Understanding Special Assessments

There’s no way to sugar-coat it: everyone hates special assessments. Getting a notice that you owe more money to the association can not only put a damper on your day but also a dent in your wallet, both of which

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HOA Fees — Hated or Just Misunderstood?

Nearly every homeowner in a condo or HOA has asked themselves at one time or another “What do the HOA fees pay for”. The answer is different for every community but the fact is the average homeowner doesn’t know where

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Making Special Assessments Work: Fixed Incomes, Low Incomes, & Hard Times

For residents on fixed incomes, or those who are already struggling to make ends meet because of a job loss, illness or divorce, any hit to their already-stretched-to-the-max budget can be devastating. So when a board levels an assessment on

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How climate change could affect maintenance fees

Summer 2016 was one of the hottest on record in the Greater Toronto Area, with experts predicting summer temperatures could soar to 44 degrees Celsius by 2050. In this rapidly changing climate, the city’s high-rise buildings are also feeling the

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Follow the Money: Explaining to Residents How Their Funds Are Spent

One of the most common questions homeowners ask board members and community managers alike is, “What are you doing with our money?” Understanding how to answer that question is important for all board members.    Read the article……………

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Why No One Wants To Talk About HOA Fees

The dreaded topic…HOA Fees….  Board members have to determine them, enforce and collect them, and decide when to raise them (the undoubtedly unpopular decision). And homeowners generally don’t like paying them. A recent article by Joe Ducey on abc15.com sites

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3 Tips for Improved Revenue Growth

Your HOA is like any other business, and to succeed, you need to see revenue growth. However, it can be a little hard to figure out how exactly to increase your revenue. For help with more money in your HOA,

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How condo maintenance fees are calculated and spent (ON)

There are more than 2,500 registered condominium corporations in the City of Toronto. While those condominiums may range from skyscrapers made up of apartment-style units to blocks of townhouses, one thing that every condominium corporation has in common is the

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6 Ways to Use Your Budget as a Catalyst for Change

In today’s chaotic world, we are all searching for more meaning – whether it’s in our personal or professional lives, or both. Relevancy is important, and our impact is the measurement of that relevancy.  While I could give you plenty

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Why Are HOA Fees Important?

In Part 3 of this series, we discussed the HOA rules – where they come from and what happens when homeowners don’t obey the rules. If polled, more likely than not, few homeowners could recite a majority of their HOA’s

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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 Mary

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Uncollected Assessments: HOA Budgeting for Bad Debt

For the past 35 years, Lake Superior State University publishes a list of “banished” words and phrases. The annual list includes words and phrases that are misused, overused, and generally useless. The 2010 list includes such gems as “sexting”, “tweet”,

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Exploring how the “The Monthly Assessment” is determined

November’s column generated an interesting and challenging conversation with a reader about his condo’s monthly assessment and how it was determined. Specifically, that conversation related to the recent increase of 23 percent in the monthly assessment, the reason behind the

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15 Helpful Steps to Create a Budget for your HOA or Condo Association

Budgeting for a community association is both a difficult task and a massive responsibility. The process is a marathon, not a sprint. If you wait too long to start budget preparations, you’re adding the burden of last-minute panic to an

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Best Practices for Passing an HOA Budget

First, check your governing documents. These describe the manner in which the HOA budget is adopted each year. In most associations, the governing documents provide that the budget is adopted by the board or by vote of the owners. However,

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Budget Season Is No Time for Wishful Thinking

When preparing budgets, boards should base hard decisions on hard figures.  It’s budget season. The time of year when boards confer with their managers, look to the past as a guide to the future, then make hard fiscal choices. This

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Condo Association Budget Tips for Owners

Condo Association budget season is in full swing. Condo Association Boards and Management are busy developing their budgets for the new year. Ideally they are eliminating waste, identifying high-value projects, and putting enough into reserves. While Boards are hard at

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The Gravity of an Unbalanced Budget

There’s a right way and a wrong way to keep monthly charges low.  Running deficits is no way to run a cooperative or a condominium. It usually leads to shuffling money around – paying off one contract late or shifting

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4 tips for a smoother HOA budget process (NC)

Yes, it’s that time of year again for HOAs. No, not the holidays, it’s budget season! Most HOAs use the calendar year as their fiscal year, and now is the time of year many boards of directors are formulating their

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Budget Approval Motion NOT Needed at Owners’ Meeting (OH)

As community associations hold their annual meetings, boards should be reminded that for most associations, owners do NOT need to approve the treasurer’s report or annual budget. The majority of association Bylaws provide an outline for the annual meeting agenda,

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Four Tips for Condo Association Budgets

Fall is typically the time for developing Condo Association budgets. This is because most Condo Associations run on a calendar year fiscal cycle and most Bylaws require a 30-day Owner comment period. Budgeting is an extremely personal exercise – every

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Budget Time: How much should you charge for assessments?

October officially marks budget season for many community associations across the country. And with budgets comes increases in regular assessments. That means not only is this a bad time for community managers and board members, it’s also challenging to your

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Associations work on annual budgets

Many associations are working on their annual budgets for 2017. Today’s column is devoted to issues that will help both the board and management understand the process.  The budget prepared by the board must set forth with particularity all anticipated

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Condominiums in crisis: Financial troubles put many communities at risk (MD)

For five summers, a tarp has covered the swimming pool at Grand Bel II, a condominium community in Silver Spring that has no money for lifeguards, chemicals or insurance. The Vistas at Washingtonian Woods in Gaithersburg faces $600,000 in repairs

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What Successful Associations Do: Master the Reserve Study

Believe it or not, budget season is upon us again. Each association requires different levels of involvement from their board during the budgeting process. While a professional community association manager will assist you when you’re getting started, it’s important for

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3 Tips to Reduce HOA Fees

HOA fees are necessary to keep the neighborhood running smoothly. However, over time, the fees can continue to increase. Sometimes, these increases are necessary, but sometimes, there are places where spending can be reduced. Check out these three tips for

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Ancillary Income: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Most will agree that the best type of income for the owners is the income that they do not have to pay (outside income). That income of course reduces the assessments they pay to the association. Usually these types of

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The Truth about HOAs: Low Assessments Can Come at a High Price

Another area of effective governance includes setting realistic budgets and funding the reserves. While no one likes making the unpopular decision of raising the assessments, as a board member you are elected to make the tough decisions to promote, maintain,

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What to Do if Your Condo Association Special Assessment Vote Fails

At this point, we’ve discussed the need for a Special Assessment in great detail. You’ve done all of the work, but your Owners rejected your plan. We’ll assume for the sake of this article that the work simply must be

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Budgets & Reserve Studies: Your Best Planning Tools

As the summer months are winding down, TV commercials for school supplies abound and parents are overjoyed with soon-to-be quiet households. It truly is a wonderful time of the year – unless you work in property management. For property managers,

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The Reserve Budget

Many of you are in the process of completing your 2017 operating budgets for your boards/committees/commissions (constituencies). Most operating budgets consist of anywhere between 80-100 individual line items that will guide the association with its operations for the next year.

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Just Dues

One of the unavoidable realities of being an owner at a condominium association is the obligation to pay membership dues. Typically, a condominium’s board of directors will levy an annual assessment based on a budget that has been ratified by

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Budget Chess: Formulating a Strategic Plan for your Association

Once we have completed our annual budgets, held all our meetings, approved the plans and sent out the annual assessment coupons /statements, we can breathe that sigh of relief and look forward to the new year. Hopefully in preparing your

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How to Conduct a Condo Association Special Assessment Vote

For many Special Assessments, you need your Owners to vote with a two thirds majority in order to raise the funds you need to repair your decaying infrastructure. Now that you’ve got your plan and your communications strategy, you now

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In The Black: Explaining Common Condo and Co-op Budget Terminology

Taking care of a condo, co-op or HOA’s budget and finances is a big job. Handling such large sums of money is an important responsibility, and not every unit owner or shareholder has the expertise to do the job well.

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Real-Life Algebra: Homeowners Association Dues Edition

But today, a gift fell into my lap: an actual, solve for x algebra application in daily life. A gentleman from South Florida called my office (I was out) and left a message and also sent an email detailing his

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It’s OK to Raise Fees: Strategic Increases in HOA Dues Can Help Owners, Not Hurt Them

It’s never fun. But creating and managing the budget for your HOA is a responsibility that all boards have to contend with. And setting association dues is part of the deal—sometimes the part that makes you feel unpopular among homeowners.

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The Condo/HOA Budget Has Been Approved, Now What?

You’ve cleared the hurdle of getting the board to approve the new budget, but where do you go from here? There are so many laws governing HOA’s that it is imperative to follow the appropriate steps, especially when it comes

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The Condo Association Special Assessment Process: An Overview

According to one study, approximately 70% of all Associations are underfunded. This means that odds are you live in an Association where there is at least the threat of a Condo Association Special Assessment. If that’s the case, hopefully your

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A checklist for setting condo budget priorities

Some may think of condo budget review as a yawn fest; however, others may spend hours working out the smallest of details. That’s because a budget is basically a financial plan — not sexy, but extremely important in the condominium

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HOA Budget Tips

Before purchasing a condominium, most potential buyers take a good look at the Home Owners’ Association (HOA) dues. Not only can high HOA dues be a deterrent to buying a piece of property, but it can also be a hindrance

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What Homeowner Associations Can Teach Governments About Spending

People in government should take field trips to well-run homeowner associations. To experience fiscal responsibility first hand. To see how elected leaders in some homeowner associations — HOAs — are actually spending public money prudently and efficiently.   Read the article…………..

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Income Streams: Flood Your Association With Money

Money makes the world go round. In an Association, you want money. But money comes, primarily, from your Association members. That means you! If you’ll recall from Finances 101, the primary method for increasing revenues is to raise assessments. While

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How Is Your Homeowner’s Associations Budget Setup?

If the homeowners association that you belong to is like most, it is conducted during the fiscal year, which runs from July through June. With summer sneaking into view on the horizon, now is the perfect time to get prepared

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5 Unique Ways HOA Board Members Can Save Money with Resident’s Help

Are you looking for ways to save money in your homeowners association? After necessary repairs and upkeep, it seems like there’s never enough dollars to get all the jobs done. Your fellow HOA board members all agree that a last

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HOA Board Members:Creative strategies for reducing HOA costs

As all good HOA board members do, they are always looking to help improve the financial situation of their HOA community. Everyone’s first reaction is always to look at the management costs or service provider (landscaper, pool servicing company,etc) and

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Budget Season Tips

With budget season here, it’s time for community associations to review and adjust the budget for the coming year. This task can seem overwhelming to many HOAs, but these tips can help make it as straightforward and painless as possible.

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The budget process and determining your condo fee

The condominium budget is planned annually to cover both operational expenses and payment to a reserve fund for future capital projects.  Generally the trustees and the property manager get together a few months before the fiscal year starts with the

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How to Use Association Funds Wisely

Association funds are the lifeblood of any HOA. They are used to help maintain and run the community. Managing the finances of an HOA can seem complicated, but if the association understands the different types of funds and what they

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Budget? Yeah… I Think We Have a Budget.

As a HOA manager I was often approached by potential clients, at their wit’s end with HOA issues. Often these issues were about financial issues. I would usually ask them about their budget. Far too often I would get a

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