Decorating with Flair… While Keeping it Fair

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Decorating is one of the most fun aspects of the holidays. It’s the time of the year when your lawn goes from the same everyday style to a winter wonderland. If you’re in a community with an HOA or are looking to keep everyone in your neighborhood happy, this one’s for you.

Keep it Tasteful

It’s very easy to get carried away with holiday decorations, Christmas and Halloween especially. Keep in mind, that while it’s on your own lawn, everyone in the neighborhood will be subjected to anything you place on display. If your Holiday lights create too much light pollution, you may need to keep them off during respectable hours so as to not wake any of your neighbors up. Lights that blink or are too bright can be subject to local ordinances as well. These rules vary by city or county and violations could result in ticketing and fining.

As tempting as going extreme Holiday decorating is, it’s not worth giving yourself a record.

Talk With Your Neighbors

If you’re new to the area or want to start decorating this year, try asking a community member about decorating policies for your community. Talking with the people who live around you creates a sense of Holiday cheer and helps you stay in good graces with people you could be living next to for a while. It’s not always possible to please everyone but stick with a good balance of your own tastes with your communities.

Community Policies

Does your community have an HOA? Does that HOA prohibit year round decorations, lights, or signage? Some communities are more lenient for the Holidays and are worth the quick chat with your association members to find out. Keep in mind that these rules and regulations are contractually enforceable in your neighborhood.

Keeping the Peace

There are a multitude of ways to celebrate this Holiday season. It may be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or maybe nothing at all. Many neighborhoods are multi-cultural, and part of being a good neighbor is to respect everyone’s right to celebrate how they choose.

This is the time of year to think about each other.

If you have a theme for your front yard, be polite and kind about your presentation and do your part to keep peace in your neighborhood for the Holiday season.

Bottom Line

The best way to keep your Holiday Decorating stress-free is to research, talk with your neighbors and community members, and to be thoughtful in your planning.

 

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Why You Need An Association Management Company

 

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It can be overwhelming to manage community associations. There’s a lot that goes in to making sure a community is at its best and finding an experienced management company can be very beneficial to helping a community succeed and save time, stress, and money.

Essential Facts About Association Management Companies

Association Management Company (n.) is a third party company that saves you a lot of headache by managing the day to day operations for a community’s governance and policies otherwise known as an HOA as well as offer services to make your life easier.

Association Management Companies are not the HOA.

Residents may decide to share responsibilities for maintaining their community and agree on certain rules and proposals. The Homeowners Association is born and the board members are made up of residents within that community to create a budget, handle proposals, and assist with maintenance of common areas, etc. The residents pay dues to the HOA or Community based on a proposed budget.

Association Management Companies are outside of the actual HOA and are responsible for administering and enforcing the community’s policies and guidelines. They also communicate with the board, analyze financials, handle the day to day functions, and perform maintenance of common areas.

They Care.

The overall goal of Association Management Companies is to enhance a community and the homes within it. This is done by paying close attention to the physical aspects, like landscaping and amenities, and by listening to resident needs. Staying up to date on the latest technology offers the best to their clients and the residents within the community.

Association Management Companies Come With A Skilled Team

They have Accountants, Trained Customer Support, Web Designers, IT Specialists and more, devoted to supporting Community Association Managers and their communities. The team keeps up with the education, certifications and accreditations to provide the best service to each community they work with. Some of the ones to look for are:

  • Professional Community Managers (PCAM)
  • Certified Community Manager of Associations (CMCA)
  • Accredited Association Management Companies (AAMC)
  • Association Management Specialists (AMS)

Some Aspects Association Management Companies Take Care Of:

  • Perform regular inspections of the common areas and facilities for condition and maintenance needs.
  • Prepare monthly management reports summarizing significant events and actions.
  • Work with and monitor performance of maintenance workers and confirm they are properly insured.
  • Perform regular inspections of the physical appearance and condition member properties to assess compliance with policies, restrictions, and by-laws.
  • Follow up on complaints of violations or maintenance issues received for the community.
  • Issue violation notices and work to resolve a violation in accordance with guidelines and policies.
  • Provide assistance in obtaining property and liability insurance and in reporting and filing of insurance claims on behalf of the association.

Hiring an Association Management Company Will Give You:

Stress Free Management

Having someone dedicated to answering resident needs, address their concerns, assist with time consuming repairs and appliance replacements takes the stress off resident’s shoulders.

Fewer Legal Issues

Experience and knowledge add a lot to the table when it comes to keeping everything up to code and knowing how to properly plan and budget for maintenance, repairs and disasters to keep your property or community safe and hopefully out of the courtroom.

Great Service for Clients

Community Association Managers are good with people and generally want the best for their clients and the community’s association. This can mean helping you figure out the community taxes or advising you on how to handle certain situations. Experienced management teams will already have a large list of vendors they have good relationships with and make finding a handyman or electrician easy and reliable to hire.

 

Final Thoughts

Investing in association management is a great move and you don’t have maintain your community alone. Scenarios can change from situation to situation and choosing the right management group means everything. Why not contact Leland Management and have a conversation about your community needs?

 

 

 

 

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.

8 reasons why we stand out final

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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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.

The Importance Of Staying Hydrated During The Summer Months

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Summer means swimming, sports and other outdoor activities. It also means extreme heat and humidity. When you mix physical activity with the summer sun, it can be easy to become dehydrated.

There are several things to keep in mind before sending your kids off to summer camp, the beach and sports conditioning camps, or engaging in summer activities yourself.

Always have water handy

Many believe that eight glasses of water a day is standard for healthy hydration. However, you want to consider drinking at least 12 to 15 glasses a day during the summer months, especially if you are very active and frequently outdoors.

For those engaging in physical activity in the summer heat, such as runners and athletes, make sure to always have a water bottle with you and access to a water source for refills.

Listen to your body

Your body will send warning signals when it’s dehydrated, including extreme fatigue, haziness and dark urine. If you are experiencing these symptoms, grab a glass of cold water as soon as possible. Drinking water will immediately help you feel better and more alert.

In some situations, like when swimming or at the beach, it may be harder to detect dehydration since you’re submerged in water. However, being in water does not hydrate your body. You still need to drink water to avoid dehydration.

Avoid sugary drinks and caffeine

If you are feeling dehydrated, reaching for a soda will not help the problem. The caffeine and sugar in some drinks cannot replace the fluids you lose when you sweat like water can, and they can actually dehydrate you even more. The same is true for alcohol.

It’s also important to have a diet that includes water-rich foods such as vegetables and fruits.

Staying hydrated is important as the summer months approach, and you should never put your health at risk by not consuming enough fluids. Make note of how much water you drink every day and talk to your kids about their activity and consumption habits as well.

Source: UCF College of Medicine