The AOC Property Management

THE ART OF PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

What's required?

Managing a home owners association has always been considered a difficult task. It's like running your own business. At the very least you need accounting support, a software package and volunteers willing to do the work.

This has all changed. There is finally a solution which allows board members to do exactly what they should be doing; managing the association. In a corporate environment you would not expect top management to be performing all the functions required to operate a business. Corporate management needs information which is reliable, current and easily accessible in order to make decisions.

This also holds true for associations. As a board member you need accurate information to make informed decisions. You need a process which allows member feedback and communication as well as a reliable process that performs all the operational functions for you. It must be easy to use, readily available and provide accurate and current data.

How do I get there?

To start you on the road to successful management there are 5 key factors:

Board structure and responsibilities

Most boards are organized based on the description set forth in their by laws. This usually identifies 4 board members: president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. The president is directly responsible for the overall running of the association. The vice-president oversees the committes and provides each committee with the guidance and support necessary to insure that they are able to effectively accomplish their goals. In addition, the vice president should approve all major expenditures and the weekly payroll. The treasurer is the primary check signer and his signature will appear on all system generated checks. He should also have the ability to generate manual checks whenever they are needed. The secretary is responsible for recording meeting minutes, broadcasting association announcements and ascertaining that the member information such as bylaws and insurance documents are kept current. Board members should not serve for more than six consecutive years. There should then be a four year interval before they are permitted to serve again.

Bylaws

In many cases the bylaws that are originally prepared and filed by the builders attorneys are just generic bylaws which do not relate to any specific community. As a result they are difficult to interpet thus making it very difficult to enforce. Bylaws need to meet the specific requirements of the association. They need to be clearly written, easily understood and readily available to all members. If this is not the case then you need to undertake a project to rewrite your bylaws. Once they are properly updated they need to be presented to and agreed to by the entire community. Once this is complete they then need to be filed with the applicable state agency.

Establishment of key committees

Committees play a major role in the management model. Key committees include maintenance, insurance and recreation. Committees typically have a minimum of 2 members and a maximum of 3 members. No experience is necessary in the particular areas represented by the committees. The objective is to control costs while obtaining the best possible service for the association. Following is a list of committes you may consider forming:

Finance: This is your community. You obviously have made a major financial committement and you are concerned about protecting this investment. Keeping costs under control is certainly a challenge, but not insurmountable. By using the model proposed in this report you will be able to evaluate and compare estimates for services you require. The finance committee is also responsible for reviewing monthly cash receipts and disbursements and the monthly financial statements. Remember keeping costs under control is the best way to ensure your maintain a reasonable monthly maintenance fee.

Maintenance: The maintenance committee is responsible for contacting vendors such as landscapers, electricians, plumbers and trash removal companies. Contractors should be provided with a detailed description of the associations' requirements. Based on the information provided to each contractor, written bids should be obtained. This process is critical to maintaining the overall costs of the association. A minimum of 3 bids should be received for each major expenditure.

Insurance: Insurance has become a major item in most associations' annual budget. Unfortunately we just keep renewing the same policy instead of evaluating it and obtaining new quotes from other insurance companies. This is a very competitive field and rates can differ significantly. So it behooves this committee to contact a number of companies and request quotes. Again, a minimum of 3 quotes should be received. This exercise is not required to be done every year, but should be performed every few years to be sure that you are obtaining the most competitive rates.

Recreation: Most associations have a swimming pool, tennis court and possibly a playground and clubhouse. All these areas require significant maintenance. The recreation committee needs to evaluate the extent of maintenance required each year and obtain the necessary bids. Once again, multiple bids should be obtained (minimum of 3) not only for the sake of determining cost but also for getting a variety of opinions as to the extent of the work to be done and the best way to approach it. Very often vendors will suggest different options for maintaining or repairing the recreation areas.

Primary support services

There are 4 primary support services every association needs:

Effective member communication

Having the ability to easily communicate with the associations' membership is a major advantage. DAYBREAK Property Management has dedicated an entire module to member communication. It includes a member comment program; on line voting and rating program; on line access to the member directory and board announcements; on line access to the associations' by laws, insurance policy and meeting minutes; access to individual member information such as invoices and statements.

How The AOC supports your management requirements

Up to this point we have discussed what's involved in managing an association. Based on this you can see that you probably have been performing most of these tasks if you are a current board member or participate on a committee. The next area describes the comprehensive support The AOC provides for managing associations.

We provide comprehensive accounting support, we provide your information technology support and we design, develop and maintain your associations' website. Every member receives a secure login, so they can access The AOC directly from any device that has an internet connection.

With The AOC you will be running your association using the most sophisticated property management system available. It is unique, since it was developed specifically to meet the needs of home owner associations. The AOC costs less than other services, but provides significantly more functionality and support. Remember, since it is internet based, you always have the information you need anytime, anywhere there is an internet connection.