CategoryTips for Owners

Condo Association Committees 101


In this week’s 101 session, we’ll be covering Condo Association Committees.  What do they do?  How do you use them?  Where do babies come from?  Scratch that last one, wrong blog.   Your Committees are typically outlined in the bylaws of your Association.  They are, as you would expect, bodies that advise and support the Board in its activities.  Since an Association is made up of...

Thoughts on a Condo Association Employee Holiday Fund


Tis the season for giving!  I’ve alluded to the fact before that my building is pretty big compared to many Associations.  We have a sizeable staff when you include management, maintenance, housekeeping, etc.  For as long as I can remember, our building has had a condo association employee holiday fund.  It isn’t organized by the Board – a number of Owners have historically organized it...

Four Things to Watch Out for When Buying a New Condo


Buying a new condo, whether the building is newly constructed or a conversion is a goal for many buyers – for starters, the condo has that “new car smell.”  There are many good lists out there for tips on buying Condos in general – here’s a recent one I really liked – but new construction (or conversions) carry additional risks that you should be aware of...

How to Email your Condo Association to Get Results


Continuing this week’s theme of communications, today I’m going to give Owners some tips on how to email your condo association in a positive and effective way to get the results you want.  Bad stuff happens in home ownership – whether a house, townhouse, or condo.  With a regular house, if something breaks, you have the responsibility to fix it – pretty straightforward.  In an...

Lawyers and Condo Associations: Tips for Owners


“I’m going to call my lawyer!”  Welcome to America in the 21st century.  It seems even the most mild disagreements can escalate to someone defiantly exclaiming those six words.  The phrase has gotten so tired and so blustery that it often carries no weight.  For my building, our Management doesn’t even bother to tell us when owners threaten us with legal action unless they actually call a lawyer...

Condo Association Special Assessment 101


  The words “Special Assessment” are dreaded in Condo life.  A Condo Association Special Assessment means the community is having financial troubles and is out of money and needs to get money out of the normal budget cycle – hence the “special” in the name.  For a quick primer on financials, check out my Financials 101 article.  For a deep dive on Special Assessments, click here. What...

The Top Three Priorities for Condo Associations


Sometimes it seems that everything related to a Condo Association sucks.  If you’re an Owner, the Association seems out to get you at every turn.  If you’re a Board member, it feels like the building is full of whiners and every vendor wants to screw you.  For Management, it can seem like every Owner is intent on doing dumb things and your Board is out of control.  It can be easy to lose sight of...

Condo Association Finances 101


Time for a quick and dirty lesson on Condo Association finances.  There are three things that are the core of Condo finances: income, operating expenses, and reserves.  The goal of every Condo is to have income exceeding expenses and reserves, but not by too much, or you’re overcharging the Owners.  On the other hand, if you run too much of a deficit, you’re likely underfunding reserves, which...

How to Identify what Maintenance you are Responsible for in a Condo


In all likelihood, you pay a ton of condo fees every month, and that makes you think, “My maintenance is covered, I don’t have to do anything!”  This may be a dangerous and incorrect assumption.  Like everything else in your Condo life, what is and is not covered is completely dependent on what is in your Bylaws.  You may, in fact, not need to worry about anything.  On the other hand, you might...

Four Tips to Being a Responsible Condo Owner


Living in a Condo means that you have to be a responsible condo owner in you Association.  Many of the most common issues I see as a Board member are because people don’t follow these basic rules.  Who can blame them?  Associations are nebulous things — there to be ignored until you have a problem, want something from them, or they want something from you.       That’s one way to look at...

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