Articles

Here you will find some of the latest articles about FirstService Residential in the various markets we serve.
 

Buying a Home in a Community Association: Part Two – Evaluating an HOA’s Health

So your diligent search for that home of your dreams has finally led you to one that fits all your criteria. However, it is in an association, and you have known people who belonged to condo or homeowners associations (HOAs) that were poorly run or financially mismanaged. You love the home, but you don’t know much about the association. Should you buy it anyway and hope for the best? Or is there a way to determine if your future community is well run and economically sound?

Posted on Monday August 07, 2017 read more

Buying a Home in a Community Association: Part One – Dispelling Common Myths

As a buyer, you may wonder whether moving into a community with an HOA is right for you. Perhaps you have heard horror stories from unhappy homeowners or have read about unreasonable boards that bully residents. How common are these events? And are the stories even true? In part one of our two-part series, we untangle the misconceptions and separate the facts from the myths about living in a community with an association.

Posted on Friday July 14, 2017 read more

What You Need to Know About Resale Certificates and Packages

We all know that there’s a lot of paperwork in the home buying process. If the home you want to buy is in a managed community of any kind, a resale package, including your resale certificate and governing documents, is part of that paperwork. Resale certificates and packages offer transparency about the community and whether or not the sellers are current in their financial obligations to the association. The package includes paperwork that protects the buyer and the seller, as well as minimizes financial risk for the association. It’s important to know what goes into a resale package, why you need it and how to get it before you buy or sell your home in a managed community.

Posted on Friday July 14, 2017 read more

How to Boost Your Home’s Value Before You Sell

Your home is likely the single largest purchase you will make and your greatest investment. When you sell it, you obviously want to get the greatest return on that investment. A quick Google search will serve up dozens of articles on the things you can and should do to make the most of your home’s value before you sell. A lot of them have great advice – but there are some things we’d like you to consider as well when looking at what will enhance your property values.

Posted on Friday June 23, 2017 read more

Why Your Community Must Plan for Emergency Communication and Training

Whether you live in a high-rise condominium in Chicago, a homeowners association (HOA) in Houston or an active adult community in Las Vegas, emergencies can happen. Do you think your residents would know where to go or whom to contact in an emergency situation? Does your onsite staff know what to do to protect residents and the community’s property in the event of a major storm like a hurricane, tornado or severe blizzard? How well would they handle a flood, a fire or a violent outbreak?

Posted on Thursday June 22, 2017 read more

Communication to Renters: Why It Matters To Your Association

Does your board and management team communicate to the renters in your community? If no, why not? In communities where renters makeup a significant portion of the residents, they are often overlooked by the people running the community.

Posted on Friday June 09, 2017 read more

Insurance Basics: Protecting Your Community Pool

Swimming pools are one of the most common, and most desirable, amenities in managed communities. Whether your pool is an Olympic-sized fitness lover’s dream, a resort-style oasis or a rooftop paradise, your pool is an important feature for your residents that enhances their lifestyles every day. Pools are also, unfortunately, an accident-prone area. In the event of an incident at your swimming pool, a lack of insurance, or a gap in your insurance coverage, can be devastating to your association’s budget. As a board member, making sure that the proper insurance coverage is in place is part of your fiduciary responsibility to your association.

Posted on Wednesday June 07, 2017 read more

Why a Team Approach to Transition is Best for your Community

Even in the best of times, transitioning from one property management company to another is a work-intensive and stressful process.  Things can go bad quickly if the transition is carried out without the necessary resources and strict attention to detail. To avoid potentially serious financial missteps during a management transition, homeowners associations (HOAs) should consider bringing aboard a management company that provides a team of experts to guide the process.

Posted on Tuesday May 16, 2017 read more

When a Natural Disaster Strikes, Is Your Association Covered?

Hurricanes. Floods. Tornadoes. Hail. Wildfires. Lightning strikes. Earthquakes. Blizzards. Mother Nature has quite the arsenal to throw at us! Unfortunately, every part of North America is subject to one or more of these events. Some, like hurricanes, come with enough advance warning to prepare for them, but most do not. That’s why it is critical to the financial health of your community association to have the proper insurance coverage in place.

Posted on Friday May 12, 2017 read more

Power Outages and Blackouts - How Your Association Can Minimize Risk

Losing power is never fun. But it’s bound to happen at some point, so preparation is the best defense. Obviously, different types of communities are affected by blackouts in different critical ways: high-rises lose their elevators and water; resort-style gated communities lose the ability to operate their gates. For residents, a blackout may be a short-term nuisance. For a community association, it can be a major headache in terms of risk management, safety and potential equipment damage that can provide an unwelcome shock to your budget.

Posted on Wednesday May 10, 2017 read more

Hurricane Plans and Policies: Reduce Your Association’s Risk

Hurricanes can bring tremendous physical destruction and financial ruin to a community association unless policies are put into place to prepare for the storms before they arrive, and to deal with the consequences afterwards. Every board whose association could possibly be impacted by a hurricane must have a hurricane preparedness policy to help maximize safety, minimize risk and ultimately, protect its operating budget too. And just as important as having a policy is communicating the policy to your residents.

Posted on Friday May 05, 2017 read more

Great Communication Makes the Most of Vendor Relationships

Working with vendors is a large part of serving on the board of a managed community. Every community has outside partners for services like landscaping, sanitation, cable and Internet provision, pool maintenance, valet services and more. Open and effective communication among the board, the management company and the vendors employed by the association is an important part of making the most of any community’s operating budget and improving the lifestyles of its residents.

Posted on Thursday May 04, 2017 read more

How to Uncover Savings for Your Condo or Co-op Association with an Energy Audit - Energy Efficiency Part 2

Improving your building’s energy efficiency is good for your budget and for your property values. Getting a professional energy audit is a crucial step on the road toward energy efficiency. It can tell you which upgrades make the most sense for your property and show you potential energy and cost savings.

Posted on Tuesday May 02, 2017 read more

Crystal Vision: Why Communication Between a Board and Management Company Matters

As a board member, you want your community to grow and thrive. Having a vision for your community—the aesthetics of it, its reputation, the kinds of programming it offers and amenities it provides—is critical to its long-term well-being. A well-crafted vision will transcend board and resident turnover and keep your community on track.

Posted on Thursday April 27, 2017 read more

Five Ways Your High-Rise Can Spend Less on Energy Costs

No matter where your high-rise building is located, rising energy costs can have a drastic impact on your community association’s budget. A condominium that spends 40 percent of its operating budget on common-area energy will be affected by even a small spike in price. A 10 percent increase in utility costs means that energy takes a full 44 percent of that association’s budget! Pretty scary, isn’t it? But all is not lost! Conserving energy can help your association save money and optimize your high-rise’s annual budget.

Posted on Monday April 24, 2017 read more

How Condo Associations Can Get Ahead of the Energy Benchmarking Trend - Energy Efficiency Part 1

Is your condominium or co-op association required to report your building’s annual energy usage? If not, and if yours is a mid-rise or high-rise building (50,000 square feet or larger), get ready. Chances are that mandatory energy benchmarking will be coming to your area soon as energy conservation becomes a higher priority for jurisdictions.

Posted on Tuesday April 18, 2017 read more

Communication Impacts Every Part of Your Community: Do You Have a Plan?

Is your community always aware of upcoming events, scheduled construction projects and upcoming board meetings? Do they understand their responsibilities and the policies they need to comply with? Clear, effective communication from the board to the residents makes a difference in the overall well-being of any community. Poor communication, on the other hand, is a real problem that can negatively impact your community’s reputation and even your operating budget and property values.

Posted on Friday April 14, 2017 read more

Managing Community Maintenance and Improvement Needs

Whether your community is self-managed or professionally managed, maintenance is a big part of the day-to-day responsibilities. It’s a responsibility that can quickly become overwhelming, especially when you walk in on a Monday morning to a list of what went wrong over the weekend.

Posted on Wednesday April 12, 2017 read more

How to Turn Community Amenities into Revenue for your HOA

As an HOA board member, your first responsibility to your homeowner association is to keep it fiscally fit. You know how to watch your budget, to negotiate the best pricing with your vendors, and to make sure that assessments and violations are both collected regularly and on time. Those are the basic principles of good association financial management. Wouldn’t it be nice to find some extra sources of revenue? Take a look around – you might be able to generate some cash flow from your existing amenities. You may not find a huge windfall, but you also might be able to cover the costs of running a program or expanding a project.

Posted on Monday March 13, 2017 read more

The Do's and Don’ts of Community Association Warranties

When your homeowners association took control of your community from the developer, a lot of paperwork came with that. Some of the paperwork undoubtedly included a number of warranties. Since then, you have probably collected warranties for a range of products and services your association has purchased. But be honest: How familiar are you with them?

Posted on Friday January 20, 2017 read more
Displaying results 1-20 (of 266)
 |<  < 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10  >  >|