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The holiday wish list – Orange County Register

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During the holiday season, we often struggle to find the perfect gift for those who are important to us. Sometimes we need a little help, and we ask for a “wish list” of gifts to guide us. What would wish lists from the key players in the HOA world look like?

For the homeowner membership:

Regular communications from the board.

Organized and efficient board meetings.

An attentive board during open forum.

A board committed to follow the law and the governing documents and to improve the sense of community within the association.

Directors who govern with a sense of service, not control.

Directors who are not defensive when homeowners bring new ideas or even criticism.

A board that will tell the truth to members, even if it is a hard truth (such as the assessments are too low and should be increased).

A realistic budget and an increased commitment to funding the HOA’s reserve fund.

A written explanation of any significant changes from last year’s budget to the current proposed budget.

Neighbors who do not automatically assume that annoyance from another neighbor is intentional.


For the board of directors:

Respectful homeowners who acknowledge that the board and committee members serve the community without compensation (and typically without appreciation).

Volunteers for committees and board service.

Homeowners who use open forum effectively.

Homeowners who attend and listen without interfering with board deliberations.

Homeowners willing to pay for the level of maintenance and service they desire.

A manager who has attained or is actively pursuing the management profession credentials.

A manager modeling the highest level of ethical behavior, avoiding conflicts of interest or involvement in HOA politics.

A communicative manager who follows through on board directives and speaks candidly if a directive is not in the HOA’s best interests.

A manager who will tell the truth to the board even though the board may not be happy with that truth.

Ethical service providers who provide advice for the HOA’s best interests, even if it reduces their revenue.

Ethical attorneys who will not only tell the board what CAN legally be done but also what SHOULD be done (or not done).


The HOA manager

Members and directors who understand that the manager juggles tasks for many homeowners, and that not every request is urgent.

Directors who avoid co-managing, allowing the manager to do their job without interference with their execution of board directives.

Directors who understand that the manager is an important part of their Business Judgment Rule due diligence, and therefore look to the manager for their advice and expertise.

Directors and homeowners who are aware the manager works for the association, not anyone homeowner (not even the president), and that the board gives direction.


The HOA service provider

A clear expression of client instructions and priorities.

Designated HOA spokesperson.

Protection from resident interference.

Prompt payment.

Not being replaced simply because a new board is in power, but instead a chance to prove themselves to the new board.


How can you fulfill your HOA wish lists? You can surely help with many of these to create peace on earth, or perhaps at least to help bring a little more peace to your part of it!

Happy Holidays to all!

Kelly G. Richardson Esq., CCAL, is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and a Partner of Richardson | Ober | DeNichilo LLP, a California law firm known for community association advice. Send questions to


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About The Author
Jeff Stearman

Jeff has experienced much success in his many years as a Realtor, consistently ranking in the Top 1% of Realtors nationally as well as the Top Agent locally. Jeff also has an MBA and Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI) designation and is Certified Short Sale Specialist and Distressed Property Negotiator and Expert. Jeff has a firm grasp on today’s real estate market and is an expert in all areas of residential real estate, including: traditional sales, residential income properties, vacation properties, luxury homes, as well as distressed properties. Additionally, with his background in mortgage & financial consulting, Jeff can help you understand the numbers side of real estate and offer valuable advice on the different types of home loans and financing options that you could take advantage of. His clients say: "If you want something done, ask a busy Realtor.” The Stearman Group has successfully sold over 3,000 homes because they carefully work with their clients to create successful solutions. They strive to solve your individual housing needs-one client at a time. His team gives only the Best Personalized Service to each of their clients every single time.

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