Articles

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

Leaving for Winter Vacation? Five Tips to Protect Your Home While You’re Away

What’s your dream winter vacation?  According to recent statistics, when temperatures plunge, the four most popular vacation choices, in order, are beach vacations, sightseeing tours, casinos and ski trips.  But no matter whether you plan to pack your bathing suit, walking shoes, ski parka or lucky rabbit’s foot, there’s one thing that should always be part of your vacation planning – ensuring home protection while you’re away.

Posted on Tuesday January 12, 2016 read more

Happy New Year! Five Tips to Keep Your Pets Party-Safe

For many people, New Year’s Eve is the biggest party of the year.  But before you pop that champagne cork or put on your best party hat, think about your four-legged friends – and how your gala plans may affect them.  Fireworks and other noisy celebrations make many pets scared and anxious, and sadly, many shelters report an increase in lost dogs and cats this time of year.

Posted on Wednesday December 30, 2015 read more

Who are My Neighbors? Six Tips for Making Friends During the Holidays

For many of us, the holiday season can feel like a continuous run on a treadmill of work/shop/repeat – with a few parties and social engagements sprinkled in just to spice things up – and complicate your schedule.

Posted on Monday December 28, 2015 read more

Lifestyle Expert Previews Amenity Trends for 2016 and Beyond

Location, location…amenities?  As we told you in a previous article, the desirability of a community’s lifestyle amenities is becoming highly influential in driving the purchasing decision for many homebuyers.  To rise to the challenge – and set themselves apart from the competition – many developers, builders and community associations are adding the next generation of amenities to their lifestyle communities, high-rises, condo buildings and other residential properties.  And it’s working.  By adding and/or updating their amenities to reflect evolving tastes, communities are effectively meeting the aspirations and demands – and enhancing the lifestyles – of potential and existing homeowners.

Posted on Tuesday December 22, 2015 read more

Fire Safety Tips for High-Rise and Condo Buildings

For many people who live in high-rise or condominium buildings, nothing else compares to vertical living – after all, where else can you find the same combination of dramatic views, convenient location, on-site amenities and attentive service?  But what about fire safety?  If you’re a high-rise or condo resident, do you know how to prepare your family for fire – and what to do if fire breaks out?

Posted on Tuesday December 15, 2015 read more

So You Want to Become a Property Manager or Community Association Manager

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Like many children, you may have dreamed of becoming a doctor, teacher, firefighter, pilot, basketball player, ballerina or policeman.  Maybe you wanted to be a movie actor, astronaut, rock star or even the president.  But we’re guessing there are a few professions that probably didn’t make your short list… property manager or community association manager (CAM).    

Posted on Wednesday December 09, 2015 read more

Experts Say Community Amenities and Lifestyle Programs Drive Home Buying Decision

Homebuyers are motivated to buy a new home and move to a new community for a wide variety of reasons – perhaps a desire to downsize, upsize, relocate closer to family and friends, or enhance their quality of life.  And when it comes to which new home and community to choose, there are nearly as many variables to consider, such as cost of living, location, layout and the quality of the community association and professional management company, to name a few.  But while those factors will always be important, there are two additional considerations that, for many people, are even more compelling – community amenities and programs for lifestyle communities.  

Posted on Wednesday December 02, 2015 read more

Vendor Management Tips to Help HOAs Get Great Results

If you’re a community association Board member, you know that keeping your community running smoothly, operating effectively and looking aesthetically pleasing is a team effort.  And for most homeowners associations, that team consists of trusted vendors and service providers to help you get those jobs done – and get them done right.  But part of that process includes managing the vendors you’ve hired – and if your HOA has hired multiple vendors to provide a variety of services, it can be hard to juggle multiple contracts, timelines, payment obligations, contacts and other important details at the same time.  Need some help to keep all of those balls in the air?  Here are some tips to manage your community’s vendors more effectively – and get the results you’re looking for.  

Posted on Monday November 23, 2015 read more

Tips to Help Your HOA Winterize Your Community

It’s that time of year again – there’s a noticeable nip in the air, trees are losing their leaves and stores are starting to display their holiday swag.  That can only mean one thing – winter is right around the corner.  If your HOA is located in an area affected by wintry weather, we probably don’t need to remind you about last year’s Arctic-level freeze.  Some of the coldest-ever temperatures were recorded in many parts of the country – and if you heed the predictions in the Old Farmer’s Almanac, you know that this year promises to be even more frigid.  Is your community prepared to handle the upcoming chill?  Here are some tips to help your homeowners association winterize your community, no matter what surprises the season may bring.    

Posted on Friday November 20, 2015 read more

Four Things Your Association May Not Know About Community Insurance

How much do you know about community association insurance?  Every community’s bylaws and declarations include requirements to provide homeowners association insurance coverage, and Board members have a fiduciary duty to protect the best interest of their HOA and owners.  Additionally, associations are under pressure to find the least expensive homeowners association insurance options available.  But there is a caveat – in community insurance, as in most things, buyer beware – not all policies are alike, and if you neglect certain types of coverage, you may end up paying a much higher price. 

Posted on Monday November 16, 2015 read more

Active Adult Communities – Tips to Help you Choose the Right One to Meet Your Needs

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 76.4 million baby boomers were born between the years 1946 – 1964 – and in a few years, they’ll all be 55 or older. With their vibrant lifestyles and dedication to health and fitness, today’s active adults are more dynamic and full of life than any generation that preceded them – so dynamic, in fact, that many are choosing to move into communities that better fit their lifestyles. And no matter whether they’re looking to downsize or live large, enjoy retirement or move closer to work, soak up the warmth in a resort-like setting or go cosmopolitan and move to a big city, many people 55 and over are finding what they’re looking for in active adult communities.

Posted on Wednesday November 11, 2015 read more

How to Choose the Right Community Banking Program

Board members have a fiduciary duty to protect the financial interests of both their homeowners association and fellow residents – and that includes ensuring that their HOA’s operating and reserve funds are properly managed, invested and protected.  

Posted on Thursday November 05, 2015 read more

Hiring Vendors? Legal Issues for HOAs to Consider

Your Board of Directors oversees the many day-to-day tasks required to operate and maintain your community…but they can’t do it alone. Over the course of the year, your homeowners association will hire vendors to provide a variety of services to keep your community running smoothly, such as exterior painting, plumbing, electrical, landscaping, tree trimming, equipment repair, exterminating, pool maintenance, street repair, and more. And then there are capital improvements, unforeseen events or emergency repairs — yeah, you’ll need vendors to take care of those, too.  

Posted on Monday November 02, 2015 read more

How HOAs Can Use a Social Media Strategy to Strengthen Community Engagement

Social media can be a phenomenal marketing and communications tool for your homeowners association and community – a great way to inform residents, build relationships, keep them connected and strengthen their loyalty.  But what may be surprising is that using it effectively involves a whole lot of social media strategy. 

Posted on Wednesday October 28, 2015 read more

Scary Fun: Halloween Safety Tips for Your Family and Community

October 31 is quickly approaching, and little ghosts, ghouls and goblins are no doubt already thinking about the candy windfalls to come. But before your children and their friends haunt your homeowners association shouting “trick or treat,” it’s essential to take precautions to keep everyone safe.

Posted on Thursday October 22, 2015 read more

Why Career Changers Should Consider Property Management Careers

Okay, so you’re unhappy with your job responsibilities, salary, industry, advancement potential or anything else, and you’ve decided to change your career.  That decision may not have been an easy one – or maybe it was – but the upside is a chance to transition to a more rewarding position, profession and industry… or maybe all three.  

Posted on Wednesday October 21, 2015 read more

Creating an Effective HOA Committee that Benefits Board Members

Success by committee – you may have heard the expression, but do you know how homeowners association committees can help Board members achieve success?  Let’s start with the basics, a committee definition:  an HOA committee is comprised of homeowners who analyze issues and help make recommendations to help reduce Board members’ responsibilities.

Posted on Tuesday October 13, 2015 read more

Winter Pipe Safety Measures

So winter’s coming...and you’ve got a watchful eye on driveways, roofs and other essential areas. But don’t forget about one of the most freeze-sensitive parts of your buildings and systems: pipes.

Posted on Saturday October 10, 2015 read more

Fire Prevention Week: Tips to Keep Your Family Safe at Home

October 4–10 is Fire Prevention Week, so now’s the time to take stock and eliminate potential fire hazards in your home – after all, being aware of possible risks and taking steps to correct them can go a long way toward keeping your family safe.  If your HOA or community association distributes fire safety information, be sure to familiarize yourself with the materials and put any prevention tips into practice. You can also consult with a good property management company for proven fire safety insights and advice.  But since we’re right in the middle of Fire Prevention Week, we asked Morgan Lepson, a property manager at FirstService Residential in Maryland, for some proven tips.

Posted on Thursday October 08, 2015 read more

12 Tips for Efficient Community Construction Project Management

So your homeowners association is going to undertake a construction or improvement project for your community. That can be exciting – and more than a little daunting, too. The construction project management process can be fraught with complications and frustrations – after all, with so many moving pieces, there are a number of things that can go wrong.  To smooth your way, you can consult with an experienced property management company to obtain proven guidance and advice.  But to get started, we’ve put together a dozen pointers to help your community construction project build towards success.  

Posted on Monday October 05, 2015 read more
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