Do you know what it takes for your condominium community to continue to be an attractive place to live and to remain competitive in today’s market? It requires a board that understands the importance of staying relevant. If you have been a member of your condo board for some time, it’s natural that this might not have been a high priority. Most likely, you and the other board members have been following a tried and true process, even functioning on auto pilot in some areas.
However, becoming complacent can hurt your community. It is crucial that your board knows what other communities in Alberta are doing these days—and when it’s time to change things up. Staying relevant takes a concerted effort, but it can play a major role in ensuring your community’s continued success. Here we provide five tips to help keep your community relevant.
  1. Encourage diverse viewpoints by board members.
Having a well-rounded board made up of people from different backgrounds and with a variety of opinions keeps ideas fresh. You’ll get a wider range of perspectives, which can invigorate the community by providing deeper discussions and a more thorough examination of projects and decisions. For example, a board member with a finance background will probably look at a landscaping project much differently than someone with a design background. Together they might generate ideas that neither would have come up with alone, and this can inject new life into the community.
Notice the kind of feedback you get from residents at meetings and other events. Someone who provides unique ideas may be interested in serving your condo community and could breathe new life into your board.
  1. Tap into your management company’s experience.
Working with a condominium management company provides you with a valuable asset. Because of its experience with a variety of communities, the company has seen it all. As a result, your community manager can keep you informed about what other condo boards are doing in their communities. Your manager also understands your unique needs and can offer advice and ideas customized to your particular situation.
  1. Keep the property and structures current.
Remember that there are many options for townhouse and apartment living in Alberta, especially around Calgary and Edmonton. Neither existing residents nor prospective buyers want to live in a community that looks old and out of date. As your community ages, make sure to keep up with repairs and to implement updates that keep it looking fresh and current. Some possibilities include:
  • Repainting with a more modern color palette
  • Changing your landscaping to reflect current trends, such as planting more native species of trees and shrubs designed for Alberta’s climate
  • Catering to current interests by hosting wine tastings, a farmer’s market or a movie night, which can also increase residents’ sense of community and positive feelings
  1. Re-examine your policies.
Although it is common for boards to become comfortable with the way things have always been done, policies can become outdated. Do your policies continue to serve the community’s best interest? Have your architectural policies become archaic? Reviewing your policies regularly can ensure that the way the community and the board operate continues to be appropriate and relevant for your residents.
  1. Make sure you have an adequate reserve fund.
Your reserve fund is there so that you can cover expensive replacements and repairs that you anticipate needing down the road. For example, the high cost of replacing your roof or your heating system will be more manageable if you have a healthy reserve fund. Without adequate reserves, you will need to introduce special assessments to pay for major projects, which can anger residents and deter potential buyers.
If you are not sure whether your reserve fund is adequate, or if it’s approaching the five year limit since your board has requested a reserve fund study, now would be the time to hire a specialist to conduct one. Your condominium management company can help you find a specialist with the right experience.
These five tips are just a few of the ways your board can keep your condo community relevant for today’s homeowners. Applying them will help make it a place where residents want to remain and where potential buyers can see themselves living.
Want more ideas for keeping your community relevant? Contact FirstService Residential, Alberta’s leading condominium management company.
Monday October 24, 2016