Articles

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

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

How to Apply the Right Criteria to Evaluate Property Management Companies

The homeowners in your association depend on you and other board members to look out for their best interests. That’s why it’s so important to thoroughly research and compare property management companies before selecting the one that will best meet the needs of your community. After all, the choice you make today can impact your property for years to come.

Posted on Wednesday October 04, 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 Annual 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

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
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