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Expected Upkeep Enforced by our Community Association Management Firms

The staff or volunteers you occasionally see walking around your community with clipboards or tablets are your association’s covenant enforcement officers. They’re inspecting the property to ensure that everything is working properly, that conditions are safe and that nothing is reducing property values or the quality of life in your Carolina community.

In short, they’re making sure policies and rules are being followed—from pet behavior, parking and unkempt lawns, to improper exterior modifications and more. They field complaints from fellow homeowners and, if necessary, remind you (or your neighbor) when a rule has been overlooked.

The officers report their findings to the Carolina Home Association board with photos and detailed notes. Most violations are easily resolved without board action. If not, the next step is a hearing before the board—we want to hear your side of the story. Those who continue to ignore rules may be fined or taken to more extreme measures. The most serious cases may end up in court, though we try very hard to never get to that point.

Your association’s covenant enforcement officers perform a vital function, so please treat them with courtesy and respect. If you have any questions about the rules, the officers can explain them to you. Your association manager and board members are happy to listen and respond to any concerns.

When you purchased your home in one of our common-interest communities in the Carolinas, you became contractually bound to abide by the covenants that protect your association. Please review them and ensure that you are in compliance. You can find them on our website.

The Sweet Smells of Selling Your Home

Your house in our homeowners association community is on the market and you’re ready to make a dynamic first impression on potential buyers. Besides making your house look and feel inviting, making sure it smells enticing can help generate interest during showings.  While tradition suggests that freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies will add a homey feel for guests, new research says that the smell of these baked goods may actually be overwhelming potential buyers.

According to The Wall Street Journal (“Using Smell to Make a Sale,” February 15, 2013), complex scents—like cookies and potpourri—can unintentionally distract potential buyers from focusing on your home because they could be subconsciously trying to decipher the aroma. Researchers tested this theory by adding various scents to a home décor store in Switzerland. Of the 402 people observed, consumers on average purchased 31.8 percent more when the store was scented with a simple scent—such as orange or vanilla—than when it was scented with a complex scent; consumers on average purchased 23.6 percent more when the store was scented with a simple scent than when it wasn’t scented at all.

Eric Spangenberg, Dean of the College of Business at Washington State University and member of the research team, says people selling their homes can apply the same principles. He recommends using simple scents such as lemon, pine or basil for showings because it’s easy for people to process these aromas. Without having their focus pulled away by complex smells, potential buyers can give more focus to the house and in turn be more open to spending. To ensure you’re home smells great, try using cleaning products that have a citrus smell, or use vanilla-scented candles or sprays in your home. Better yet, use the real thing to freshen up your house by bringing a basil plant into the kitchen during showings. Try to stick to one simple scent that unobtrusively permeates the house, and make sure your scent matches the atmosphere of your home, such as adding a pine or cedar scent to a log cabin.

Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

For any homeowner who has waited patiently for the real estate market to improve before putting a home up for sale, now is a great time to do so. After several sluggish years, home sales are experiencing a very healthy recovery.

Before you put the “for sale” sign in your front yard, take some time to read the following steps provided by your homeowners association to get your home ready for viewing by real estate agents and potential homebuyers.

  • De-clutter and de-personalize the interior by removing family photos, personal mementos and knickknacks from shelves and tabletops.
  • Pay special attention to the kitchen: Remove small appliances, like toaster ovens and coffee makers from counters. Take everything out of the cabinets and pantry and wash off shelves— repaint them if necessary—and only put a few items back. Arrange canned goods by size and height, and spices alphabetically. Stack dishes, glasses and cups neatly.
  • Clean out and rearrange closets and storage areas so they appear more spacious. Hang clothing items by type, for instance, with shirts buttoned and facing in the same direction and shoes lined up in rows. If necessary, rent a storage unit for any overflow items.
  • Make minor repairs, like caulking tubs and showers, patching walls and replacing cracked tiles and grout. Wash windows inside and out, and repaint any uniquely painted interior walls to make them a neutral color. Replace worn-out bedspreads, throw pillows, curtains and other fabrications. Air out the interior to eliminate any food or pet odors.
  • Make sure the lawn is mowed and bushes are trimmed Make your home more inviting by placing potted flowers on the porch and near the entry.

Don’t forget to check with your community association manager or board for rules about real estate signs![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Smooth Move: Tips for a Less Stressful Relocation

Whether your new home is just down the street, in a nearby town or across the country, moving can be stressful. There’s a lot of work to be done before that final box is unpacked, and it’s easy to overlook everything that needs to be done before your departure.

First, we’d hate to see you go if you’re leaving the HOA community, but we hope you enjoyed your home here. Before you head out, here are some important tips to help make this huge transition smoother:

Shipping Notes: If you’re shipping items, keep the shipment registration number with you. You may need this number when calling your mover and when tracking your shipments.

Bed Ready: Consider placing your sheets, blankets and towels in an easy-to-access place like a dresser drawer so you don’t have to go searching for them your first night in your new home.

Freshen the Fridge: If you’re bringing your refrigerator, thoroughly clean and dry the inside before passing it on to the movers. Be sure to put a handful of fresh coffee, baking soda or charcoal in a sock inside to keep it smelling fresh.

Pack Wisely: Don’t make the job harder than it needs to be – heavy items go in small boxes; lighter items go in larger boxes.

Safe Memories: Keep items that are significant to you, like pictures in your car. If something is irreplaceable, you don’t want to regret potentially losing it later. To keep items like framed photos or art safe, place sheets or blankets between them.

Protect Plates: Plates should be packed on end vertically, rather than flat and stacked.

Bare Necessities: Cell phones, chargers, toilet paper, toiletries, snacks, drinks, soap, flashlights, screwdrivers, pliers, can openers, paper plates, cups, utensils, some pans, paper towels and cleaning supplies are some of the essentials you may need upon arrival. Pack a box with these items, label it clearly and load it last.

Bulb Basics: Remove light bulbs from your lamps and pack them separately.

Involve the Kids: To keep them busy, ask your children to write their names and new address on the boxes for their room. Repetition like this will help them remember their new address.

Pet Care: On moving day, ask a friend or neighbor to watch your pet at their house. This will keep your pet calm, safe and out of the way.

Plant Care: Try not to let foliage rest against car windows; the leaves could burn due to glass intensifying sun rays.

Take the time to implement these tips to properly prepare for the move—it may seem like more work upfront, but ultimately it can save you lots of stress in the long run. Good luck, and don’t forget to say goodbye!