There was an interesting article on Co-op/Condo boards this weekend in the NY Times.  One quote that caught my eye was:

The people who run for a board seat, he said, tend to fall into three categories: “Some people love the power and they like the respect it gives them; some people do it because they feel it’s time to do something for the community; and some people have a personal agenda.”

It reminded me how little attention some buyers pay to the quality of the condo associations.  Granted, condo boards turnover pretty frequently but in terms of the culture, expectations, and history, some buildings seem to have it down better than others.

Specifically, here are some things I'd recommend looking into when considering a building:

  • What big decisions has the condo board made recently?
  • What's the condo's history of communicating with all of the owners and soliciting their feedback?
  • What does the condo board think are some of the top priorities for the building going forward?
  • Who is currently on the board and for how long?

Granted, the board is probably more of a secondary factor when compared to price, location, features, and layout.  Nevertheless, if deciding between two similar properties with one having a solid home owners' association board and the other one having a board that is not engaged, bitterly divided, or dominated by personal agendas, it would be foolish not to strongly favor the former.