Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Present Topics in Groups of Three

“People remember roughly three distinct things from any event, lecture, meeting, book or article,” says, Art Markman, a recognized cognitive physiologist. “This limitation arises because your memory wants to focus on interconnected facts, rather than distinct and independent pieces of information.”

In practice, that means HOA managers and leaders should generally:

For meetings and presentations pick only three main or most important topics to be covered, at anyone time.

Then, focus on just those three items, at a time.

Thirdly, make sure you tell them the three items, discuss the three and then remind everyone of the three (this is the old adage: tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them). 

“I have lost count of the number of meetings I have attended in which the agenda is crammed until it is ready to burst,” noted Markman. “I frequently go to lectures — some of them by researchers who spend their lives studying human memory — in which the speaker makes eight different points in an hour and every person leaves the room with a different impression of what the talk was about.”

Having attended thousands of HOA meetings, there is no question the ones with the most focused agendas, accomplished the more.  Interestingly, it also seems the shorter the meeting, the more that actually gets done. Focus really does count.

While the power of three strategy may not work for all community association meetings all the time, it will often get HOAs better results. 

Read more about effective HOA management at

Monday, February 7, 2011

Does Your Community Pool Have to Comply?

New rules ADA rules may apply to your HOA swimming pool. 

The fairly complex set of new regulations may or may not apply for an apartment complex, a condominium, or a community association depending on several factors. While the ADA does not affect any type of private community such as a condominium or a homeowners association, unless a condominium or homeowners association operates an element of public accommodation within its premises, this element would be subject to ADA regulations.

Also, the entity will be deemed a place of public accommodation, and therefore subject to the ADA, when it "affects commerce" and is "open to the public."  Any exchange of money is likely to be found to "affect commerce."

The take away on this should be -- talk to your community association managers and lawyers.  Randy Fann, PCAM at AMG has been studying this topic and is a good first resource, however, in most cases HOA's should probably check with legal advisers.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Why Associations Need Reserves

Equipment and major components (like the roofs) must be replaced from time to time, regardless of whether we plan for the expense. We prefer to plan and set the funds aside now. Reserve funds aren't an extra expense—they just spread out expenses more evenly.  There are other important reasons we put association monies into reserves every month:
1. Reserve funds meet legal, fiduciary, and professional requirements. A replacement fund may be required by:
  • Any secondary mortgage market in which the association participates (e.g., Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA).
  • State statutes, regulations, or court decisions.
  • The community's governing documents.
2. Reserve funds provide for major repairs and replacements that we know will be necessary at some point in time. Although a roof may be replaced when it is 25 years old, every owner who lives under or around it should share its replacement costs.

3. Reserve funds minimize the need for special assessments or borrowing. For most association members, this is the most important reason.

4. Reserve funds enhance resale values. Lenders and real estate agents are aware of the ramifications for new buyers if the reserves are inadequate. Many states require associations to disclose the amounts in their reserve funds to prospective purchasers.

5. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) requires the community association to disclose its reserve funds in its financial statements.

These are just a few of the reasons associations need reserves.  Call you local AMG office or 888-908-4AMG to discuss not only why reserves are needed but how we can help HOAs implement a reserve strategy for your association.

See More AMG Articles at:

What AMG Offers --

Lower Fees, Better Services, Higher Value

For over 25 years, AMG has been the Carolinas leading property management company for homeowner and condominium associations. What we know, that many others seem not to understand, is communities are supposed to be fun, happy places!

The National Accredited AMG organization brings the industry's top professionals and finest resources together for one purpose - to deliver exactly what your association residents need.

AMG is the only association management company in the Carolinas able to leverage our strong business relationships and experience to enhance property values, increase resident services, lower costs and make the community a happier even better place to live.