Articles

Here are recent articles about FirstService Residential Minnesota and our impact on the Minnesota markets we serve.  
 

Board Basics: Top Tips for Board Members

Being a board member of your community association is an important role that should not be taken lightly. You have a responsibility to your community members, as a business but also as a neighbor.

Posted on Monday May 22, 2017 read more

Board Basics: The Essential Five People on Your Association Board

It takes a lot to build a great community. You need committed residents, a dedicated board of directors and a clear understanding of everybody’s roles and responsibilities.

Posted on Thursday May 18, 2017 read more

Board Basics: Defining Residents’ Rights and Responsibilities Creates a Happy Community

When it comes to community living, a little bit of knowledge can pay off in a big way. When residents are fully informed about their rights and responsibilities and what they can expect from their homeowners association – including what they’re expected to contribute – it can go a long way towards creating an HOA community that is friendly, efficient, serene and yes, even happy.

Posted on Thursday May 11, 2017 read more

Board Basics: Recognizing and Preventing Conflicts of Interest

The phrase “conflict of interest” tends to get thrown around without much thought, but in reality it can cause real threats to your Minnesota homeowners association if any conflicts go unrecognized. Understanding what the phrase means and knowing how to recognize when these instances may be happening is an important responsibility as a board member and will go a long way toward ensuring the strength and stability of your community.

Posted on Monday May 08, 2017 read more

Board Basics: How to Run an Effective Board Meeting

Community associations operate like a business, which means they must hold regular meetings of their officers (board members) and shareholders (homeowners). So, love ‘em or hate ‘em, board and association meetings are a necessary part of community association governance. 

Posted on Tuesday May 02, 2017 read more

Board Basics: Community Association Terms You Should Know

Have you been elected to your association board? We put together some vocab you will want to be familiar with. We also recommend asking your property management company if additional specific terms might apply to your association.

Posted on Friday April 28, 2017 read more

HOA Audit & Reviews: The Differences, Requirements & Responsibilities

Is your association considering a financial audit or review, but aren’t sure how or where to begin? Michael Mullen, of Michael P. Mullen, CPA, explains the difference between the two, outlines the legal requirements per the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act (MCIOA) and clarifies the responsibilities between a property management company and a Board.

Posted on Monday March 20, 2017 read more

HOA Fees - What are they and what do they cover?

When you purchase home in a community association, you are automatically a member of that association. As a result, you’re required to share in the costs of maintaining and operating the association and everything that makes the community great, like all the common areas and amenities and shared services.

Posted on Friday March 10, 2017 read more

Tips to Maintain Your Minnesota HOA Finances

Maintaining the health of your Minnesota community homeowners association’s finances is similar to the way you keep yourself healthy: make good choices, don’t overindulge and exercise good judgement. 

Posted on Wednesday March 01, 2017 read more

A Minnesota Guide to Sighting and Fighting Mold

The bane of every homeowner: unsightly, unsanitary, and unbecoming sight of mold. As Minnesotans, we experience intense rain in summer months and fast thaws in the spring, both of which can lead to extra moisture in and around our homes. If you suspect mold in or near your home take into consideration a comprehensive strategy rather than jumping right into the battle. We’ve got the tips you’ll need to get rid and keep mold away.

Posted on Thursday February 16, 2017 read more

Common Drainage Problems Your Community May Face

Before we know it, spring will be here and with that can come a fast melt from Minnesota’s winter months. Melting snow and spring showers bring excess water and that may lead to drainage issue in your community association.

Posted on Thursday February 09, 2017 read more

Community Insurance - Four Key Points You Should Know

It’s crucial that Minnesota community association Boards have a clear understanding of the community insurance policy in place at their association. All associations will have different requirements for their homeowner association insurance coverage as laid out in their bylaws and declarations, and Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the best interest of their HOA and its owners.  In addition to this upholding duty, associations are also under pressure to find the least expensive homeowner association insurance options available.  But there is a caveat – like most things, community insurance is a buyer beware situation – not all policies are created equal, and if you overlook certain types of coverage, it could end up costing the association more than anticipated.

Posted on Monday February 06, 2017 read more

How to Manage Insurance Renewal in your Minnesota Homeowners Association

Your association’s insurance renewal can be lengthy, drawn out, time consuming and always seems to come down to the wire. Having a clear, laid out plan to help steer the process will keep you, the entire board, and most importantly your association in the best position to obtain quality proposals in a timely manner for a job well done.

Posted on Tuesday January 31, 2017 read more

Foreclosures, Collections and Property Values

The Twin Cities real estate market is enjoying a welcomed period of prosperity, and a topic not often making headlines is foreclosures.  At some point in the future, this nasty word may again join the common vernacular of any real estate conversation, though it’s debatable to what degree and how soon. It is important, however, to reflect on the effect these so called ‘distressed’ properties have on Twin Cities communities so we can be more prepared for the next time we experience a declining market.

Posted on Wednesday January 25, 2017 read more

HOA Collections: Is Your Minnesota Community Being Proactive?

If only everyone paid their assessments on time every time…well, let’s just say we wouldn’t be writing this article. Regular assessments are what fund the operating expenses for your association, and if some homeowners don’t pay, it negatively affects everyone.

Posted on Friday January 06, 2017 read more

A Guide to Prevent Holiday Decorations from Snowballing Out of Control in Association Maintained Communities

No matter what the holiday or celebration may be, your HOA board needs to make sure that residents don’t run amok with their decorating. How can you establish—and enforce—decorating policies without putting a damper on your community’s festive spirit? Here are four tips for letting residents express their holiday creativity while keeping them from going “hog wild.”

Posted on Tuesday December 20, 2016 read more

Tips for Minnesota Snow Birds. How to Protect Your Home During Winter Vacation

Once the weather starts to cool and temperatures begin to plunge, we often begin thinking of a winter getaway. The easy part about leaving Minnesota is deciding what to pack, but the job that a lot of people don’t put as much focus on is winterizing and protecting your home while you’re away.

Posted on Monday December 05, 2016 read more

What Are Reserves, Why Are They Important and How Minnesota Associations Should Budget for Them

Reserve components are Association maintained major property components with a determinate useful life.  The analysis of the reserve components results in accurate and supportable annual reserve fund contributions.

Posted on Friday November 18, 2016 read more

Evaluating Potential Vendors

When your association hires a vendor, it could either be the best decision you ever made, or the worst; the stakes are high. A good vendor will execute your vision on time and on budget, whereas a not-so-good one can be the source of bad workmanship, unexpected delays, inconvenience, a whole lot of headaches, and could end up costing you more in the long run.

Posted on Tuesday November 15, 2016 read more

What's Your Association's Maintenance Style?

Maintenance issues are something every Twin Cities community association deals with, whether it’s damage caused by a harsh Minnesota weather or regular upkeep, on average, maintenance can account for 25% or more of your association’s overall expenditures.

Posted on Friday October 28, 2016 read more
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