The budget process and determining your condo fee

I often hear buyers proclaim that a condo fee is “too high” yet these same buyers seem not to know exactly what determines a condo fee. It is impossible to assess if the fee is “too high” without knowing the

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“You Simply Can’t Get Away Without Maintenance Increases.”

Yesterday we heard from co-op and condo board members who rigorously resist raising monthly charges; today we hear from counterparts who believe that regular raises, though unpalatable, are the only responsible way to handle a board’s fiduciary duties.  “In this

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What to do When Condo Association Assessments Increase

There are only two things certain in life – death and taxes. Unfortunately, Condo fees – also known as assessments – are a form of taxes. They pay for the maintenance and operation of your Association. The key with assessments

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9 Budgeting Tips for a Smoother Financial Planning Process

Community associations are constantly facing the challenge of doing more with less. Quality maintenance services, communication tools, insurance coverage, opportunities for engagement and more always need a place in the budget – but as homeowners demand high levels of service,

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Community Association Budgets: The Art of Guesstimating

It’s that time of year again! Budget season is in full swing in the Community Association industry.  No one likes building a budget, let alone one as complicated as a community budget. The many moving parts of community budget planning

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Handling Special Assessments in Your HOA

Special assessments happen. No matter how well managed an association is, things happen and money reserves can be exhausted, making special assessments necessary. Since it won’t do your community any good to pretend your HOA is above special assessments, we

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3 Common Homeowner Responses to an Increase in HOA Fees

We all have heard the question time and time again, “Why do my HOA fees continue to increase?” Although it may not be news most homeowners want to hear, sometimes an increase in fees is the best way to keep

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What Should You Know About HOA Dues?

According to Realtor.com, the average HOA fee (also known as a due) was between $200 and $300 per month for a single-family home last year. The exact number is dependent on how many community amenities are offered, the size of

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Proactive HOA Budgeting for Your 2018 Capital Improvement Projects

Proactively planning your 2018 capital improvement projects is a key step in your 2018 HOA budget preparation process. First, be sure to carefully prioritize next year’s projects so that the most critical are guaranteed to get done, while the “nice

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Avoid Misunderstandings about Dues

Across the country people are wondering how and where their HOA dues are being used. It’s a good question to ask, but it also one that an HOA board should be able to answer quickly and easily.  To reduce miscommunication

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How to Plan an Effective Budget for a Community Association

Preparing your association’s annual budget…it can be a source of stress, but more importantly, it’s a valuable opportunity to ensure the financial well-being of both your association and homeowners. Proper association management hinges on this financial tool for both short-term

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5 Tips to Keep Homeowner Association Fees Down

If you’re a Board member looking at how to keep fees in a homeowner association down, we have five things you can do to help reduce expenses. Without further delay, here they are:    Read the article…………….

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As summer comes to a close, community associations consider budgets

As summer fades, swimming pools close and school buses appear. It’s time for community association boards and finance committees to hammer out next year’s budget.  Before you lock in numbers, consider the wisdom of industry professionals who know their way

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What You Should Know about Why Homeowner Associations Have Fee Increases

Why homeowner associations have fee increases is not mysterious; here are a few things that everyone should know about it.  The short answer to fee increases is that the cost of goods and services in general increase so naturally the

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Budgeting Best Practices

Preparing the annual budget is one of the Association’s most important responsibilities. The Board has the fiduciary role in establishing a well prepared budget that’s main purpose is to determine what the assessments will be for the upcoming year. Preparing

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What an HOA Board Should Do Now at the Start of the New Fiscal Year

If your homeowners association operates on the fiscal year, then you’re already a month into the new year – Happy New Fiscal Year! Have your fellow HOA board members asked this question: how did we do last year? If not,

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The Importance of Preparing (and Sticking to) an Annual Community Association Budget

It’s budget season! Budgeting can be one of the most tedious tasks for property managers and association board members. Most covenants require a budget and budget disclosure, but there is a vast difference between a hastily assembled and subsequently ignored

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5 Tips about How HOA’s Determine HOA Assessment Rates

There is a lot about the question how are HOA assessment HOA rates determined that you may not know; indeed, here are five tips that everyone should keep in mind regarding this topic.    Read the article………………

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Funding Your Future: Predicting & Budgeting Your Association’s Repairs & Improvements

All community associations require routine maintenance, repairs, and replacement over time to ensure they remain in good condition. The task of ensuring the Association retains sufficient funding to pay for this maintenance, repair and replacement work falls squarely on the

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How to pass a special assessment with less pain

In the language of community associations, the words “special assessment” are among the most heated. No one enjoys being commanded to come up with extra money, but few associations can avoid the occasional levy.  A special assessment is an amount

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Four Condo Association Special Assessment Questions To Determine Project Cost

Having determined the timing of a Special Assessment through your incredible detective skills (powered by http://Bettercondolife.com), the next logical question you’ll want to ask is how much will the Special Assessment cost. Knowing it’s coming is one thing, but its

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Understanding the Why’s Behind an HOA Special Assessment

An HOA special assessment is a fee that is charged to each housing unit within a development, to be used to cover an unexpected expense or other short-term occurrences. Special assessments are charged separately from your HOA fees, and they

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Three Condo Association Special Assessment Questions To Determine Project Timing

An informed and involved Owner will often attend monthly Condo Association meetings. If your Board has been discussing big projects during meetings, you might start to wonder if things are going well or not. Sometimes work is routine, but other

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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

While Boards are hard at work, this is also a great time for involved Owners to review their Association’s budget when it is distributed during the budget comment period.

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The Gravity of an Unbalanced Budget

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 payments among contractors – and it can backfire

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4 tips for a smoother HOA budget process (NC)

North Carolina law requires HOAs to allow the members to review and vote on proposed budgets.

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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?

One thing we have seen time and again is communities that fail to plan their budget properly

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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

This is why a well-researched reserve study is one of the community’s most important investments.

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3 Tips to Reduce HOA Fees

Check out these three tips for reducing HOA fees in your community.

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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).

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