Here you will find some of the latest articles about FirstService Residential in the various markets we serve.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
How to Implement 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.
Active Adult Communities: Not Your Grandma’s Retirement Home
The Baby Boomers, born after World War II, are the largest generation in United States history. The last of them turns 55 in 2019. With their children grown and in their own homes, Boomers are entering an era in which they can do what they please. They are retiring or scaling back on full-time work and it’s their time in the sun. Literally. They may be getting older, but as the first generation of Americans to embrace the fitness craze and eating with longevity and well-being in mind, the Baby Boomers (and Generation X on their heels) are not planning to sit out their golden years in a rocking chair.
Six Ways Board Member Training Creates Successful Communities
When board members volunteer, they’re driven by the desire to enhance their communities. But what happens when good intentions don’t pair up with a board members’ level of expertise or education? It’s important for your board to understand the basics like how to run a meeting in addition to the more complex issues such as insurance liability coverage. To that end, here are some ways board members can become more educated and the benefits of doing so.
Events, Expos and Educational Classes: Why HOA Boards Should Attend
Most homeowners association (HOA) board members are not experts. Board members are well-intentioned, dedicated volunteer-leaders who want to protect the value of their property and ensure their community continues to be a great place to live. Of course, the act of becoming a member of your HOA board of directors doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about how to run an association.
Keeping Your Community on Track During the Holiday Season
Holidays can be a lot of fun when you live in a planned community, condo or co-op. But when you are on your association’s board of directors, they can also be a lot of work. You have to make sure all the prep work is done, decorations are up, vacations are covered and parties are planned. Can a group of volunteers—as dedicated as you may be—possibly get it all done? And do you dare wish to do it with minimal stress, too?
Trends in Amenity Planning and Design for Lifestyle Communities
Amenities continue to rank among one of the most important considerations for prospective buyers at both active adult and multi-generational lifestyle communities across the country. Amenities are highly influential in motivating a homebuyer’s decision about where they ultimately choose to live and also contribute to the overall level of satisfaction among current homeowners. Communities that fall short in meeting buyer expectations or that fail to plan amenities around consumer interests can be negatively impacted in terms of sales, referrals, profitability and reputation of their brand. Homeowner associations, tasked with planning for new amenities and implementation of supporting programming, will have influence on these important variables.
Cyber Security Part Two: Board Member Tips for Keeping Your Community Association Safe
In part one of this two-part series, we discussed the importance of cyber security to your community association and the steps that residents can take to protect themselves and their association. In this article, we look at your board’s responsibility in preventing cyber attacks.
Cyber Security Part One: How Community Residents Can Protect Their Tech
Like it or not, we have become very dependent on our technology. Whether it’s a cell phone, tablet or computer, our devices enable us to stay connected, conduct business and access information anywhere, anytime. Yet as convenient as these devices may be, cyber security is simply not a priority for the majority of tech users—despite the increased prevalence of cyber attacks. In part one of our two-part series, we look at why cyber security is so important to community associations. We also provide important steps that residents in your community can take to protect their technology so that sensitive information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
How to Declutter Your Home Without Losing Your Mind
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff we accumulate. And it’s hard sometimes to figure out how to part with things, what to do with them and where they should go. The experts at California Closets, the leader in custom home storage solutions, have you covered. Follow these tips to declutter your home and even do some good in the process.
Five Tips for Managing a Parking Policy in Your HOA
Parking is one of the most common challenges for homeowners associations (HOAs). It seems, regardless of the type of community, the same parking situations happen to us all. To help keep misunderstandings and violations to a minimum, follow these five tips to manage your HOA’s parking policy.
HOA Elections: How To Make Your Vote Count In Your Community
According to Community Associations Institute, more than 68 million Americans live in 338,000 managed communities. In Canada, approximately one in eight people live in a condominium or strata corporation of some kind, totaling about 1.2 million owner-occupied dwellings as reported by Statistics Canada. Collectively, these homeowners spend tens of billions of dollars to maintain their communities. Each community is governed by an elected board of volunteer homeowners selected through an HOA elections process. Proactive involvement in your community begins with voting for board membership.
The Hottest Trends in High-Rise Amenities for 2017
It’s important to make sure that your high-rise building’s amenities are desirable and reflect the latest needs and wants of current residents, as well as potential buyers. Investing in amenities will have a twofold effect: it will enrich the lifestyles of your homeowners and residents, and it will make your high-rise more marketable and enhance property values. Updating your amenities doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Read on for some of the hottest trends in high-rise amenities and suggestions for staying current with any budget.
What to Consider When Planning Your Community Landscaping
Beautiful landscaping is integral to any community. The right community landscaping can enhance your property values and make the area more enticing to prospective homebuyers and residents. Whether you’re investing for the first time or revamping your community landscaping, here are four considerations to keep in mind when choosing what to plant, when to plant and how to maintain what you’ve planted.