How To Avoid Condo Association Problems Before They Begin

 

Photo of confident associates with pretty business lady standing in front

Condo association problems you can solve now

As a member of the condo board or property management team, there are going to be some problems that are simply beyond your scope of capabilities. There is no way you can prevent every problem that may ever occur. You can get ahead of most of these situations, though, with simple communication and respect.

1. Feeling left out

Condo owners who feel left out of association decisions may be less inclined to cooperate with new or existing rules. Don’t worry, there’s  an easy fix: make sure all condo owners know when and where association meetings are held, and what is on the agenda. Be sure there is enough notice for owners to come to the meetings if they want to, and always include space in the agenda for residents to submit issues they’d like to address ahead of time.

Owners who feel like a valued member of the condo association are more likely to feel like the community offers an excellent quality of life. [Read more…]

How Are Condo Fees Calculated: The Truth Is Out

How are condo fees calculated? We’ll remove the shroud of mystery for you

Waterfront Living how are condo fees calculated

There is a lot of money moving around when you buy a condo – or any real estate for that matter. Points, closing costs, inspection fees, down payment, mortgage insurance, moving costs, taxes, and condo fees are just a few places your money gets allocated.

Some are straightforward, while others are cloaked in mystery. Figuring out your mortgage payment or closing costs is easy enough to determine. You know ahead of time what your condo fees are, but how are condo fees calculated? If you’re going to be paying a fee every month, it’s only fair that you know how those fees are decided.

[Read more…]

The Ultimate Condo Checklist for Preventive Maintenance

watersign-500x375As a board member and homeowner, one of  your responsibilities is to help with maintaining the common elements of the association. Don’t worry, we aren’t here to convince you to put on a pair of work pants or pick up ‘Plumbing for Dummies’ in hardcover, there are ways to make sure your community is prepared for anything without having to get your hands dirty.
More often than not we hear about maintenance emergencies when they are life threatening like a fire, but the truth is that floods, water leaks, and small fires can be just as costly as an emergency that takes the front page of the daily paper.

Scheduling maintenance and regularly documenting current conditions can add to a smoother future with less money being spent on large projects. Preventative Maintenance is an important step that consists of many smaller steps. For example an effective Preventative Maintenance programs can extend the life of a roof by years and ensures that as the roof reaches the time in which it needs to be replaced it is scheduled and known as opposed to an emergency situation that was not budgeted for.

Make use of your maintenance crew by having them focus around 80 percent of their time on preventative efforts and 20 percent of their time on current and scheduled repairs.

Here is a checklist of the Common Elements and when they should be serviced

1. Ejector Pumps: These pumps should be checked at minimum annually however quarterly documentation is recommended. In the event of an Ejector Pump failure it is important to have a backup power system to ensure that the sump pump continues to operate in the event of a power outage.

2. Outdoor Grills: Sending information to tenants about safe grilling practices will help to extend the life of the grills as well as prevent personal injuries and damages.

3. Water Pipes: When pipes are not properly insulated they have a high risk of freezing and bursting when the temperature drops. Have the pipes checked annually, including garages, vacant units and community rooms.

4. Dryer Vents: Fires often start from improperly cleaned lint traps, vents and the immediate areas surrounding the dryers. It is important to allocate time to ensure that these areas are cleaned regularly depending on use. Making sure fire extinguishers are located in area can help stop the flames from spreading should a dryer vent buildup cause a fire.

5. Washing Machines: Often one of the most used facilities in a condo these machines can easily cause a water leak or flood. Regularly checking the drain hoses and plumbing connections to the in-unit washing machines can prevent leaks from happening and stop floods before they start.

6. Aging Electrical Wires and Systems: Most fires that are started in home are because of old or faulty electrical wiring. Replace outdated electrical wiring systems and schedule regular upgrades on new wiring.

7. Water Heaters: No, they don’t last forever. The average water tank will last about 10 years so be sure to keep a record of any work the tank has sustained and be aware of when it will need to be replaced.

8. Sewers and Drain Pipes: Preventative plumbing is often overlooked but undoubtedly important to avoid a massive bill in an backup or clog. Major drain lines, sewers and catch basins should be cleaned and serviced annually.

These bills, although more frequent, will be much cheaper than a reactive bill after a disaster or emergency situation. Preventative Maintenance is an effective way to maintain and protect condo communities as well as educate and protect condo residents. Your association will be more prepared and better equipped for an emergency as well as the replacing of any common elements.

We know you appreciate your residents, so be their champion and learn more about Evercondo today. Your residents, staff, and management company will all thank you. Get Evercondo for your building.

Did we miss anything?  What Common Elements are on your list? Let us know in the comments section below.

6 Ways To Keep Your Condo Safe and Sound While You Are Spreading Holiday Cheer

While You’re Visiting Family and Friends Who is Visiting Your Condo?

Peace on earth and peace of mind go hand in hand while you prepare for holiday cheer. As you get ready to visit family and friends this holiday season be sure to prepare your home even before you prepare your tree. Turning off the stove and drawing the curtains might seem like the way to a more secure home but here are 6 solutions to make sure your condo unit stays protected in your absence.

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1. Prevent break and enters by creating the illusion of occupancy
Use Hue to turn your lights on and off while you are away so it seems like you are home, even when you are not.

2. Turn off all water taps and check your pipes
Forgot to turn off the water? Wally detects and alerts you of water leaks as well as important changes in humidity and temperature. You can rest easily knowing your home is safe and dry over the holidays.

3. Change the heat not your sweater
Set your thermostat to a lower temperature while you’re away to save money on heating. Turn it on before you get back on with Nest so you’re always stepping into your house at the perfect temperature.

4. Be ready 
Your dance moves should be the only thing on fire this holiday season. Use Nest to notify you of any smoke or fire in your home. Nest will send you an SMS notification about any fire related activities within your condo.

5. Stay informed
Want to know why the fire alarm went on while you were away? Get a message about the fire alarm testing that was happening or changes to visitor parking through Evercondo so you never miss a beat even in-between eggnog slurping and gingerbread cookie binges.

6. Keep an eye on your home 
We all know Santa doesn’t need a key but your mother-in-law does. Install a security camera so in the event of a break-in you will be notified and officials can be called no matter where you are. Use FLIR FX to lock the doors and arm the security system even when you’re not there.

At Evercondo, our goal is to make condo living as care-free  as we know it can be. Evercondo makes it easy for you and your management team to efficiently and effectively manage multiple condo properties, from work orders to communications. Contact us for a demonstration, and we’ll show you how we can facilitate communication throughout your condo association, from owners to property managers.

How do you prepare your condo for the holidays? Let us know in the comments.

5 Ways to Better Manage Your Visitor Parking

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Of all the amenities your condo offers Visitor Parking might be the most used feature. You want your residents to be able to host their guests easily but you also want to have some control, otherwise Unit 3B’s brother’s Hyundai could become a permanent accessory to your buildings Visitor Parking.

 

1. Monitor

Monitor the hours your parking is the most busy and when you will be checking permits. Find out what triggers a high amount of visitors and adjust accordingly. Are you located near a sports stadium? Is your building located in a high-traffic area or are there strangers parking in visitor parking without registering? Take note of how many spots are accessible and how many are reserved for contractors for an accurate.

2. Track

If your community has cars that are parking for multiple days it is important to track which cars have expired permits. Making sure all the permits are to-date means you can free up some much needed parking spots for the more visitors. Track how many permits each resident has used and be sure to notify the resident when they approach their visitor parking limit.

3. Enforce

Set limits on your Visitor Parking permits. You can do this by restricting how many permits a resident is allowed in a month. For example, a resident may be allowed to book a total of three overnight visitor parking spots per month. This way everyone gets a chance to host their guests and make use of the visitor parking.

4. Communicate

Keep residents informed and make sure they are aware of any changes to visitor parking hours. Communicate changes to visitor parking to residents before the new rules come into effect. Extending the visitor parking permits from 10 consecutive hours to 24 over the holidays? Let residents know beforehand so they can plan accordingly.

5. Schedule

Schedule regular maintenance to your parking area to ensure the space is useable and free of major issues. Provide the same preventative maintenance to the visitor parking space as you would any other amenity and you will have satisfied residents and visitors alike.

Evercondo makes it easy for you and your management team to efficiently and effectively track and manage visitor parking, from creating restrictions and issuing parking permits. Contact us for a demonstration, and we’ll show you how we can help you better manage your visitor parking while increasing communication in your community.

What are the most common Visitor Parking issues in your community? Let us know in the comments.

7 Ways Condo Landscaping Can Increase Your Occupancy Rate

ways condo landscaping can increase your occupancy rate

You’ll see the return on your investment when you spend money and time on condo landscaping

Take a moment to picture yourself in a beautiful location. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

What does that location look like for you? Is it filled with the beauty of nature? Are there water features or colorful trees? Now, think: how would you like to live there?

Creative condo landscaping can do just that for you; it will allow your prospective residents to picture themselves living in an ideal, beautiful location. In fact, the right landscaping can and will help you increase your occupancy rate.

Well manicured design increases curb appeal. So when it’s time to sell, your condo dwellers will be able to get a higher return on their investment as compared to condo owners living in a poorly landscaped community.

Likewise, condo landscaping can attract buyers, which leads to higher demand and a higher occupancy rate for the property you manage.

Here are seven things to consider when using condo landscaping to make your property the most longed for investment.

[Read more…]

Top 10 Exhibitors of The ACMO / CCI Condo Conference

seminar presentation

With over 170 booths, 1,600 delegates and 18 Sessions, the 19th Annual ACMO / CCI Condo Conference that took place at the Toronto Congress Centre was a great success thanks to the amazing efforts of exhibitors and ACMO / CCI
for organizing the event.

Here is a list of the Top 10 Most Notable Exhibitors:


# 10. FTD Highrise
And last but definitely not least, we’re looking to FTD Highrise as the ‘Most Futuristic’ with their constant demonstrations of drone technology.


# 9. Sureloc
The ‘Most Fun’ booth of the Condo Conference was Sureloc for their delicious popcorn and mini-putt, which brought out the kid in attendees and vendors alike.


# 8. RJC
The most ‘Well-Lit’ booth goes to RJC who were also sponsors of the Condo Conference.


# 7. Garden Grove Landscaping
The ‘Friendliest Staff’ and ‘Most Seasonally Appropriate’ had us looking to the grass covered booth of Garden Grove Landscaping for showing that the grass really was greener in row 400.


# 6. Atrens Counsel
The ‘Most Color Coordinated Booth’ goes to Atrens Counsel whose staff, balloons and backdrop shone black and gold throughout the show.


# 5. Remi Network
The Remi Network’s booth had powers, demonstrated over the course of the Conference with Out Of This World Staff and a ‘Hero-Worthy’ booth.


# 4. Fine & Deo
Candy was the most popular giveaway and after much testing, tasting and deliberation we have a winner. The award for ‘Best Candy’ goes to the conference partner, Fine & Deo with staff that were just as sweet as the treats they were serving.


# 3. Clean Cut Energy
‘Best Swag’ goes to Clean Cut Energy for their red and white wine. We would also like to note these were the most buzz-worthy goodies attendees were raving about.


# 2. Shibley Righton
The ‘Most Caffeinated’ booth goes to Shibley Righton who also top our list of busiest booths keeping everyone energized as attendees buzzed from session to session.


# 1. ICC Property Management & Forest Hill Group
ICC Property Management and The Forest Hill Group has definitely done it this time by bringing a 200 sq ft luxury condo to the event! We couldn’t get enough of the luscious seating and beautiful interior decor. Well done!

And there we have it, our list of the Top 10 Exhibitors!
We’ve already started counting down the days to next years 2016 Condo Conference.

What was your favourite part of the event? What are you most looking forward to seeing next year? Let us know in your comments below or share with us on Twitter @EvercondoApp!

A Condo Inspection Checklist for Condo Owners and Property Managers

A Condo Inspection Checklist for Condo Owners and Property ManagersKeeping a condo inspection checklist handy will help you head off major repairs before they become major headaches.

If you’ve seen The Money Pit, with Tom Hanks and Shelly Long, you’ll know one of the most famous scenes. One house problem after another has the exasperated couple who are excited to finally relax and enjoy a hot bath. But just as they fill the tub, it falls through the floor, crashing into the home’s entry way.

The condition of your condo probably isn’t that bad, but a condo inspection checklist can help you spot problems before they become big, exasperating ordeals.

[Read more…]

Property Management Horror Stories You Can Learn From


property management horror stories

In property management, horror stories are not what you want to be a part of, and yet, anyone with any experience can tell you a few.

Edgar Allan Poe was a master of horror stories. From the first lines of The Tell-Tale Heart, you’re in a state of suspense. Poe draws us into his world of the macabre with the deftness only few storytellers can muster.

TRUE! –nervous –very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses –not destroyed –not dulled them.

Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily –how calmly I can tell you the whole story. – Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart

Fortunately, your property management horror stories (hopefully) aren’t as frightening as Poe’s.

I can only imagine how his landlord must have felt about having a heart buried under the floorboards!

[Read more…]

Which Condo Management and Accounting Software is Best for Your Condo?

All-in-one vs Best-of-breed condo software solutions

When condo management software burst onto the condo management scene a little less than a decade ago, it brought with it a debate within condo managers and condo corporations. Should they pursue a single all-in-one solution that offers communication, management and accounting functionalities or embrace a multiple best-of-breed solution?

All-in-one Vs Best-of-breed

Using all-in-one software is like going to a restaurant that serves General Tao chicken, sushi and rib-eye steak. You are certainly not going to find the best steak since they don’t specialized in one cuisine.

Best-of-breed is like going to a steak house to find a good rib-eye steak or a Japanese restaurant to find good sushi. The best part about best-of-breed is that you don’t have to drive to three different restaurants. They are all located in the same food court right next to each other. You get the best of both worlds at the same place (hence the term “Best-of-Breed”).

Personally, I like my sushi prepared by a real sushi chef, not by someone that makes pasta noodles by day and chocolate chip cookies by night.

Which to choose?

Go for an all-in-one condo management software with accounting if resident engagement on your condo website is not important to you and you’re just looking for a basic enough condo accounting tool. You understand that hardly anyone will log into that website and that there will be very little activity.

However, if you’re looking to create a lively and active community that logs into their condo website regularly to book facilities, read bulletin announcements, send messages to managers and download files, while using a flexible accounting application that fits your financial needs, then the best-of-breeds is your best bet.

If you have more time, read on…

Why Best-of-Breeds?

Here are some reasons why the best-of-breeds approach would make more sense to you.

More Flexibility
The best-of-breeds approach is significantly more flexible. Since neither the condo management or accounting functions are bound to one another you can easily switch out any one in the future.

Best-in-Class Solutions
Choosing a condo management software from a company that focuses entirely on condo communication and management whilst opting for a separate condo accounting solution that focuses solely on solving condo accounting needs, ensures that you get the best of both worlds. That also means more feature upgrades with faster and better customer support.

Best Value – Bang for Your Buck
All-in-one solutions may be cheaper but is it really worth the savings? Opting for a best-of-breed solution ensures every penny you spend does not go to waste. It’s an investment you make that yields a well managed, efficient, transparent and happy community.

A Tailored Experience
For all-in-one solutions, communication and management are mere accessories. These services are often just substandard by-products or accessories to their core offerings. With all-in-one software, you’ll end up with a resident portal that is not as robust or functional as a dedicated resident portal platform.

It’s Much More Secure. Period.
It’s simple. Separate servers and databases managed by different vendors in different data centres and locations make it much safer. If your communication and management solution gets hacked, the hacker will not be able to gain access to your accounting information and vice versa.

Evercondo is a condo communication and management solution that offers accounting through a best-of-breed integration with Condo Manager Accounting.

Financial information from Condo Manager Accounting is seamlessly displayed on the Evercondo portal for residents. User information is updated both ways so you don’t have to update on both ends of the solutions. It’s all covered and taken cared of. Also, you don’t have to worry about us passing you from one department to another in the same company. We’re specialized and when you call, we’ll be sure to get it done right the first time, every time. Learn more about Evercondo’s integration with Condo Manager Accounting or Contact us today to request for a demo.