4 Tips for Fall Lawn Care

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There are plenty of ways to care for your lawn this fall. Consider these tips when choosing to take care of your lawn this fall season.

Ditch the Bag

While mowing your lawn this fall season, consider taking the bag off of the mower in order to allow grass clippings to fall back into the soil. Doing so is an easy way to add free mulch to your lawn, as well as provide it with essential nutrients.

Prevent Compaction

Aerating your lawn in the fall is a great way to make sure that your soil doesn’t become too compact, making it hard for grassroots to grow deeply. Rent an aerator from a local garden center in order to add areas of your lawn where sunlight, water, and energy can get down deep into the soil. Aerate your lawn every year for the most impact while not damaging the lawn as well.

Add Some Seed

Overseeding areas of your lawn that have become thin or bare after a busy summer season can help the environment in many ways. Adding seed to these areas will help to decrease the chance of weeds growing in your yard and becoming a drain on local vegetation.

Fertilize Organically

If you want your lawn to look better and be healthier, fertilize in the fall. This process will give your lawn plenty of nutrients to get it through the winter and help the grass grow stronger in spring. As a result, autumn is the single most important time of year to fertilize. If you decide to aerate in the fall, you should fertilize soon afterward in order to ensure that the nutrients will reach the soil.

All of these autumn lawn care steps must be performed like clockwork. If you seed and fertilize too close to winter, the soil won’t be able to take in nutrients. Aerate while it’s still hot out, and the process will not be nearly as effective. If you struggle to find time to work on your lawn this fall—or if you’d like to put your yard in expert hands—our lawn aeration service can get your lawn in the best shape of its life when spring arrives again.

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Tips for Recruiting BOD Members

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A well-rounded board of directors can offer vision and direction to an organization as well as provide essential skills. One of the best ways to enhance your community and make it the best that it can be is to volunteer as a member of the HOA board. Volunteering is a great way to share your talents and to give back to your community.  For HOA boards, member involvement is crucial to providing responsible and successful HOA management.  At times, filling positions on the board can be a challenge because homeowners have a lot of demands on their time, but having a stable and energetic board is one of the most crucial parts of a successful association.  Here are a few tips on how to recruit potential HOA board members in a positive and encouraging way:

Appeal to the Specific Talents of the Individuals in the Community

Sometimes homeowners feel like they wouldn’t benefit the community because they believe they do not have strengths or talents. However, a board does not simply only need someone who is good at accounting, it needs people with all manner of skills. Find people who like technology, gardening, party planning, or even construction and appeal to their specific skill.

Encourage Those Who Complain to Serve

If a community member frequently complains to board members about board decisions or community issues, they may just make a good board member.  The fact is that if a particular community member knows enough to complain, then they are paying attention to the board and its actions. If you find that they particularly often politely complaining, try to see if you can encourage them to get involved so that they can have an active hand in improving the community.

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Educate & Advocate

Homeowners may be more likely to volunteer for the board if they understand what’s expected of them once they’re a member. This can easily be done in 3 steps.

  1.  Create a board job description –  This document let’s potential board members know what is expected of them and reminds existing board members of their requirements.
  2. Develop an orientation process – Even an hour or two of education for a new board member and by-laws can make the difference between an aware board or an uninformed board. Take the time to make new board members comfortable with the organization, introduce them to key staff and lead volunteers, and refer them to where they can access more information if they need it. Encourage the members to participate in a Board Member Class, Leland Management offers free educational training for board members. This will make them feel included and proud that they will know what is expected and how to partake in their role.
  3. Outline policies on board involvement –  Boards are meant to “guide”  and bring resources and talents to aid the cause, not to micro-manage the community.

Keep board operations transparent

If homeowners feel alienated from the board and its dealings, they’ll be less inclined to participate in any manner. Encourage homeowners to attend monthly meetings, send out newsletters highlighting meeting minutes, keep fresh content on your community’s website to allow everyone to be able to see the calendar to know when the next meeting is at so they aren’t guessing.

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HOA boards do important community business that requires knowledgeable and involved members. Recruiting takes time and effort. Investing time in learning more about the expertise of your members, identifying those you want to encourage, and deciding your method of approach are vital to assembling a great board. Boards do not have to go it alone: association management services (Leland Management), tools, education, and guidance are available. A strong board can lead to a strong community, so taking the time to find real gems in your community will go far. Start improving your recruiting methods today by implementing the ideas listed above today.

Customer Service Importance & Tips

IMG_5074Excellent customer service is vital when it comes to operating a successful association management company. Why? Because our customers are ultimately the people who are keeping the business going, if they are not content then business will suffer. Customers are natural word-of-mouth marketers.

Supporting customers goes beyond having an email or phone number with people on the other end to respond. It is a mentality of how we want customers to experience our customer-centric product and services. We always want to ensure that we are guiding our customers every step of the way. Therefore, we want to make sure that all our interactions are always polite and cordial.

Creating an amazing customer experience is imperative to fostering an excellent reputation.  Here are some steps that can help increase customer satisfaction.

Be Clear with Rules

If there is something you want your residents to know, be sure to lay it out for them. Have a handbook available for everyone to access so they can reference it at all times. We do a great job of that here at Leland Management being able to provide all needed documents to the customers through what we call a resident portal. If you are straightforward from the beginning, there will be less chance for confusion, and less confusion means happier customers.

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Ensure Effective Communication with your Customer

It’s important your customers feel that if they need you, you are easy to reach and communicate with. Always respond to any outreach in a reasonable amount of time (preferably as soon as possible), no matter how big or small the concern. The response time should be within a few hours on a normal basis and if you know that it is taking longer to respond, you should make sure your customers are aware. Show your customers that you keep them in mind by letting them know when you’ll be out of town. Often customers need contact information for how to reach you in case of an emergency. At Leland, we ensure that we can be reached in normal business hours as well as have an emergency 24/7 hotline. We answer on average 5000+ calls per month and about 2500 emails and voicemails reach our resident support line.

Spend Time Building Relationships.

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Treat all of your customers as you would like to be treated.  Having a congenial business relationship with every customer is an integral part of successful association management. Be firm and fair, and don’t compromise on your responsibilities for the sake of avoiding unpleasantness. If you’re attentive, responsible and congenial in your customer relations, you’re set to build lasting relationships that will be valuable. Leland Management has been in business for over 20 years; building of relationships with all of our communities, treating all residents equally and fairly.

When it comes down to it, the best way to keep your customer satisfied is by maintaining a sense of order and organization. At Leland, we strive always offer the highest quality customer service to all of the board members and residents we serve.  We are continuously reviewing our standard and training so that we are able to develop our customer service program to be the best in the industry.
Continue reading “Customer Service Importance & Tips”

Community Halloween Decorating Ideas

When we think of Halloween, a few things come to mind, and one of those is the traditional haunted house! Hosting your own frightening funhouse may be a lot to under-take, but making it a block party or community event lends to plenty of helping hands, and Halloween fun!

Haunted houses have no rules so you can have free range to be as elaborate or modest as you like! Hosting one in a garage is a great idea; using inexpensive black drape and faux cobwebs to cover the walls, and playing eerie music can make a huge impact! Getting the whole neighborhood involved can make this a freakishly fun activity that can become an annual celebration to look forward to.

There are many ways to decorate for the Halloween season that can be very easy and won’t haunt your wallet.

Start by decorating your front door with a fun yet spooky mummy. It is super easy and cheap to make all you have to do is take white streamers and wrap them all the way around the door. Cut out big eyeballs from construction paper and voila we have a mummified door.

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This Halloween decoration may not cost you a dime! We all have empty milk jugs hanging around waiting to be thrown out, so why not use the milk jugs to spook up the outside of the house. Turn your milk just into Casper the friendly ghost! Draw faces on empty, clean gallon milk jugs and fill them with a ghostly glow lights.

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You will get a kick out of this, literally! Spice up your porch or living room with a pair of witch legs. All you need is a pool noodle and shoes, you put them in a flower pot or stick them in your bushes and BOOM you have pool noodle witch legs.

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Fill your trees or front porch with free-flying ghosts. Made inexpensively from balloons,  gauze fabric, and black tape these little Caspers catch the wind to add movement to your outdoor decor.

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Another way to get the whole community involved in the Halloween fun is a holding a classic pumpkin carving contest.  Have everyone in the community grab their pumpkins, and give them a few hours to create their Halloween masterpiece. In the end, select a panel of judges to pick the winners based on the criteria of your choosing.  Then, display the pumpkins for all of the night’s trick-or-treaters to see!

We LOVE candy and sweets on Halloween so what better way to round up the spirit than to have a community spooky bake sale. Come up with your best treats and set up a stand in your neighborhood.

Lets have a spooky Halloween together!

Qualities of an Effective Association Management Company

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Community Association management is an industry that involves many different disciplines such as accounting, marketing, information technology, legal, and insurance. As a result, board members often face challenges when finding a good management company that meets all of their association’s needs.

When looking for a management company, the specific needs of the community must always be considered to ensure a good fit.  Additionally, there are certain qualities that every management company should possess such as transparency, experience, and commitment to ongoing education.

 Transparency

Transparency is the cornerstone of trust. Residents place extensive amounts of trust in their association management company when hiring them. The two most common complaints in the industry are lack of communication and transparency regarding financial information. At Leland Management, we set ourselves apart by addressing these complaints head-on through the structure and culture of this company. From the systems used to track tasks, to the web portal we provide for our board members and residents, communication and transparency are at the forefront of our service.

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Experience

When looking for a management company experience is paramount. Hiring an experienced management company offers many benefits to both the board and the entire community association.   For example, when recruiting, the company can rely on their experience during the interview and selection process to find the best candidates and perfect fit for the community. Without a good team to assist in everyday activities, a management company could not survive, as the company is truly only as good at the team.

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Education

At Leland, we have dedicated the past 20 years striving to continuously advance our field through education.  By offering educational courses to not only our employees but also association boards, we are able to assist board members in understanding their roles and responsibilities. Continuing our industry education and enhancing our knowledge of the ever-changing landscape of Association Management is critical and we are always in search of opportunities to learn more and become more effective. With education comes skills, knowledge, competence, growth, and the ability to get things done.

Conclusion

When deciding on a management company make sure to keep an eye out not only for the services the company can provide but the qualities that make up the structure of the company.  Ask questions that will speak to the company’s overall transparency, experience and commitment to education. These qualities will help ensure that you are picking the best management company and add significant value to your community. Having an effective property management will bring many benefits like less stress, more freedom, ultimately giving you back more of your time. What are you waiting for? At Leland, we are ready to serve your community.

 

5 Ways to Save Money this Holiday Season

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While the holidays certainly bring thoughts of love and joy to the mind, they can still be incredibly stressful. If you want to be generous with your giving but mindful of your spending, you need to start saving up now. Finding ways to save money each month gives you more money to pay off debt, save for a vacation, prepare for retirement, save for a new house and get all those wonderful gifts you are wanting  to give everyone. Here are some creative ways to keep your spending under control this holiday season.

1. Make a Budget

                 There are a couple different ways to set a holiday budget. First you’d want to determine what your overall spending cap will be. Once you know how much you can spend total, allocate a specific amount to each person on your gift list.

2. Track your spending

                 Your budget does no good if you don’t effectively track what you are spending. A good idea is opening up a Christmas fund bank account, where throughout the year you throw in $10 every week, you’d have about $450 to spend with this method and then with these saving tips you will be able to throw more into the fund. This will make it easier for you to separate holiday spending from regular, day-to-day expenses. Also  download your bank’s app on your phone, which will allow you to check your balance and track your spending anytime and anywhere.

3. Cut Back on Extras

  1. Turn your AC down
  2. Make your own pumpkin spice lattes
  3. Choose free weekend activities
  4. Do your dry cleaning at home
  5. Cook at home instead of eating out
  6. Pack work and kids lunches
  7. Avoid impulse buys at the cash register
  8. Buy a programmable thermostat to save on energy bills.

4. Choose Cheaper Traditions

While traditions are important and admirable, they don’t have to be expensive to be memorable. In fact, you might find that your kids prefer the cheap stuff to the grander gestures. So many activities and traditions are inexpensive, or even free – you just have to know where to look. By making cheaper events and traditions part of your celebration, you can save money without skimping on the festivities and memories.

Here are some cheap holiday activities:

  1. Touring neighborhood Christmas lights
  2. Watching a movie with hot chocolate at home
  3. Seeing Santa at the mall
  4. Making Gingerbread house
  5. Make paper snowflakes

5. Cut Monthly Bills

Monthly expenses can bite us if we aren’t careful. Cable is no exception! With the average cable bill being about $99.10, according to Liechtman Research Group, cable and other monthly expenses can really add up over time. See what you can do without , these next few months to have extra to spend on your love ones.

Final word

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the spending cycle during the holidays. Marketing campaigns are geared toward making you open your wallet in the spirit of Christmas, so it’s hard not to fall prey. However, if you’ve got a plan in place and know how to stretch each holiday dollar, you don’t have to fear your bank account statement on December 26th. Cheaper entertainment, a focus on family, and a sensible spending plan put you firmly in the driver’s seat of your own sleigh.

Happy Holidays!

 

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Fall Fun in Florida

maple-leaf-3680684_960_720The official start of fall has arrived (according to the calendar at least.)  While the weather is still quite warm here in sunny Florida, it’s still not a bad time to start planning some fun, autumn activities with the family.

Fall is probably the best time to enjoy the outdoors in Florida.  Hiking and camping are popular this time of year as well as biking.  Florida has a plethora of trails to explore throughout the season.  Homosassa, FL is another wonderful place to visit to enjoy wildlife in the great outdoors.  Manatees are active this time of year and plentiful in the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

If you are a fan of the theme park scene, head over to Epcot for the annual International Food and Wine Festival.  You can taste culinary delights from around the world without ever leaving your state!  For more low-key fun, check out your local farmers market or head to downtown Jacksonville for the their Jaxtoberfest celebration.  There will be plenty of delicious food and fun to kick off your fall celebrations.

When people think of fall, they usually think of leaves.  Contrary to popular belief, Florida does have a fall leaf season!  You will most likely have to travel a little to see it.  If you want to enjoy our state’s version of fall leaves, you can head to Torreya State Park in the Panhandle.  This area looks a bit different than most of the state and you’ll get to see some beautiful colors around late October.  You can also view lovely, red sugar maples in Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park which is located south of Tallahassee.  It’s worth these day trips to get a little exposure to one of the things people love most about autumn!

Whatever you decide to do, be sure to get out and enjoy all of the fun things happening across Florida during the fall season!

Summer Fun in Florida!

photo-1473496169904-658ba7c44d8aSummer will be over before we know it, even if it feels like it just begun! This time of year can be a good occasion for certain activities, both inside and outside.

Visit the Springs

Florida has a lot of parks across the state that are home to natural springs. These destinations are popular since they allow you to spend some time in nature and still be able to dip into the cool, spring water to beat the heat.

Take a Bike Ride

It’s time to bring that bike out of the garage and have some fun! Florida is home to many great bike trails.  This is a good time of year to get the family out for a nice ride. Just make sure to bring plenty of water and try to head out early to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Keep it Cool and Dry

Summer days sometime come with rain or it’s just too hot to walk around. Use these days to explore one of Florida’s unique museums. There are museums on a huge variety of topics so you can find something that piques your interest.

Geocaching

This unique hobby involves looking for items that have been hidden by others. All you need is a phone and a sense of adventure to start hunting! This can be a fun way to explore areas which you might not have thought to go before.

Don’t let the last days of summer pass you by!  Head out to enjoy some fun in the sun.

Do You Know Your Fireworks Laws?

dark-1845065_960_720It’s time once again to celebrate the 4th of July!  Millions of people will celebrate Independence Day throughout the country.  Often times, the first thing people think of when picturing a 4th of July celebration is fireworks.  While fireworks are very enjoyable to watch, there are some important things to keep in mind.

In Florida, many types of fireworks are illegal.  Though many people purchase fireworks and sign a waiver, this is actually a misdemeanor offense unless you are using the fireworks to frighten birds away from your crops.  As a general guideline, fireworks that do not fly or leave the ground are okay such as sparklers, colorful smoke bombs, and snakes.  Even fireworks such as Roman candles which seem tamer are not legal.

In addition to fireworks being illegal to purchase, many communities have restrictions in place regarding the use of fireworks in the neighborhood.  Board member Dan Isbell from Trillium of Brooksville communicated to residents regarding this issue.  “We live in close quarters and we need to be considerate of our neighbors and remain lawful,” Dan stated.  “Fireworks can disrupt needed sleep, can frighten babies and/or pets, and can cause tempers to flare.”  Most communities take a similar stance and will enforce the law regarding the use of fireworks.

This is certainly not to say you don’t deserve to celebrate the 4th of July while watching a beautiful fireworks display.  After some fun with cooking out and playing with sparklers, check your local area to find the nearest fireworks display.  These are abundant on 4th of July and often in the days leading up to it.  These shows are put on by professionals that have proper permitting and are able to do these displays in a safe manner.  Many of these displays are free also so bring the entire family to marvel at a lovely light show in the sky.  Most of all, have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day!

How to Enjoy Camping in the Summer in Florida

campfire-984020_960_720When you think of camping in Florida, most people picture themselves doing this during the milder fall and spring months.  However, summer can still be a wonderful time to go camping in Florida with a little planning.  The time of year is especially ideal since kids are out of school and it can be a very inexpensive family activity.  Follow these tips to have an enjoyable and memorable camping experience!

Water, water, water.  During the summer, your best bet is to find a great camping spot near the water.  Many beaches offer camping.  This is a perfect location since you can spend the day having fun in the sun, and at night you are getting the breeze from the water to keep it cooler than what you would find inland.  Many parks with natural springs also offer camping.  The springs are perfect for an afternoon or evening swim to cool off.  Also, be sure to bring plenty of drinking water!

Keep cool and dry.  Summer in Florida is marked by rain and/or heat.  Prepare for this by bringing a pop up shelter.  This can be set up outside of the tent or over it to provide additional shade and serve to protect you from afternoon rain showers.  Bringing rain jackets or ponchos is also a clever idea.  You can bring sealable plastic bags to protect any electronics or food items from water.  Consider packing a couple of battery powered fans to keep you cool inside of the tent at night.

Don’t get bugged.  Everyone knows mosquitos can be aggravating during the summer.  Bring some bug repellant that includes deet as an active ingredient to discourage pesky insects.  Also pack some anti-itch cream to soothe any bites that do occur.

Have fun!  Plan activities that the family can enjoy during your camping trip.  Swimming is ideal during the hottest part of the day.  Mornings are a great time to go on a nature scavenger hunt and see how many plants and animals you can spot.  In the evening, break out the cards or board games.  Of course, you can’t pass up telling stories around a campfire while roasting marshmallows!  Most of all just relax and enjoy the break from the hustle and bustle.

Don’t let the heat stop you from venturing out to enjoy a camping trip with the family.  Camping is a fantastic way to unplug from the stresses of everyday life and spend quality time with friends and family.  With a few preparations and the right campsite, you will beat the heat and have a trip to remember.