Telling the Story of Community Association Insurance

Most condominium association residents are likely to have little or no understanding of the insurance that protects the association in which they reside. Let’s face it; there just isn’t a lot of glamour in discussing deductibles, coinsurance, liabilities and such that make up the community association insurance story. Telling the story of your community’s insurance coverage is going to be a challenge but if done properly, can yield a wealth of rewards. Start with the basics. Every resident needs to know that the community has insurance and that the insurance covers certain elements which the entire community owns in common. Every resident also needs to know that community association insurance… Read More

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Commit to Unit Owner Education. Reward Yourself with a Better Community!

For years, I have been writing about the importance of communication as it relates to community association living. I have stressed how important it is that you tell your story well and that you tell it often. Condominium newsletters, HOA newsletters, letters, websites and any other tools used to communicate need to educate readers about what is happening within their associations and why. There has never been a time when communication and education efforts between Board Members, Property Managers, and unit owners have been more important. Community Association Volunteer Leaders at many events that I attend often indicate that there seems to be a vacuum of education between Board Members… Read More

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Elected to the Board… Now, What?

You’ve been an active community member for a few years. You served on a Committee or two and shown you have the right stuff to be a community leader. A neighbor who already serves on the Board suggested that you should run for a vacant seat. You finally decided to raise your hand at the Annual Meeting and volunteer to serve on the Board of your condominium or HOA. Enough of your fellow unit owners voted for you and you are now on the Board. Congratulations! Now, what? If you think it is simply enough to “do your best” while serving on the Board, you may be in for a… Read More

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Dear HOA: There is No Fun in Dysfunction

Several years ago I authored an article, When Worlds Collide, which outlined how Board members are often out of touch when it comes to the compensation and replacement value of an onsite manager.  In short, Board members use what I call “The Association Metric” in determining remuneration, as opposed to the “Executive Replacement Metric,” which is what the market uses. The Association’s Metric is almost solely based on the Association’s current and past experiences with onsite managers; it is colloquial and subjective and usually is based on: a) What we now remunerate our manager; b) What ‘type’ of manager we currently have; c) Other factors that affect the thought processes… Read More

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Focused Problem-Solver or Miserable Multi-Tasker?

How you think about this could change how you process your job. Look in any job posting for a community manager and you will see as a part of the description: “Must be able to multitask.” Now, that seems like one of those “duh!” things, because everyone knows all community managers absolutely must be able to multitask otherwise they would drown in the sea of endless paperwork, problems and deadlines, right? WRONG. Stick with me here, and I’ll show you what I mean. The term “multitasking” as we use it today is defined as “the handling of more than one task at the same time by a single person.” It… Read More

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Non-Compete Agreements in the World of Community Association Management

Non-compete agreements increasingly have become the topic du jour among both CEOs of community association management companies and community managers. CEOs feel that such agreements are essential to protect their respective company’s client base, financial viability, intellectual property and confidential information from predatory practices of former employees. At the same time, CEOs and associations want to be able to hire the most qualified managers who best fit the company’s or community’s culture, without hiring restrictions imposed by non-compete agreements. Managers feel that non-compete agreements limit their options to earn a living. Is this a black-and-white issue, or is there a middle ground that protects both manager and management company? This… Read More

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Volunteers R.O.C.K.!

Volunteers R.O.C.K.! Rally to Optimize Community Karma By Margey Meyer, CMCA, PCAM President and CEO, CADRExperts LLC Community Association Dispute Resolution Experts “Common areas do not automatically create a sense of community. Nurturing the community spirit is probably the greatest challenge facing community associations today.”—CLIFFORD TREESE, CPCU, ARM, CIRMS and community association guru extraordinaire So, how can an association nurture community spirit? Through its volunteers! This article will offer a few thoughts on how to encourage volunteerism and some ideas on fostering community spirit. First, the basics. If you’re a manager fortunate enough to work with a developer when the community is but a gleam in his or her eye,… Read More

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Life Isn’t Fair – But Funding Plans In A Reserve Study Should Be…

Fairness is a concept a reserve analyst must consider when developing a financial strategy for a community. It’s one of the basic concepts outlined in National Reserve Study Standards which was published by the well-respected Community Associations Institute in 1998 and is an extremely important consideration when providing the most tailored options(s) available to a community.  1. What is fairness? Fairness refers to adequately dispersing the reserve allocation expenses to the membership over time in an equal and stable fashion. This can be challenging as expenses occur irregularly and often seem to come due all at once in “Peak Years”; when several of the larger expense common areas meet the… Read More

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Functional Obsolescence – What is it and should we consider it in a Reserve Study?

Functional Obsolescence:is a reduction in the usefulness or desirability of an object because of an outdated design feature, usually one that cannot be easily changed. The term is commonly used in real estate, but has a wide application. Common interest communities, country clubs and private membership clubs of all sorts have common areas which are shared and utilized by the dues paying members and their guests. These common areas typically include recreation buildings, workout rooms, swimming pools, BBQ, areas all of which deteriorate with time and use. With respects to replacement reserve studies we are concerned with the adequate funding for these common areas over a long period of time… Read More

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Approval With FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac – The 10% Rule

In recent years lending institutions have become much more restrictive in approving and/or insuring loans for common interest communities. The FHA approval list has fallen by about 50% over the past 4-5 years. This has been due to a variety of reasons including new more restrictive reserve allocation requirements, owner occupancy standards and extensive documentation requirements. Impact on Market Appeal It has been our experience than many projects have seen declining marketability as financing options have dried up for Buyers. With rising real estate markets across the country this typically means the units in these community are seeing increases at a lower rate than units in communities which are approved… Read More

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