Condo Association Good Will

If a condo association is to survive and thrive, it needs a good strategy that makes the most out of available resources, takes assessments into account and keeps a proper budget. But when it comes to condo association resources, there’s one that is often neglected, yet is highly important: good will.

 

Why Good Will Is So Important

Social interactions of all kinds go much better when good will is noticeable. When it comes to condos, it is responsible for promoting trust, willingness to help neighbors and pride in live in a certain property. It’s also crucial in enabling progress. While good will isn’t something that can be easily measured in numbers, anyone with even minimal emotional intelligence can spot its presence or absence. It manifests itself when people show energy, enthusiasm and the right body language.

Those who work with your community should maintain a positive attitude and act like they live there. If there is no good will in your condo association, this creates a negative work atmosphere, where people who work in your community are likely to give little value to their job, show limited enthusiasm and do just the minimum amount of work they can get away with.

 

Good Will With Vendors, Management and Owners

Many people associate the word “business” with money. While profits are indeed an important part of what the business world is all about, relationships are what drive any kind of business venture. In your relationships with vendors, you have to remember that you’re dealing with people above all. By treating them with fairness, compassion and respect, you create good will. Don’t forget that people are a lot more likely to be helpful towards those who treat them well. In the context of a condo association, this could mean a vendor not charging for some extra work or charging a lower price on a large project.

Good will with the management is also important. A condo’s board and management need to be happy to work together if you want your community to be successful. It would be a mistake for a board to treat the management company as inferior to them just because they’re the ones paying them. Instead, create a climate of mutual respect and cooperation.

The owners are a very important group of people you’ll be dealing with. However, most condo associations only have direct interactions with less than ten percent of owners. You will need to approach them the right way. Doing so is actually a lot simpler than you may have thought at first. You will need to be responsive to their needs and communicate clearly and effectively. Be transparent and ensure that you’re always available to discuss their concerns.

Do your best to treat owners with the respect they deserve every time you interact with them. While there may be a few owners with a very unpleasant attitude that never seem to be satisfied with anything and are just a pain to deal with, the majority of condo owners are reasonable people that just want a happy condo life.

Prepare Your Association for Hurricane Season

Prepare Your Association for Hurricane Season

Help Your Community through the Storm

When hurricane season rolls around, it’s a frightening and busy time for many different areas of the country. Homeowners need to make sure that their properties are safe from any potential storm and hurricane damage. This is also important for homeowner’s associations. Hurricane season for an HOA presents specific challenges. To make sure the property and the residents are safe, having a policy that details hurricane season readiness is important. Creating a policy that covers what will happen before, during, and after the hurricane is essential, and it’s relatively easy to do.

Each HOA is different and will have different regulations in place for dealing with hurricane season. It often depends on their location, as well as the size of the complex and HOA. You can’t wait until you hear about an impending hurricane before you try to get the HOA to take action. It has to happen now, when there are no threats. This is the best time to put the policy together and to roll it out to everyone in the community. Those who already have a plan in place should periodically look at it and make any necessary updates.

Involve the Community

Those who are a part of the community need to know about your checklist for pre, during, and post storm activities. People need to know what they should be doing during a hurricane, what type of precautions they need to take, and what parts of the building might be off limits during those times. For example, in extreme weather, people may not be able to use the elevators in the building.

Notify the Residents

Make sure the residents are aware of any potential storms that are coming through the area and that could cause problems and displacement. Place the information on bulletin boards in the community, as well as on the HOA’s website. Also provide procedures for evacuation and what they should do before, during, and after the storm.

In addition, talk with the residents before the storm arrives to learn who will be staying and who will be leaving. This information will come in handy after the storm when trying to locate residents to make sure they are safe. You can look for volunteers as well. They can help you fill sandbags and get the complex ready for the storm.

Consider Digitizing Documents

If you have any records onsite, make sure that they are out of the danger area well before the storm arrives. A good way to eliminate this problem is to digitize the majority of your documents and keep them in the cloud. This ensures their safety.

Get the Common Areas Ready

Consider installing shutters on the windows of the common area. Also remove any furniture and items that are outside and that could blow away in the event of a storm. Find indoor areas for these items. Having fewer potential projectiles outside can help to reduce the damage to the surrounding buildings.

Test the Generator

If you have a generator on the property, make sure you test it to make sure it is in good working order before the storm hits. If the power were to go out, you don’t want to suddenly find out that your generator doesn’t work.

These are some of the simplest and best tips for helping to get an HOA ready for hurricane season so it can come through safely. If you want to know more about ways to improve your HOA, get in touch with us today.

By: PeytonBolin, PL

Responsibilities of a Board Member

Responsibilities of a Board Member

Members of a community association board face many challenges in the execution of their general responsibilities. It’s a hard and sometimes thankless job with many complications:

  • The board members themselves are often volunteers, with plenty of other demands on their time
  • Their “bosses” are their friends and neighbors, living in the same community, creating an environment that can be too casual to be productive
  • And sometimes, these friends and neighbors may have their own assumptions of the roles and responsibilities of a board member, pressuring board members to act outside of their area of authority

That’s why it’s essential to set clear expectations from the outset, in the association’s governing documents. But governance can seem overwhelming to the new board member. So WPM Real Estate Management has developed the following outline of board responsibilities as a guide for all community association boards.

Responsibility #1: Complying with governing documents and state law

It is the board’s responsibility to know, understand and adhere to both the bylaws of the association’s governing documents, as well as the state laws that pertain to association authority. The board must enforce the rules of the governing documents. They often have leeway in determining how fines and other punitive actions are applied.

Responsibility #2: Maintaining shared spaces

General upkeep, repairs and beautification of common areas are all responsibilities of the board. Successful boards work hard to control the costs of maintaining these spaces through strategic planning. One way fiscally responsible boards manage cost is by securing multiple bids for maintenance services. They also conduct periodic inspections in order to catch maintenance issues before they become a more expensive problem. And truly savvy boards map out a plan for replacing aging structures without putting unnecessary last-minute strains on the association’s budget.

Because this is the board’s most visible area of responsibility, board members often find themselves receiving unsolicited advice and a steady stream of requests pertaining to the upkeep of common areas. It can be tempting to cave to the demands of the loudest voices of the membership. However, a good board is careful to prioritize repair and maintenance work based on what is in the best interest of the entire community, and what makes prudent sense from a financial perspective.

Responsibility #3: Creating the budget and collecting homeowners’ fees

Budgeting is obviously imperative. Board members must meet and review past actual costs and reconcile anticipated expenses with the anticipated income from homeowners’ fees.

The board must also be certain to allocate a reasonable cash reserve. These funds are available to cover emergencies, unscheduled repairs and replacements, and revenue lost due to members who fail to pay their obligations.

Finally, it is the board’s responsibility to collect homeowners’ fees. Failure of one member to pay negatively affects the entire association. Therefore, boards are permitted to pursue delinquent members via the means outlined in the bylaw provisions (e.g., liens, personal lawsuits which could include garnishing wages or bank accounts), or in court.

Responsibility #4: Serving the owners in a fiscally responsible manner according to sound business principles

Board members have a fiduciary duty to their homeowners in the same way directors of a publically traded company do to their shareholders. The board has been entrusted with the community’s funds and is expected to manage these funds using sound business judgment. This means that board members will make rational, informed decisions in good faith that provide the maximum benefit to the entire association. Good business judgment is not motivated by personal gain, revenge or other negative intentions.

Responsibility #5: Electing members and recording board business

The board must keep owners aware of its actions which may include posting meeting minutes.  The owners are invited them to participate in the process of electing board members and typically the Board elects their officers.

The responsibilities of board membership can seem daunting to new board member. But making an investment in your community and having an active voice in its success and sustainability offers rewards that more than offset the investment.

By: WPM Real Estate Management

Isn’t the Association a Business, too?

Is your Community Association a business? In many respects, the answer is yes. Most Homeowner Associations (HOAs) and Condominiums are founded as a corporation formed by the property developer as a State requirement of marketing and selling the homes in the subdivision. Once a pre-determined number of HOA lots or Condo units have been sold and a community of Owners has been established, the legal responsibilities of managing the Association are transferred to the Homeowners.

Regardless of who is in control, the legal entity of the Association operates as a not for profit, non-revenue generating business although often with sizeable budgets. Its governance is overseen by a Board of Directors, whose members are elected by the Owners and each Board member holds a fiduciary responsibility to look out for the welfare of the entire community. Further, its goal is to operate according to sound business principles that make the best use of the revenues contributed as fees by homeowners. In many cases, an outside professional firm, such as WPM Real Estate Management, assists the Association with its responsibilities.

At the same time, Community Associations differ from a for-profit business in several important ways. First, their boards are often all-volunteer and comprised of owners who are peers with the other property owners they govern. While not required to, many Board members live within the community, side-by-side with the neighbors about whose affairs they make decisions. And so, Board members need to be especially diligent to make decisions based on sound business principles, not clouded by personal relationships. Further, a Board’s goal is not to create revenue, but to maximize the value of its existing assets: to preserve, protect, and enhance the properties it oversees.

So what is the best way to govern this hybrid organization? Despite the obvious ways that the association differs from a business, it still behooves board members and owners to operate the HOA/Condo according to sound business principles. And according to WPM’s President of Association Management, Barry Yatovitz, that starts with the budget which is approved by the board at the beginning of each fiscal year. Careful attention to monthly and yearly financial statements and their variances from the budget is imperative. Understanding the funds under management is the first step for strategizing current and future planning. And it is precisely that planning (e.g., anticipating the need for upgrades to amenities, replacement of structures, payments to vendors and for professional services) that maintains and adds value to the Association-managed properties.

By: WPM Real Estate Management

What is the Purpose of a Committee?

Members of an association often have tasks that require more in-depth study by a small group. That’s where a committee comes in.

A committee is a body of persons delegated to consider, investigate and take action on tasks that require a small deliberative assembly. Although most homeowners association committees are advisory in their functioning, they increase the ability of an association’s directors to complete tasks efficiently. Committees provide the additional data necessary for decision making by the homeowner association.  Committee participation increases information available to the homeowners and participation in decision making for the association.

So what do committees do?

  • Committees provide the community the ability to prepare for preventative maintenance, future capital improvements, financial or investment planning; architectural review and landscape design. A finance committee frequently has the responsibility to oversee income and expenses, and to ensure the reserve fund is satisfactory. An architectural review committee is charged with approving external changes to individual units and making sure that requests meet the architectural guidelines of the community.
  • Committees can focus on the social aspects of the community. These types of committees are the heart and soul of the community. They provide a night out for many residents that include dancing and music; to group events that take residents off property to enjoy a day at a online casino, cruise ship or concert. A social committee may also offer services to new homeowners by welcoming them and providing them community information that will help them become acclimated to the community.
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    The only problem in online casino is to find such site, which is reliable enough and does not cheat. Therefore, for the gamblers best online casino ranked website is must so that they can put their money on the stake while keeping in mind that they will get profit from it if it is their luck. It is the very first priority of a gambler to find such a site that provides fun and reliability at the same time

A large-scale community that provides a resort style feel, multiple amenities including a restaurant and that could be considered a small city would be more demanding than that of a small condominium with one pool and limited common grounds. Not more important, just more demanding. Where the smaller community would possibly require a finance or landscaping committee, the larger community could quite possibly need 10 or more committees. Add into the equation the lifestyle of the owners. Large scale communities of retirees have varied and different social atmospheres than that of a development made up primarily of families who work full-time and are busy with their children’s sports or school activities outside of the community.

Committees function best when the members work with a unity of purpose.  Cooperation within the committee serves the needs of the entire homeowner association.  In their advisory capacity, committees present their findings in the form of a report to the directors of the homeowner association who have the final responsibility for decisions.  The benefits of committees to the homeowner association is that volunteers from the community bring life lessons, professional experience, education and common sense approaches to the tasks they are given.   Associations should be considered a business and with any business, its size and demands determines its needs.   Committees are an essential part of the process, in order for the association to be a successful business.

Heather C. Price, CMCA®
Director of Management Services
Rampart