After my first meeting, one of the owners who was on the Board was very clear that we all own this together and I had a responsibility to maintain this building though participation on committees and other events as determined by the Board. From that moment on, I knew I needed a great deal more education on how to live in a condominium.

Doing another Google search led me to several sites about community living, including the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and the Association of Condominium, Townhouse and Homeowners Associations (ACTHA), among others. The sites provided a wealth of information on exactly what I purchased here in the City of Chicago. I learned about various sponsored and free seminars, and that I started attending regularly through the years. As time went on, and I became more active in my own building committees, I decided to run for the Board, eventually “winning” to become the Secretary on our condominium Board.

Before we had our first meeting, I ultimately decided to enroll in an education series on the responsibilities of being a Board member. This was a huge commitment since I would not only have to do a great deal of reading but there would also be exams. Some of the courses were in person and some could be done online.

After I passed my first exam, I came home and told my family that anyone who ever thought about purchasing a condo should take this course. It was clear that I had no idea what I was doing at the time of purchase and, thankfully, I now own something that will hold its value and is continuing to be managed properly. It’s shocking how easily anyone could find themselves in the middle of a confusing legal or financial battle with little to no information on how an association got there and where it will likely end.

I can’t say enough about how important it is that everyone who takes on a condominium understands  and maintaining such a complicated 

The courses not only covered the Illinois Condominium Property Act, which is a course in itself, but also included topics such as building codes, maintenance requirements, financial oversight and planning, and the most difficult subjects of all, insurance (a test that I admit I had to take three times to pass!). I can’t say enough about how important it is that everyone who takes on a condominium


understands the risks and the benefits of owning and maintaining such a complicated piece of real estate.

After almost five years, and having served on the Board, as well as being certified by the ACTHA Learn & Lead Program, would I have done it all over again and purchased this condo? Absolutely. I was lucky. I purchased the right property for me at this time in my life and it ended up being one that has not only increased in value, but continues to be managed well. In hindsight, I went into it blindly and I will never do that again.

My hope is that anyone who reads this will be motivated to become active in the many associations that provide information on condominium and townhome ownership. CAI, ACTHA and other organizations offer incredible opportunities for Board Member education, whether you live in the city or suburbs. Not only will you continue to learn about how to protect yourself and your neighbors, it will keep you informed on local and state legislative activities that could impact any of us who have so much invested in downtown Chicago properties and elsewhere. Trust me, it will be worth your time. You will continue to learn about where you live, how to plan for the future, and maybe even make some new friends. Getting into 1st gear after buying my condo led me on a journey of discovery for the whole community association world!

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MCD GOLF & BOCCE INVITATIONAL @ Eaglewood Resort - JULY 12th

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