Articles

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

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

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

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.

Posted on Wednesday January 04, 2017 read more

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.

Posted on Friday December 23, 2016 read more

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.

Posted on Wednesday December 21, 2016 read more

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?

Posted on Wednesday December 14, 2016 read more

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.

Posted on Wednesday December 07, 2016 read more

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.

Posted on Friday December 02, 2016 read more

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.

Posted on Thursday December 01, 2016 read more

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.

Posted on Friday November 18, 2016 read more
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