We have strict accounting protocols in place that provide the highest level of security to your association funds. Learn more about fiscal responsibility at SCS.

Why HOAs Need Professional Management

Why HOAs Need Professional Management

There’s a lot more to community association management than you may realize. It’s much more than property management; it’s also about governance—enforcing rules for associations, conducting elections and more. Your home and your ownership interest in the common elements represent a huge asset—possibly your largest asset. Doesn’t it make sense to have a knowledgeable, trained, professional community association manager watching out for your interests? Consider all they have to offer.

  • Professional managers must be aware of many laws and regulations—corporate, labor and real estate laws, also federal laws and state statutes and government regulations.
  • ŸProfessional managers must work and communicate effectively with residents, resolve disputes and facilitate communications.
  • Ÿ Professional managers must have strong personnel management skills—hiring and supervising contractors and staff.
  • Ÿ Professional managers must have a working knowledge of finances, accounting, budget preparation, taxes and insurance.
  • Ÿ Professional managers must have a keen understanding of property maintenance—landscaping, repairs and replacements, facilities upkeep and mechanical maintenance.
  • Ÿ Professional managers coach and mentor the board members who govern the association. They help conduct meetings, supervise elections and ensure compliance with governing documents. Governance is one key area where property management and community management differ.

If you’d like to learn more about what an HOA Management firm does, please contact us.

The Value Of An Association Attorney

The Value of an Association Attorney

Like an HOA manager, a community’s legal counsel is one of the most important people – other than volunteers and residents – involved in our homeowners association. As a paid, integral member of the association’s professional team, the attorney is intimately familiar with what is happening in the community. And because community association law is complex and ever changing, the association’s attorney is knowledgeable in a wide variety of practice areas that can affect the association, including:

  • Premise liability
  • Construction warranty
  • Directors’ liability
  • Real estate
  • Contracts
  • Architectural design and review
  • Insurance
  • Employment
  • Taxation
  • Environmental law
  • Water regulation
  • Collections and foreclosure

The attorney doesn’t represent the board, individual board members, individual homeowners, any group of homeowners or the manager; he or she represents only the homeowners association. One person on the board has been designated as the contact with the legal counsel.

In addition to acting on the association’s behalf in legal matters, the attorney also advises the board on its responsibilities and obligations. And as board terms expire, the attorney acts as the de facto association historian as well, so that the board can provide continuity in policy-making and operations.

 

What The Accountant Does For HOA’s

What the Accountant Does for HOA’s

The accountant is a vital part of an association management’s professional team. A staff member or volunteer may take care of the bookkeeping for the association, but the certified public accountant is needed to conduct an audit at the end of the year. In addition, the accountant:

  • Conducts association financial audits.
  • Reviews financial data, answers financial questions and provides financial advice.
  • Participates in reserve studies and advises on reserve funding strategies.
  • Assists with budget preparation and long-term financial planning for homeowners.
  • Prepares association tax returns.
  • Makes presentations at meetings.
  • Helps obtain financing.
  • Educates board or committee members on financial matters.
  • Develops accounting policies and procedures and recommends internal controls.
  • Prepares monthly or quarterly financial statements.

The association accountant is a valuable partner who works closely with the association manager and the board to ensure your assessments are managed and invested wisely and legally.

 

Call An Electrician

Call an Electrician

Finding a contractor who will perform quality work at a reasonable price can be a daunting task. It’s always a good idea to ask for references and check them. It’s also smart to contact the Better Business Bureau and your state-licensing bureau to see if there are complaints against a prospective contractor. The following warning signs can alert you to unscrupulous, disorganized, inexperienced or financially troubled contractors who may deliver broken promises, bad work and blown budgets rather than professional results.

 

First Impressions: In any business, first impressions are important. How a contractor presents himself and maintains his truck, tools and equipment are good indicators of how well he’ll take care of you and your job. He should look neat and professional, and his vehicles and equipment should be clean and in good condition.

Beware Low Bids: Price is always an important consideration when selecting a contractor, but don’t let a low price or a special deal blind you to a potential problem — both can be signs that you should be wary. A bid far lower than others may indicate the contractor isn’t experienced enough to know the actual cost of the job or he never intends to finish the work. Disreputable contractors may bid low to secure a contract and then tack on extra charges as the job progresses.

Take Your Time: If you are pressured during the bidding process by tactics such as “limited-time offers,” look for a different contractor. Hiring a contractor is not a split-second decision. For this reason, many states give homeowners three days to cancel a home improvement contract — without obligation — after signing it. A prospective contractor should take his time as well, carefully reviewing the specifications of your job before submitting his bid. If he doesn’t take notes and measurements and make material and labor calculations, or if he simply names a price based on a similar job, he may not be detail-oriented or thorough enough to do a good job.

Beware Materials Discount: A prospective contractor may offer you a discount, hoping to earn your future business following a job well done. But be wary if a contractor offers materials at a discounted rate. Small contractors rarely buy materials in the high volumes necessary to yield big discounts, and unless they severely overestimated quantities for a previous job, they rarely stock large inventories of material. Discounted materials are usually seconds, ungraded or below-grade minimums for code, any of which would compromise the quality of your project.

Only 20% Up Front: While the price may be right, what about the terms of payment? In general, don’t choose a contractor who asks for more than 20 percent of the total cost of a job up front. While some projects require a large initial payment to cover a deposit for products like cabinets or special-order ceramic tile, it doesn’t apply to commodity materials like roofing and lumber. In that case, a legitimate contractor will usually purchase on account with at least 30 days to pay.

Beware Cash-Only Jobs: Finally, a contractor who works on a cash-only basis raises a big red flag. Not only does paying in cash limit your financial recourse if problems arise, but the contractor is likely not operating a legitimate business, which includes paying taxes and insurance. Look elsewhere for a professional to perform the work.

 

 

Contractor Caution

Contractor Caution

Finding a contractor who will perform quality work at a reasonable price can be a daunting task. It’s always a good idea to ask for and check references and to contact the Better Business Bureau and your state-licensing bureau to see if there are complaints against a prospective contractor. The following warning signs can alert you to unscrupulous, disorganized, inexperienced or financially troubled contractors who may deliver broken promises, bad work and blown budgets rather than professional results.

First Impressions: In any business, first impressions are important. How a contractor presents himself and maintains his truck, tools and equipment are good indicators of how well he’ll take care of you and your job. He should look neat and professional, and his vehicles and equipment should be clean and in good repair.

Beware Low Bids: Price is always an important consideration when selecting a contractor, but don’t let a low price or a special deal blind you to a potential problem—both can be signs that you should be wary. A bid far lower than others may indicate the contractor isn’t experienced enough to know the actual cost of the job or he never intends to finish the work. Disreputable contractors may bid low to secure a contract and then tack on extra charges as the job progresses.

Take Your Time: If you are pressured during the bidding process by tactics such as “limited-time offers,” look for a different contractor. Hiring a contractor is not a split-second decision; for this reason, many states give homeowners three days to cancel a home improvement contract — without obligation — after signing it. A prospective contractor should take his time as well, carefully reviewing the specifications of your job before submitting his bid. If he doesn’t take notes and measurements and make material and labor calculations, or if he simply names a price based on a similar job, he may not be detail-oriented or thorough enough to do a good job.

Beware Materials Discount: A prospective contractor may offer you a discount, hoping to earn your future business following a job well done, but be wary if a contractor offers materials at a discounted rate. Small contractors rarely buy materials in the high volumes necessary to yield big discounts, and unless they severely overestimated quantities for a previous job, they rarely stock large inventories of material. Discounted materials are usually seconds, ungraded or below-grade minimums for code, any of which would compromise the quality of your project.

Only 20% Up Front: While the price may be right, what about the terms of payment? In general, don’t choose a contractor who asks for more than 20 percent of the total cost of a job up front. While some projects require a large initial payment to cover a deposit for products like cabinets or special-order ceramic tile, it doesn’t apply to commodity materials like roofing and lumber, which a legitimate contractor will usually purchase on account with at least 30 days to pay.

Beware Cash-Only Jobs: Finally, a contractor who works on a cash-only basis raises a big red flag. Not only does paying in cash limit your financial recourse if problems arise, the contractor is likely not operating a legitimate business, which includes paying taxes and insurance. Look elsewhere for a professional to perform the work.