Articles

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

What’s Missing From Your Community Association’s Budget?

Every year about the same time, your community association board is most likely creating its budget for the following year. Learn about seven commonly neglected items in community association budgets that you may be missing.

Posted on Thursday November 30, 2017 read more

Mold: How Should Your Association and Homeowners Handle It?

No one wants to find mold in their home or any association building. Unfortunately, mold is ubiquitous – it’s in the air and in the water, and when given the chance, it spreads like crazy. Learn steps to prevent mold or to have it assessed and properly treated, preserving your buildings and the health of your residents.

Posted on Friday November 10, 2017 read more

How Can My Association Fund Capital Improvements?

Nothing lasts forever…and when it comes time to replace your high-rise roof, community pool or to add new amenities, your association will need to determine how to pay for it. All of these things – significant repairs and replacements, as well as new construction – are considered capital improvements.

Posted on Thursday November 09, 2017 read more

Active Shooter Training: What Should Your Community Do?

More than 1.4 million Americans have been killed by gunfire since 1968. Many of those shootings were accidental; some were suicides; some were at the hands of law enforcement officers in the line of duty. But many were not. Mass shootings, meaning that at least three people were killed by gunfire, have become an almost daily occurrence in the United States, with instances increasing each year since 2000, and many instances becoming more deadly. Thankfully, incidents of violence in community associations are rare, but unfortunately, they do occur.

Posted on Wednesday November 08, 2017 read more

What Is a Balance Sheet? Why Do I Need to Understand Them?

The chief responsibility of a community association board member is to preserve, protect and enhance the community. That includes, above all else, its financial health. But you can’t affect the financial health of your community if you don’t understand where it is when you join the board. Balance sheets are the best tool for gaining that basic understanding.

Posted on Monday October 30, 2017 read more

Why Does Our Association Need an Annual Insurance Review?

You know that your association needs to have the right insurance coverage in place. So you have property coverage, liability insurance, workers’ compensation, directors and officers (D&O) and an umbrella policy in place. Premiums are paid regularly and on time. Did you know that’s not enough?

Posted on Thursday October 12, 2017 read more

Preventing Community Association Fraud: Part Two – Your Property Management Company’s Role

Fraud can strike just about any association – even one that is professionally managed – regardless of how small or large your community may be. However, a good property management company will have checks and balances and other security measures in place to help reduce the risk.

Posted on Monday October 09, 2017 read more

Preventing Community Association Fraud: Part One – The Board’s Role

As a homeowner who lives in an association, you put a lot of trust in the people designated to manage your association’s money. So it can come as quite a shock if you discover that one of those people has been stealing from your association’s funds. Fraud can leave you and your neighbors feeling betrayed and vulnerable.

Posted on Thursday October 05, 2017 read more

What Should My Association Consider When Planning a Budget?

Budgeting can be tough. It requires that boards look at their priorities and the needs and wants of the community, plus the money coming in and going out -- and making it all balance. As an association board member, producing a responsible, effective budget is one of your primary responsibilities.

Posted on Friday September 22, 2017 read more

After the Storms: A Harvey and Irma Update from Our CEO

We have a very long road to recovery ahead for both Texas and Florida, for those of us affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  In the aftermath of the storms, there are tangible examples of our industry leadership, and in particular, why our ability to immediately leverage the depth of resources we have at our disposal is such a powerful differentiator for us.   Here are a few examples of how we leveraged our resources, organization-wide, to ensure seamless service delivery for our clients.

Posted on Thursday September 21, 2017 read more

How Can We Improve Our Association’s Financial Stability?

There’s a lot to love about living in a community with a homeowners association (HOA). The amenities. The sense of belonging. The high aesthetic standards. But none of that happens without stable finances. With that in mind, here’s the bottom line on financial best practices for your HOA.

Posted on Tuesday September 19, 2017 read more

How Can My HOA Create Revenue from Our Community Amenities?

As a board member, your first responsibility to your association is to keep it fiscally fit. Wouldn’t it be nice to find some extra sources of revenue, to be able to make a little more of your operating budget? 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 new activity or expanding a project, improving your residents’ lives and enhancing your property values at the same time.

Posted on Friday September 15, 2017 read more

Why Transparency Matters in Communicating Your Community Association Budget

You’ve done all the homework. Crunched the numbers. Your reserve study is complete, your vendor agreements have been checked and your budget is done! Now what? There’s an entire process to creating the budget, followed by implementing it, and clear communication to homeowners, through every step of the process, is the best way to avoid problems.

Posted on Thursday September 14, 2017 read more

How to Plan an Effective Budget for a Community Association

Preparing your association’s annual budget...it can be a source of stress, but more importantly, it’s a valuable opportunity to ensure the financial well-being of both your association and homeowners. Proper association management hinges on this financial tool for both short-term and long-term planning, so it’s important to follow some guidelines.

Posted on Tuesday August 29, 2017 read more

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
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