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General Information for Owners

  • Smart condo conundrum: Talk to appliances, or text them? March 15, 2017 In today’s so-called smart home, you can dim the lights, order more toothpaste or tell the kids to go to bed simply by talking to a small Wifi-connected speaker, such as Amazon’s (AMZN.O) Echo or Google’s (GOOGL.O) Home.  This voice-first market – combining voice with artificial intelligence (AI) – barely existed in 2014. This year, Voice Labs, a consultancy, expects 24.5 million appliances to be shipped.  Other big tech firms have their own plans: Apple (AAPL.O) is taking its Siri ...
  • Gardening In Your Association: The Basics February 28, 2017 As the bleak cold of winter finally breaks and signs of spring begin to pop up all around, thoughts of vibrant flowers and lush vegetables are on gardeners’ minds. For those green thumbs living in tiny quarters, an impressive garden may seem unattainable. However, many are turning toward urban gardening, bringing plant life into unique spaces and growing gardens in every nook and cranny.    Read the article…………..
  • Condo Association Hearing Tips for Owners February 23, 2017 The dreaded hearing. For whatever reason – maybe legitimate, maybe not – your Board has issued a hearing with your name on it. They want to meet with you over your behavior and they’ve got the power of the Bylaws behind them to issue a fine. You can accept blame – or you can choose to fight them. These Condo Association hearing tips for Owners will help you figure out how to navigate the process.    Read the article…………..
  • Tips to Voice your Concerns and Get Results in your Community February 21, 2017 Disagreements among homeowners and fellow board members are bound to happen. However, that’s not always a bad thing. When they’re handled properly, disagreements can lead to unexpected solutions and common ground. Below are five tips to help you keep disagreements in check and voice your concerns so you get results.   Read the article…………..
  • You Can Make a Difference! February 13, 2017 Driving to and from your garage and merely existing in an association is not the only option. Living within an association provides you with many opportunities to become involved in your community. Assuming you meet any qualifications which exist within the documents, one of the best ways to be involved in your community is to serve on the board of directors. By getting involved, you can make a difference!     Read the article………….
  • Can HOA Fees Be Claimed on Your Taxes? February 6, 2017 Tax season is here and we all want to deduct every last penny we can find. If you’re a member of a homeowners association, have you ever considered whether or not the HOA fees you pay are tax deductible? Every HOA is different, so you’ll want to find out what applies to your specific Association.  In general, members of an HOA commit to paying HOA fees or dues. These fees usually pay for the maintenance of shared amenities such as ...

Owners – General Information Archives

New Owners

  • New Resident Screening and Avoiding Disparate Impact Claims September 20, 2016 Most well-run community associations incorporate a new tenant application and approval process, and some even utilize such a program for new owners. A typical new resident screening program includes criminal background checks, credit checks, employment verification, and prior rental history. A community association is likely to deny any prospective new resident whose background check produces questionable items. But are associations cognizant of the liability concerns pursuant to recent changes in federal law regarding disparate impact claims for administering a flawed ...
  • 6 Must-Haves in a Condominium Welcome Package May 26, 2016 It’s the condo board’s job to ensure that newcomers to the building feel welcome. For the sake of both the newcomer and the community-based atmosphere of a condo building, condo boards are responsible for ensuring that new residents are well-settled and aware of the buildings rules and regulations. A great way to receive new residents is to prepare a welcome package that shares valuable building and community information with the new addition to your condo family. What goes in an ...
  • The Need for Move-In Orientation September 9, 2015 Though the questions posed at the opening of this article are among the most frequently cited, there are many other issues that buyers may not even realize until long after their closing or moving in day. Just consider the specific areas where problems might arise: HOA contact and informational issues, emergency issues, building access and usage issues, insurance issues, and storage concerns.    Read the article…………
  • Why It’s Important to Read the CC&Rs in Your Homeowners Association October 12, 2014 Do you remember receiving the covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) when you moved into the Association? Do you know that they are very important to you as the homeowner? Have you taken a look at these documents lately? If not, now is a great time to brush up on the do’s and don’ts of your community. There is no time like the present to make sure you are in compliance.  Read more………
  • Fences or flamingoes: Be sure you know your homeowner association rules September 29, 2014 A new homeowner moves into a neighborhood governed by a private association, receives an invitation to a potluck that doubles as an annual meeting and shows up with a bottle of wine and a dish to pass.    Read more………
  • Who’s Responsible for Repairs? Board and Owner Maintenance Responsibilities August 22, 2014 Say you’re in bed, and you hear what sounds like the shower going. It’s late, and you’re tired, so you pay it no mind. You wake up at 4 a.m. to get a glass of water and find half the rooms in your apartment flooded— you forgot to turn the shower off! You throw blankets and towels on the floor to soak up the water and call your building’s maintenance staff.    Read more……..

New Owners Article Archives




Insurance for Owners

  • Dealing With Ice is Anything But Neat December 15, 2016 Those of us in the Northwest were recently hit with the first round of winter snowstorms. My children are avid weather watchers (in hopes of future school closures), so I understand that we are in store for several more storms in the coming months. Winter snow and ice inevitably result in a host of insurance claims. Some of these are relatively predictable. Think auto accidents and trees falling. Fortunately, many of these weather related claims are covered under standard home ...
  • 5 Actions an HOA Board Should Take to Clarify Maintenance & Insurance November 7, 2016 One common subject that often causes confusion in a homeowners association is grasping the difference between the maintenance responsibilities of an association and the items that are covered by the association’s insurance policy. Often owners and even HOA board members may not understand the differences between these two subjects.     Read the article…………..
  • Don’t be confused when it comes to condo insurance October 25, 2016 Condominium insurance is often misunderstood, and for good reason.  Typically, owners are protected under two insurance policies: a master policy for the condo association and an individual, or HO-6, policy. The confusion arises over what each policy covers and the potential for gaps — or a lack of coverage — for certain, often costly, occurrences.  The result can cost unsuspecting owners hundreds or even thousands of dollars.      Read the article…………..
  • Identifying and Protecting Against Storm, Hail and Wind Damage June 24, 2016 Although insurance brokers and agents are not meteorologists, they still play a big role in helping their commercial clients identify and protect their businesses against destruction caused by storms. Preparing clients for the random yet inevitable severe weather patterns that lead to hail and wind damage helps these individuals keep their peace of mind while they also end up saving a considerable amount of money on repairs and higher premium rates. In addition, showing clients that their safety is a ...
  • Do You Know the Limits of Your Homeowners Association’s Insurance? June 22, 2016 If you’re a member of an HOA board, you probably know that having insurance for your homeowners association is a necessity to protect the HOA and its members. But do you know what type of insurance you need to have or what the Association is responsible for and what the individual homeowner is responsible for?   Read the article………..
  • HOA HOMEFRONT: Condos and insurance — what’s the best policy? May 30, 2016 Q. When it comes to an owner choosing an insurance company for condominium insurance for the inside of the condo, would the best course be to choose the same company the association uses for the buildings and common area, or to choose a different company?    Read the Q&A……….

Insurance for Owners Article Archives

Buying/Selling Your Unit/Home in an Association

  • New law sets fee limits on condo resale documents (MD) March 23, 2017 In the 2016 session of the Maryland General Assembly, legislation under House Bill 1192 was passed that alters the contents of required disclosures, authorizes additional fees, and sets limits on fees that may be charged to a seller by a condominium council of unit owners for providing resale documents.  Owners of a condominium unit or a unit in a homeowners association (HOA) should be aware that this legislation set a maximum amount that can be charged by the condo association, ...
  • 20 Mar Community Association Law: Can You Turn Down an Applicant for Sale or Lease? (FL) March 22, 2017 Your community association’s Governing Documents provide the association with the right to review and approve sales and rentals; and to charge a transfer fee to cover the costs of processing the transaction. You have an application form and you pay a company to run a background check. So, can you actually turn any of the prospective applicants down? Would the association have to buy the house or the unit if you do turn an applicant down?      Read the ...
  • Attack of the Killer HOA Fees March 15, 2017 Homeowners association fees have been on the rise throughout the country. In 2005, the average monthly HOA fee among all households in the country stood at $250. By 2015, the average fee was $331, a pace that’s not only outpaced the nation’s housing prices, but exceeded the inflation rate by 5.9%.   (Editor’s note:  This article isn’t written very well.  They often are comparing condo to HOA fees or combining them when they shouldn’t – they aren’t they same thing, especially ...
  • Three Reasons to Buy in an Established Condo Association February 21, 2017 When you are Condo shopping, there’s a tendency to want to see the newest and best construction. New buildings will have the most modern building codes, may be Leeds certified and environmentally friendly, and feature dazzling amenities. All of these are good things. However, if you’re an informed Owner, you know that a Condo is more than just the building – it’s the Association, the finances, and the Board. You really can’t know how strong a building is until it ...
  • What is a Community Association? Unwrapping the Riddle February 13, 2017 There are approximately 14,000 planned communities located throughout North Carolina, but very few of the nearly 3 million residents of such communities have a clear understanding of what the heck the community association really is that serves their planned community or condominium.  In short, a community association is a nonprofit organization, either incorporated under the North Carolina Nonprofit Corporation Act (“Chapter 55A”) or unincorporated pursuant to the North Carolina Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act (“Chapter 59B”). The association is formed ...
  • Realtor gives tips on avoiding HOA nightmares (FL) February 2, 2017 The beauty of buying a home is a dream for many. It’s incredibly exciting when you finally sign on the dotted line.  Then you realize you have to tack on more fees from your homeowner’s association and possibly deal with oppressive HOA rules: your house isn’t the right color, or maybe your grass is one centimeter too high.  It could be horrible, but many think HOAs play an important role.     Read the article………….

Buying/Selling Article Archives

Working With Boards

  • HOA Model Remodeling March 14, 2017 Owning your own home is an American dream. In urban settings, homeowner associations have become a dominant form of new construction, often representing over two thirds of new homes. While HOA homeowners have many rights and privileges, they often concede certain freedoms usually enjoyed in more traditional home ownership. One particular area of concession involves remodeling.     Read the article………….
  • The Rogue One: Directors Gone Bad March 14, 2017 A condo director unilaterally fires the property manager, hires himself in her place, enters into several other contracts without discussing it with the other directors, bullies the other owners, sues the corporation, and causes thousands of dollars in damages. It seems like an unbelievable plot for a movie, but this one is based on a true story!  Sometimes referred to as a “rogue director” or “condo commando” these directors often make decisions without approval, bully the other owners, and ignore ...
  • Workplace Communication January 10, 2017 When most teams within an organization discuss communications, we tend to focus on communication with our customers or for recruiters and HR, that’s communication with our candidates. While this is essential for successful sales as well as recruitment and hiring strategies, effective communication is essential for organizations and their teams. So, how can you ensure good internal communications without losing your primary focus on candidates and/or customers?    Read the article…………..
  • Your Professionals Should Stay Out of Board Politics November 17, 2016 It seems to happen year after year after year: An entrenched board refuses to hold elections or annual meetings.  At one such co-op with the same board members “for almost 20 years,” writes a shareholder, a meeting finally was scheduled for the first time in four years. “There was no list of nominees provided,” the writer says. “We called management, said they would only tell us who the nominees are at the meeting. Right after the meeting was scheduled, ...
  • Whose job is it anyway? The difference between the roles of Property Managers and the Board of Directors November 7, 2016 For most members of the condo community, the Property Manager is the face of the condo corporation. They are responsible for day-to-day running of the condo corporation, and I find that people can get confused about the difference between the roles of the Property Manager and the Board of Directors. I’ve heard board members ask “Why can’t I just let my Property Manager look after everything?” and “Isn’t it their job to do this? I don’t have time to look ...
  • 8 Things Your Homeowners Association Wishes You Knew October 26, 2016 Part of the joy of owning your own home is the relative lack of rules. No one can say “no” to that adorable pet axolotl. Not a soul will protest if you paint your bedroom purple. And you want to set up a larger-than-life shrine to Khlo Kardashian in your backyard? Go for it!  Until the HOA finds out, of course.  Ah, the dreaded homeowners association, the very mention of which evokes terror in prospective homeowners. But not every association ...

Working With Boards Article Archives