone ever wants to guide you toward a MAGENTO STORE SITE – call me first. They have the worst customer service I have ever experienced – because it is non-existent. You have to go to “the community” to get answers.

Anyway, I managed to go in and fix the content under the links and hope others have not been plagued like that reader was -she ended up in the endless circle of frustration over trying to get a simple book. Finally she called me, and we both got through it and came out the other side more “enlightened”. This is one of those areas where I wish things were simpler. When a web geek says to me “Just do this, it’s easy”, I always want to say “Not for me.”  Whenever I buy something with “minimal assembly” I often just put it back. The technical manuals might as well be in Latin. I don’t’ have that gene that fills in the gaps in what is not said.

So I get it when I say to you, “All you have to do is read a certain of my publications, and you can save a lot of money”, it compares to someone who has the “fix it” gene telling me “Just read the manual, it’s all there.” I get it now.

Here is the readers last email and it is worthy of sharing:

“It’s interesting you would say this [you have a Plain English guide to running an association] because it was my thought exactly when I got the SMALL HOA Survival Guide – but I skimmed over the “in plain English”  and went right to it has 100 pages! Wow it is still a kettle of fish, big time. I would love to get my claws into it as a layman non-attorney and write a Davis Stirling Act for Dummys or The Davis Stirling Act for 5 Years Olds. I bet I could get it down to 3 pages. “You gotta do this, this, & this. You can’t do that, that, & that.” Done! Or maybe you have something available like this already.  If so, what would you recommend?”

The very first book I wrote with a board President was the closest to “You gotta do this, this, & this. You can’t do that, that, & that,” as anything I have written since. It is self published and still available on my website and it is called FINDING THE KEY TO YOUR CASTLE.   So one could start there to get the basics on common interest development living. And there are lots of other publications available on my website that are helpful tools and affordable.  But I could not distill running an association, even a small one, down to 3 pages.

I can, however, give you some “you gotta do this’s” and “you gotta do thats” in less than a page.

If you are an owner and you don’t want to think about too much, you still gotta understand that you live in a community where a board is really in charge of a lot of things, i.e., collecting assessments and spending them wisely (at least that is the hope). You still gotta be a good neighbor and follow the rules or you might get penalized in some way. Some boards fine owners, others turn against owners who violate the rules and covertly [or sometimes blatantly] treat you differently than other owners.

If you are an owner and rent your place you gotta choose responsible tenants. Otherwise they will not only burn you, but they will burn the association and neighbors and it will come back to burn you more.

If you are on the board, you gotta know that you have a responsibility to other people to make responsible decisions. You could get sued for really bad ones. Most times the association will take the brunt of a lawsuit but it is not good to be the one to cause it.

If you agree to serve on the board, you gotta have some vague understanding that there are regulatory documents you need to be aware of – CC&Rs and Bylaws in California. You do not need to memorize them but you do need to refer to them now and then when setting policy, enforcing rules, determining who fixes what and conducting meetings and elections.

When you are on the board you gotta show up, and participate. When you are just part of a block on the board (or are a blockhead) and don’t hold and express your own opinions, you give over power to the majority or as in many cases the most offensive or unsavory board members.  Those people can get you, your association, and your investment into deep trouble.

Whether you are in a large or small association, good leadership is equally important. Either can fail miserably if run by poor leaders who do not know what they are doing. You gotta pay attention and do something about it when you see things happening that are scary or concerning. Otherwise you go down with the ship rather than helping to steer it out of the muck.

You gotta find a place to go for good information. Try www.californiacondoguru.com where you will find FAQs , free articles, access to resources, the ability to sign up for a free newsletter covering the hot topics, the opportunity to ask questions of me that can be modified for blogs, and blog answers, all these resources for realtors, board members, homeowners, and managers, and more affordable publications written “in Plain English” than you can find anywhere else.

You gotta go now! Identify the problem, put on the “I can” attitude, and find something that resonates for you. If it isn’t a publication, there is always an opportunity to sign on for a consultation. Low rates  for what you get – target specific information, strategies and options unique to your personal situation.

Click here to read up on consultations that I do.    http://www.californiacondoguru.com/savingsconsult.html

I have helped thousands of Californians find their way in the myriad of complicated laws and regulations that are specific to California Homeowner Associations.

I may not have the DIY gene, but I have the HOA gene!

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