Articles

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

What Your HOA Needs to Know About CC&Rs

As part of a homeowners’ association (HOA), you’ve probably heard the phrase “CC&Rs” tossed around quite a bit. For a lot of us, the term is just a cluster of letters with no concrete meaning. But the truth is that CC&Rs can have a real impact on how you live. Let’s take a look at CC&Rs – what they mean, why they matter, and how they affect you.

Posted on Wednesday July 13, 2016 read more

How Your HOA Board Can Ensure Great Communication

Great communication is more than just loose talk, especially when it comes to homeowners, HOA board members and property management companies exchanging information, thoughts and ideas. When communication is done well, challenges get faced, questions get answered and community spirit becomes stronger. So what goes into that mix for good communication?

Posted on Thursday July 07, 2016 read more

How HOA Boards Can Influence Public Policy

As a member of your HOA board, you know the value of your association. It serves an essential function for creating rewarding lifestyles for residents, protecting and enhancing property values, and much, much more. And yet some legislators and decision-makers aren’t as familiar with these benefits as you are. Unfortunately, sometimes these are the individuals that have a hand in creating the policies and laws that directly affect communities, associations, and residents. We’ve paired that insight with information from our own experts to arrive at five key areas of focus when it comes to how HOA Boards can influence public policy. Here they are.

Posted on Thursday June 30, 2016 read more

Three Factors Influencing the Future of Community Association Management

As a profession, community association management is relatively young; it goes back about 50 years. But in that short time, it has made great strides—and so have the communities who have benefited from professional, skilled management teams.   But what does the future hold for this profession, and how will it influence how community members live? The trade organization Community Associations Institute (CAI) put their publication, Common Ground, to work to find some answers to this question. They brought together industry experts to weigh in on the matter. FirstService Residential has also been at the forefront of looking to the future in this growing industry.

Posted on Monday June 27, 2016 read more

Community Swimming Pool Resurfacing: What Your Board Needs to Know

Your pool is a source of fun for all of your community’s residents. Yet when it comes time to resurface it, it can quickly become a source of headaches. Knowing the facts about your pool resurfacing options can help minimize the hassle – and ensure your community enjoys a quality pool experience for years to come. The best decision is an informed decision. An excellent community association management company will be experienced in this area and can weigh in with some really good insight – and make a recommendation for a reliable pool specialist, too. But before you get to that point, you can start with these pros and cons. 

Posted on Friday June 17, 2016 read more

How to Save on Summer Energy Costs

Summer’s longer days mean more time to enjoy warm weather and sunshine, but they also mean higher energy bills. There is a bright side, however: by implementing an energy management program within your community, you can help keep costs down without sacrificing comfort.  

Posted on Thursday June 16, 2016 read more

Community Swimming Pool Safety: Six Things Your Association Should Remember

Summertime is swim time, and for the most part, it’s a full immersion into carefree fun. But without the right swimming pool safety practices, your residents could be at risk. And when you consider the sheer number of pools and swimmers in North America, safety becomes even more important. Swimming is the most popular recreational activity for children and teens ages 7 to 17 in the U.S. They have ample opportunities, with 10.6 million pools in the country. In Canada, there are around 1.1 million pools. The most recent studies available place swimming as the third most popular sport of choice in that country, trailing only extremely popular mainstays like hockey and golf. Clearly, swimming pool safety is paramount. Here are some tips to keep in mind all summer long.

Posted on Wednesday June 15, 2016 read more

Six Essential Elements to a Great Community

Good community living looks easy. People are smiling. Residents are enjoying amenities. And the neighborhood or building looks amazing. But behind all this, there’s a lot of hard work. So who, exactly, is responsible for creating the kind of place people love to call home? And how does it all come together? Well, those answers are what we’re here for. Let’s take a look at the essential elements that need to come together to create a great community.

Posted on Tuesday June 14, 2016 read more

The Future of Community Association Governance

What does the future hold? Unfortunately, not the jet packs and flying cars we all thought we’d have, but there are important changes in practice and perspective in store for community association governance. To get at the heart of these upcoming changes and trends, Common Ground, an official publication of Community Associations Institute (CAI), brought 50 experts, members and stakeholders together to paint a picture of the future. The results from this panel have been published in the March/April 2016 edition of this publication. We’ve summarized the high points for you in this article, and we’ve added some insight from FirstService Residential, too.  

Posted on Thursday June 09, 2016 read more

How to Protect Your Home from a Wildfire - Landscaping and Prevention Tips

Wildfires continue to be a constant and deadly threat across the U.S., and the risk intensifies as soaring summer temperatures, strong winds and even drought conditions affect parts of the country. From January through July of this year, over 35,000 blazes have scorched 5.6 million acres – and many of these blazes got personal, destroying people’s homes as they continued their dangerous spread, stoked by high winds and feeding on parched grass, trees and shrubs for tinder.

Posted on Wednesday June 08, 2016 read more

Simple Tips to Help Your Community Members Plan for Summer Vacation

Summer is a great time to hit the road! Travelers will be taking advantage of the warm weather to go to beaches, campsites, on cruises, and more. With so many options, there is a lot to plan for to make sure this summer vacation is one to remember.

Posted on Thursday June 02, 2016 read more

Why Property Management Certifications Matter

The last time a property manager handed you their business card, you may have noticed a sort of alphabet soup after their name. Acronyms like CAM, CPM, ARM and others are used to designate certifications for property management professionals who have achieved a level of education or expertise.

Posted on Friday May 27, 2016 read more

Why Preparation for This Hurricane Season is Important for Your Community

Is your community prepared to weather a storm? June 1st marks the beginning of the 2016 hurricane season running through November 30th. The National Weather Service reports that, of an average of 12 tropical storms that form over the Atlantic Ocean each year, six become hurricanes. In the Central Pacific, an average of three tropical storms form, with two escalating to full-blown hurricane status. Figures like these make hurricanes a very real threat for many communities and homeowners.   In fact, 2016 promises to be anything but your average year. Let’s take a look at why you may want to approach this year in a way that’s as unique as the weather conditions themselves.

Posted on Thursday May 19, 2016 read more

Nine Ways Your Association Can Build Community Spirit

Community spirit: that intangible thing that binds associations together. But building it happens in very tangible ways. Best of all, it’s not as daunting as you might think. A tightly knit community can be created by having your association follow just a few simple steps. Let’s go over some of those ideas right here.

Posted on Wednesday May 18, 2016 read more

HOA Law - Take Action with Your Legislature Now

More than 85% of officials in state legislatures are up for re-election this year. So what does that mean to you as a board member or resident in a condo or homeowners’ association (HOA)? And how does this affect HOA law? There are a variety of initiatives on the table across the nation that will significantly impact community associations. In this article, we’ll take a look at what those issues are – and most importantly, how you can impact HOA law.

Posted on Thursday May 12, 2016 read more

Ways to Provide Reasonable Accommodation by Creating a Fair Living Space

Are you familiar with the term “fair living space”? If you’re not, you should be – it can have a profound effect on your community, your association and your residents. A fair living space involves providing an environment in which people with disabilities enjoy the necessary accommodations in their homes and community amenities. It’s really all about access, and something the law calls “reasonable accommodation,” which means “a change, exception, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice or service.” While the law may require you to make some accommodations, there are other things your association may be able to do which can further enhance the lifestyle of those who reside in your homeowners association. While it will directly and positively impacts the quality of life for those residents with challenges and disabilities, it will also positively impact the overall image of your community.

Posted on Monday May 09, 2016 read more

A Fresh Approach to Community Preventative Maintenance

While community preventative maintenance keeps systems running in a way that keeps future problems from happening, predictive maintenance entails using existing data to determine when systems might fail. Creating your community preventative maintenance schedule will help you budget for these occurrences – and eliminate most of those nasty surprises. Here’s how you can do it.

Posted on Wednesday May 04, 2016 read more

Checklist for a Pain-Free Move

You’re moving! That means an exciting new beginning. It also means a lot of work. But no need to stress out – following a simple checklist can prevent those moving migraines. One thing you’ll want to keep in mind: starting as soon as possible is the best policy. Good planning early on will save you some real heartache later. And though we’ve created a timeline that starts at two months out, your home closing may happen in as little as 45 days – just be sure to start the first items on the checklist as soon as you possibly can.

Posted on Friday April 29, 2016 read more

What to Consider When Filling an HOA Board Vacancy

You've gone from a fully functioning homeowners association (HOA) board to a leadership group with a gaping vacancy. This hampers productivity, causes confusion, and at its worst, may create worry amongst your association members. But not to fret. HOA Board turnover happens. And if managed correctly, you can fill the opening and get back to business in short order. Below are some tips to help you through the process of filling an HOA Board vacancy.

Posted on Tuesday April 26, 2016 read more

How Your HOA Can Make Your Community Pet Friendly

Before deciding that pet amenities are right for your community, find out if your residents even want them. How many residents actually have pets? Will most residents be willing to appropriate space and money for these amenities? Depending on your unique needs, constraints, and level of interest, here are five suggestions for making your community more pet-friendly.

Posted on Friday April 22, 2016 read more
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