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Real Estate Advice: The conundrum over condo assessments

Q: I am on the board of a 40-unit condo association. We need to put a new roof on and have voted to special assess each owner $5,000 to pay for it. This has proved very unpopular. Owners are complaining.

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Five Financial Mistakes That Can Be Devastating to Your Community

Being part of an HOA board is a job that comes with a lot of difficult responsibilities. When it comes to the financial side on an HOA, there are so many moving parts that it can get overwhelming. Avoiding these

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Surefire Ways to Drive Your Association to Financial Ruin

Common interest communities are non-profit businesses and just like any business budgeting and financial planning are essential to the success and longevity of the business. What is everyday common sense with respects to businesses is often ignored for common interest

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Sometimes Rentals Work FOR Associations

One of the topics that confound community associations and their boards is what to do about renters. Many times, the question is what can be done to limit them, prohibit them or somehow control them. The goals of a landlord

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The Condo Association Board Accountant Profile

This week’s Condo Association Board personality is on the Condo Association Board Accountant. The Accountant loves numbers and money, specifically making sure your Association has plenty of it. This is an important consideration for most Associations, as money makes the

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5 Ways to Build Transparency as Condo Laws Tighten Financial Disclosure Requirements

Transparency in operations is key for condominium associations to build trust and ensure accountability amongst community management. Did you know that an association’s financial health and management of association finances is often a deciding factor for potential condo owners to

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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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What Boards Should Know About Finances: Keeping Your Community in the Black

Money, money, money. The world runs on it. And your building’s well-being depends on it.  The issue is not just having funds, but managing them. Handling the finances for an entire building or association is a major responsibility, and boards—even

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Is a Loan Right for Your Community?

At a time when many condominiums are old enough to require major repairs or renovations, community associations can be overwhelmed by the cost. The word is definitely out that a community association loan may be a viable option for many

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How Well Do You Understand Your HOA’s Financial Health?

One of the key challenges of being a board member is understanding how HOA and community association financials work. Between budgets, income statements, balance sheets, bank reconciliations, reserves, and other documents, you’re presented with an almost overwhelming amount of information

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Kass: HOA Assessments Based On Square Footage

Question: I live in a condo with 150 different units. Our assessments are based on our square footage. Residents can pay a monthly rent for parking spaces, while guests pay by hour to park in the garage.  Our assessments are

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Special assessments: 4 tips to pass them without owner outrage

Special assessments are a tough sell. Condominium boards have the authority to levy these add-on fees, but disgruntled owners potentially can overturn or at least stall them.  Don’t let it get that far.  There are two primary components to passing

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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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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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How can my condo fee be too low?

I often hear the question “Why is this condo fee so high?” by both potential buyers as well as agents. But I ask the opposite question of some condominiums, “Is this condo fee too low?”   It shows me that

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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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Condo Association Special Assessment Preparation for Owners

One of the scariest and impactful things that can happen to a Condo Association Owner is the dreaded Special Assessment. Special Assessments are caused by a number of things – poor budgeting, unexpected repairs or perhaps deferred maintenance from a

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I’m a Manager, Not a Magician

Our management company was referred to a property that had not performed regular preventative maintenance for at least a decade or more. We accepted the account. Unfortunately, they also had a board that has always partially funded the reserves (with

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Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees, or Does It?

What can a condominium do when it is facing a large deficit or an unexpected repair project has depleted the reserve fund? Typically, the condominium would levy a special assessment or increase the monthly fees. In some cases, a loan

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The unwelcome surprise of a condo special assessment and why the fee is needed

We often welcome things that are special – birthdays, gifts, events. But condominium special assessments? Not so much.  While monthly condo fees are an ordinary part of condo ownership, special assessments represent an unanticipated expense that is levied on all

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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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Keep Track of the Money: Finance and Condos Part 2

This blog is part 2 of “Keep track of the money: Finance and Condos.” Financial policies are the topic of this post. Part 1 covers reviewing financial statements and condo fees, and Part 2 provides insights into the art of

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Keep track of the money: Finance and Condos

Be sure to check out my post on governance policies for condo boards, and an earlier post on best practices for condo board communication. Financial policies are the topic of this post. I have divided into two parts. Part 1

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Back From the Brink: Financial Ruin — and Recovery

happens infrequently, but when it does, it can be an enormous challenge: a co-op corporation or condo development has a long-running squabble with the building sponsor/developer, falls victim to long-term mishandling of funds — or outright fraud — by the

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The Importance Of Protecting Your Association’s Money

One of the most important responsibilities of a property or condominium association board of directors is protecting the association’s funds. In doing so, it is important for the board of directors and management company (if you are professionally managed) to

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Will Your Community Association be Sponsored by Advertisers Someday?

I read recently that some of our national parks in the U.S. are going to permit advertising in certain locations within the parks. The reason for this move is ostensibly due to the appeal of millions of annual park visitors

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Community Associations Countdown to Year-End!

The end of the year is approaching and before long we will be setting New Year’s resolutions for 2017. But before that new beginning, we need to wrap up 2016. For those associations whose year-end is December 31st there are

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Effective HOA Financial Management – Six Magic Tips to Success

There is also no magic required to achieve HOA financial success. I’ve given out a lot of financial management advice over the last 15 years, but most of it really boils down to these six tips

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HOA Funds Transparency

Just about any situation can deteriorate when there is no transparency. This is true in any business setting, including an HOA. With good transparency, homeowners know exactly the direction in which their neighborhood is heading, which leads to less problems.

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Dealing with Bad Debt in Community Associations

If you’re sure you won’t be able to collect from a delinquent homeowner, you should write off the bad debt

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Condo Association Special Assessment Guide for Owners

The bottom line may be that the work must be done or the Condo will be rendered uninhabitable.

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Financial Record-Keeping: Following the Money

so while it’s not realistic to insist that they know as much about accounts payable as a professional might, there are a few important items that are essential for them to familiarize themselves with

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How to Communicate a Condo Association Special Assessment

This guide is focused on how you communicate a Condo Association Special Assessment to your Owners.

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Financing a Condo Association Special Assessment

In this guide, the major steps of the finances are covered. You’ll learn how to figure out how much money you need and how to account for delinquency.

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HarborView Towers (MD) condo association seeks bankruptcy

The Council of Unit Owners of the 100 Harborview Drive Condominium is seeking to reorganize its debts and continue operating in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy,

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5 Signs a Condominium Association May Be in Trouble

Many people don’t realize how communal condo living can be, particularly when it comes to finances.

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The Condo Association Special Assessment Process #2: Assessing the Situation

Another important thing to consider is that in many cases, rehabilitating a system sooner than later will result in substantially cheaper costs.

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Condo Association Per-Use Fees

When establishing a fee, make sure you have an effective mechanism for collections – avoid petty cash at all costs.

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Paying Maintenance with Credit Cards (NY)

“There’s an uptick of credit card use because credit card issuers are becoming increasingly competitive and aggressive with their loyalty programs,”

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Maintaining Financial Health as Your HOA Ages

The HOAs that have not adequately planned may face major dues increases, special assessments, bank loans, or worse.

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HOA Board Function: Protect Assets

In attempting to manage, maintain and protect these community assets, it is important that volunteer board members recognize their limitations and seek input from experts when necessary.

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The Condo Association Special Assessment Process: An Overview

This means that odds are you live in an Association where there is at least the threat of a Condo Association Special Assessment.

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Capital Improvements: Getting Financing and Board Approvals

But some projects are of greater consequence than others, and these are often referred to as “capital improvements.”

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Protecting Association Deposits

Ror associations who are risk-averse, they should consider moving their funds to smaller local banks and credit unions. To avoid the bail-in provision, the institutions should be smaller than the $50 billion dollar asset limit set by Dodd-Frank

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Income Streams: Flood Your Association With Money

While assessments are going to be the vast majority of your income, there are some things your Association can do to create alternate revenue streams

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How to Save Your HOA Board Money Without Raising Owner Dues

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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Maintenance vs. Capital Improvements – What’s the Difference?

Maintaining your buildings’ assets is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. The common areas require a broad range of routine maintenance and repairs to keep them looking good and operating smoothly. Maintenance activities can include simple lightbulb replacements, housekeeping and paint touch-ups

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What to Do If You Have to Levy a Special Assessment

In a previous post, we talked about the importance of adequately funding your reserves as an HOA. While it would be ideal for every HOA to have a healthy reserve fund that could cover almost any unexpected cost, that’s not

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Why are HOA Assessments So Important?

Most homeowners understand that assessments are a regular part of homeowners association membership. However, some owners—and even board members—may not fully grasp the importance of assessment payments on the community. Assessments are a large part of member benefits and when

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