How to Choose the Perfect Management Company

Choosing the Right Community Management .png

There are many choices when it comes to association management companies.  While finding the right company for your community may seem challenging, we’re here to make it easier. Here are the main aspects you should look at when considering a management company:

How long has the company been in business?

The management of your association can directly impact the property values in your community so it is important to engage a qualified and experienced management company. If a company has been in the business for a while, they will be able to provide more references, quality vendors, and a high level of confidence in their abilities.

What is the average tenure of the Community Association Managers?

Experienced managers that hold professional designations bring a higher level of professionalism to the position.  They have the knowledge, dedication, and commitment to their industry and will be both a benefit to community and a resource to the boards in which they serve.

Does the company participate in education for both employees and board members? 

Reputable management companies invest in and provide education and training for both their employees and the board members in which they serve.  It should be the management company’s priority to provide educated, professional and accurate training, advice and guidance on important issues relating to Association Management to their board members.

What services does the company offer? 

It is important that the management company offers the services needed for your community.  Understand what type of company, their mission and values and make sure you know what services are included prior to signing the contract.

Can you visit their office?

Being able to visit your community association management can be a relief. It provides a higher level of connection and allows you to gather insight about the company and how they are able to meet your community’s needs.  Your management company will effectively be part of your team and getting to know them and the culture of the company can make the difference between a decent experience and a great one.

How do they manage associations similar to yours?

Any management company should be able to provide names of HOA and condo associations they manage as well as specific references you can contact.  These communities should be well-run and similar in size and type as your community. If your community is unique in many ways, find out what they will be able to do specifically for the quirks in your community.

What is their communication style?

Clear communications between the board and the management company is the basis for a productive and successful relationship.  Ask about responsiveness, find out if they have any additional support teams, and how the management company typically communicates with the board to determine if this will meet your expectations. Make sure to get any necessary contact information to make it easy for your residents to know who to call.

Final Thoughts

Finding a good fit for your community can be a rewarding venture. Make sure to go into the meeting expressing the expectations and priorities of the board and any and all requirements you will have.  In your initial meeting, have these main aspects in mind and you will have an easier time determining the capabilities as well as the “personality” of the management company and identify if they would be a good choice for your community.

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Decorating with Flair… While Keeping it Fair

WordPress Blog_ Community Decorations

 

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.

 

Community Spotlight: Belle Vista on Lake Conway

This edition of Community Spotlight features Belle Vista on Lake Conway. This picturesque community consists of 102 homes and is located on beautiful Lake Conway in Orlando.  The association is in a great location, convenient to downtown Orlando, and many shops and restaurants.

Founded in 2007, this homeowner controlled community features a beautiful gated entrance, a large fountain, and two playgrounds which are favorite amenities within the association. Families enjoy taking their children to play there.

Leland CAM April Kaiser states that the gorgeous, well-maintained homes are one of her favorite things about the association. Leland began managing the association in December of 2012.  Since then, Leland and the board has worked together to make many improvements to the association.  Pot holes have been repaired throughout the road system, the entire irrigation system was mapped and upgraded, the exterior entrance walls were repainted, the pergola at the entrance has been pressure washed, Christmas decorations are now coordinated, and two fountains were changed out.  The board at Belle Vista is committed to making sure the neighborhood is beautiful and well taken care of for all residents.

In the future, the community will be adding a Virtual Gate Guard which will be a great security feature for the association. The landscaping layout around the pond is also on the agenda.  The board and Leland will continue to work diligently to ensure that all owners in Belle Vista have a great experience and can enjoy their home and community daily

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Summer Series – Bicycle Safety

School is out and summer days are here.  With that in mind, kids everywhere are jumpingkids-on-bicycles on their bikes to go from place to place. While overall this is a good thing, more exercise for your kids, it is important that everyone follows the safety guidelines for biking in your area.

When you are riding your bike, dressing “fashionable” is not as important as dressing practically. Wear clothes that are neon or bright colored, this will allow drivers to spot you from a further distance. One should wear close toed shoes and stay away from flip flops, sandals, and any other form of open toed shoe as wearing them could hurt your feet. Tying up long hair and keeping things like scarves off the bike will help prevent things from getting stuck in your chain and ruining your bike ride.

Always make sure you plan your route before leaving the house so someone knows where you are going. You should also avoid areas of high traffic, and find bike-friendly streets or trails. It is also important to be audible towards pedestrians and runners so that you do not startle them. Using hand signals is a good way to prevent an accident, as it lets the driver behind you know what you are planning to do. Finally, children should always let someone know where they are going and check in once they get there.

Biking is a fun way to exercise as well as an efficient and eco-friendly means of getting from place to place. By being safe and following the rules you can make it an even more enjoyable experience for you and your entire family.

Does Your Community have Resident Coyotes?

Coyotes in Central Florida
Coyotes in Central Florida

Coyotes are interacting with the residents of central Florida at an increasing rate.  This is primarily due to the fact that the increase in the construction of new neighborhoods is  cutting into their natural habitats in the surrounding wooded areas. These animals, who once had many acres to live and hunt are now being “downsized” into small sections surrounded by humans.  The coyotes are finding themselves with little hunting grounds and are frequenting the developments to find their next meal looking at food sources such as garbage cans and small house pets left out unattended at night. Coyotes have become emboldened by the fact that they have been unopposed in this area for so long, and are starting to become more at home as nighttime bandits in neighborhoods.

Residents have been advised to take precautions such as keeping their pets on leashes when they walk them, do not let their pets out unattended at night, and to carry an air horn or other loud noise maker  that would startle and scare the animals away if approached. Residents have also been urged not to go out by themselves when it is dark outside and if they do encounter a coyote, be as “large” and loud as possible (stand tall, wave your arms and scream and yell loudly).  For more information on what to do if you encounter a coyote please visit http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/coyotes/tips/hazing_guidelines.html

Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Did you know 15% of pet owners have had a neighbor complain about their fluffy friends? Here at Leland Management we receive consistent complaints about neighborhood dogs from residents. Ranging from barking to bathroom choices, we have heard them all with one resident distributing flyers throughout his community and another starting a petition.  While it’s true some owners might be inconsiderate and not care how the noise affects others, most are simply not aware of the barking or that their neighbors are annoyed. Hurt feelings, anger and frustration — on both sides — make for a very stressful situation. Here are a few tips that we have found are helpful for both parties.

  1. A common trigger for consistent barking is boredom. Before you leave the house plan a walk or play session with your dog to stimulate his attention.
  2. Leave treat filled toys around the house that present a challenge for your dog. The time and energy spent with the toys will distract him/her from any outside stimulus.
  3. Buy an anti-barking collar. This may seem harsh for an act that comes naturally to dogs but there are non-pain collars that produce desired results by emitting a vibration when he/she barks.
  4. Finally, take an olive branch to your neighbor and explain that you are working on the problem and would appreciate his or her feedback. Your neighbor can be a great help in solving the problem, since he or she is home during the day and might be able to help you identify when your dog is barking. Ask your neighbor to keep a log ofdog-barking when and how long your dog is barking, and if he noticed anything that might have triggered the barking in the first place. This might be the detective work you need to get to the bottom of the barking, as well as a way for your neighbor to be part of the solution.

Leland and your community association manager are not able to step-in in this area. If you feel the complaint needs to be addressed by someone other than your neighbors the best thing to do is call city hall.

For more information about ways to curb consistent barking visit http://www.petfinder.com/dogs/dog-problems/dog-barks-left-alone/

Giving Back at Home, Volunteer at your HOA

There are a lot of ways to be involved in your  home owners association. One of the most important is to serve on the Board. Serving on the Board will allow you to be involved with the decisions of the community as well as give you the chance to meet your fellow homeowners.   Being on the Board will allow you to hear and understand other people’s perspectives on topics affecting your neighborhood and will “broaden your horizons”, giving you exposure to many new concepts, ideas and challenges.  Another benefit of being on the Board of your HOA is that you have the ability to provide input first hand on how to keep your community beautiful and a great place to live.

Often communities are looking for people to help out, if you have any interest contact your current Board and ask them for more information.

Look for further installments in this series on the benefits of giving back to your community.

Giant Snails Invade Florida!

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African Snail Photo Courtesy of Huffingtonpost.com

In our animal series; we have brought you coyotes, wild boars, and bears.  Now we bring you SNAILS.

Believe it;  Giant African Land Snails are here in Florida and multiplying rapidly.  These giants are large terrestrial snails that can reach up to 8” in length and 4” in diameter (about the size of an adult fist). They  are illegal in the United States and highly invasive;  causing damage to residential buildings (by eating stucco),  Florida agricultural and humans (by carrying parasites that are a risk to human health).  In the past year, the Florida Agriculture Department has observed increasing agriculture and residential damage in the south Florida area.  Scientists are making an effort to eradicate these snails before they spread into the counties of central Florida.    Residents are urged to call the Department of Agriculture’s toll free number 1-888-397-1571 if they see a snail or know of anyone who is in possession of a one.   For more information visit http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/gals/, or watch the 30 second public service announcement http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxSjkgci8xw&list=UUOEVfDmL7FdFVIAoQYZFZtA&index=4&feature=plcp

Leland Management Activities Director Chris Olney becomes a Published Author

Chris Olney
Chris Olney

Chris Olney, Activity Director for SummerGlen in Ocala, has published her first book entitled: “Whispering Quail and the Lost Ankh Ring.”  She began writing the young adult fiction/fantasy 3 years ago on a creative whim. Chris is also the illustrator for the book and designed the cover.

The book tells the story of a bitter man that is taught the act of kindness and humility with the help of a few odd and unusual creatures. He travels back in time through a spinning vortex and lands in another realm where time stands still.  The man’s journey is thwarted by an evil witch, and a conniving thief that are both on a quest for a powerful ancient ring.

You can read “Whispering Quail and the Lost Ankh Ring.” through Amazon.com. Click Kindle books and type her name in the search engine.

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Unusual Animal Stories From a Florida Community Association

Neighborhoods in central Florida get a lot more unusual animals than you would think. In the Royal Highlands community in Leesburg, Florida they have seen it all from cows to coyotes to pigs. One resident told us that one day she got a call about a “drunk” cow wandering around the streets. She says that the cow was acting in a drunkenly manner due to the fact that it had eaten a few Lantana plants.   In the same association a landscaper saw a group of piglets calling a thicket on the main boulevard home. I think it is safe to say that both the landscaper and the piglets were both very surprised. The animals we see around here vary greatly from the local species of alligators and squirrels to the not so local species of pigs and coyotes.   In the next few weeks we will be sharing unusual animal sightings from around Florida.  Do you have an unusual animal story, please share it with us.

Pigs seen at Royal Highlands Community Associaiton
Pigs seen at Royal Highlands Community Associaiton