Saturday, January 28, 2017

Things Your Closing Agent Will Do To Prepare For Closing Day

That day, the day you have been waiting for - Closing Day. Your closing day – the day you meet with the seller, your real estate agents, title or escrow agents, mortgage broker and any other party involved in the transaction – is the day you officially own your home.

There are several factors involved in this process as you complete the process and sign on the dotted line. When buyers look at condos or homes in a HOA, their first question is often how much are the association fees. 

One of the first critical steps after your transaction is opened by the escrow officer is obtaining a complete package of Homeowners Association (HOA) documents for the Buyer’s review.  Bylaws and CC&Rs are written into the deed of your house and are provided to the buyer at closing. You will also need the extra funds to cover HOA Transfer fees (if applicable) and any upfront dues and assessments.

Here are just a few things the closing agent will do to obtain the information for your closing.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

A Special Tribute on Martin Luther King's Day

I In observance of Martin Luther King Day, Paul Mengert would like to share the following photos
Paul Mengert with Clarence Jones (March 2015)

Clarence B. Jones is the former personal counsel, advisor, draft speech writer and close friend of Martin Luther King Jr. He is a Scholar in Residence at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute at Stanford University. He is the author of What Would Martin Say? and "Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation."

In 1962, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a letter recommending his lawyer and advisor, Clarence B. Jones, to the New York State Bar, stating: “Ever since I have known Mr. Jones, I have always seen him as a man of sound judgment, deep insights, and great dedication. I am also convinced that he is a man of great integrity”.

Matt and Paul Mengert at the Edmund Pettus Bridge (March 2015)

The Edmund Pettus Bridge was the site of the conflict of Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965, when armed policemen attacked civil rights demonstrators with billy clubs and tear gas as they were attempting to march to the Alabama state capital of Montgomery. 

Televised images of the brutal attack presented Americans and international audiences with horrifying images of marchers left bloodied and severely injured, and roused support for the Selma Voting Rights Movement. Amelia Boynton, who had helped organize the march as well as marching in it, was beaten unconscious.

The bridge was declared a National Historic Landmark on March 11, 2013.

Friday, January 13, 2017

AMG Raises $100k for North Carolina Food Bank

Paul Mengert, CMCA, PCAM, president and CEO of the North Carolina-based Association Management Group, AAMC, and his wife and AMG co-founder, May Gayle Mengert, AMS, vice president of AMG Triangle, presented a check for $100,000 to beneficiaries of the 2016 Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTI) Run on the Runway in September.

The Mengerts co-chaired the 2016 PTI event, which was held on the 9,000-foot PTI Airport runway in Greensboro, N.C., in June and included 5K, lOK, and 1 mile runs, as well as a kids' race. This year's fundraiser more than doubled the amount raised at the 2015 Run on the Runway.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina and two of its partner food assistance agencies, Greensboro Urban Ministry and Open Door Ministry of High Point, N .C., will receive equal shares of the proceeds. "We live in what we believe is the most advanced country in the world, in thriving neighborhoods," said Paul Mengert of the event, now in its seventh year." Yet there are families who live and work within a few blocks or miles of us who don't have enough food to feed their children."

"I give Paul credit," says PTI Executive Director Kevin J. Baker. "He set a lofty goal and then led the team to achieve it. And he did it with a mixture of sponsors and donations from the community." More than 60 businesses and organizations helped to sponsor this year's run, according to Baker.

In addition to registration fees, event participants were asked to bring two non-perishable food items when they signed up for the run. As a result, the fundraiser collected nearly a ton of food to be distributed in addition to the '$100,000.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

4 Ways You Can Get Involved In Your HOA This Year

Usually, you only really hear about your community when something bad happens or there is some sort of conflict with the homeowners association, but it shouldn’t be that way.  Make it one of your goals this year to be more active in the HOA and your neighborhood by doing your part to help improve things. 

Even small steps, like getting to know your neighbors on a more personal level can matter.  If everyone does their part and tries their best, you will find yourself smiling a lot more when you’re out for a walk.  Here are a few examples of the various ways you can better your community.

Volunteer To Serve On Your HOA Board

This would be the most direct line of approach for making improvements to the homeowners association. HOA Boards have considerable authority and responsibility to govern the community. If you want to have a hand in policy-making, vetting homeowners’ concerns or strengthening leadership, this is the best way to go about doing that.  It may take a sizable amount of time, energy, and resources to get there, but it’s the best way to make your voice heard.  As a homeowner, you have a big stake in the value and safety of your community. Perhaps you own a home or condo that is part of a community and that provide amenities, such as a clubhouse, pool, playground and more.  The best way to help your community is to volunteer with your homeowner’s association. This volunteer position will give you a voice in the HOA.

Most of the business decisions made at a board meeting have a direct impact on the property values of our community. But whether they effect property values directly or indirectly they all have some impact on each member of the community.

Participate in a Committee

If you do not want to be on the board you can volunteer on a smaller scale. A much easier and accessible way to get involved with your community is to join a committee that helps assist the HOA in daily tasks and organizing.  You can go hands-on with improving the roads, sidewalks, and land, or be involved with handling all the paperwork that goes along with keeping the community in good standing.  Some committees are great to join just to find common interests and goals with neighbors that you don’t get to see often. If your board opens up committees for events, holidays or community clean ups, you can help out by volunteering on a committee.

Attend Board Meetings

Whether you do or do not join a committee, you should still be making it a priority to attend all announced public meetings.  HOA board meetings are a good place to express your thoughts and feelings about changes in the community.  Nothing makes their jobs easier than actually receiving feedback from homeowners.  Besides, if you have a problem, you should not assume that your job is done after bringing it up.  Attending meetings can keep you aware of changes, upgrades, renovations and changes in rules that will be coming in your HOA. Most HOA's will post a meeting agenda so you can see the issues that will be presented.
If you've never attended an HOA meeting you may not understand the role that you, as a homeowner, play in making those decisions, then you just might change your mind and choose to attend a meeting.

Plan Community Events

A community that parties together, bonds together, a wise man once said.  It’s okay if you have a neighborhood that is fairly reserved and private.  The best icebreaker to get your community more involved is to throw an event that is all-inclusive and accessible for everyone.  First, take a survey of which calendar date would be the most convenient and achieve the highest attendance, then offer cheap/free snacks and drinks, then sprinkle in some light-hearted games and activities. 

Try to throw a few events every year so that everyone has a chance to go.  Try to get lots of input on what your neighbors like for music and/or entertainment, so that it makes them feel more included.

Building a great community takes hard work, dedication, and a positive attitude.  If you keep at it, your efforts will be paid in-turn with a community that protects and supports each other.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

AMG Welcomes 2017

We are excited to ring in 2017, which comes on the heels of Association Management Group’s most successful year ever. In 2016, AMG saw unparalleled growth in terms of both clients and employees.

AMG welcomed many new community associations to our client family in 2016, in fact a record number. And we were also pleased to welcome back several communities that had experimented with other managers, but decided to return to AMG.

In addition, AMG hired several outstanding and experienced new community managers to ensure our customers continue to receive excellent service. Our 2016 Satisfaction Survey indicates that AMG continued our 98% (or in some cases higher) satisfaction rating.

Our strong focus on client satisfaction led us to introduce several key innovations, including:
- 24-hour customer-service desk.
- Streamlined maintenance tracking system.
- Additional support staff team members.

AMG will continue to invest in our employees and technology, building upon our more than 30 years of experience to keep the several hundred condominiums, townhome and planned unit developments we serve in North and South Carolina running smoothly.

As one of the Carolinas' most established and capable property managers, AMG looks forward to another record-breaking year.

On behalf of all of the AMG team, I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.

Paul K. Mengert, President

Monday, January 2, 2017

Senator Hembree pre-files bill to regulate SC Homeowners Associations

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – South Carolina Senator, Greg Hembree, pre-filed a bill to require more regulation of Homeowners Associations in the state.
Hembree said he’s received complaints about a lack of education for HOA board members as well as huge fees to take HOA disputes to court.
“Homeowners Associations are virtually unregulated in South Carolina,” said Hembree. “All over the country there are as many ideas about how to regulate these things as there are states.”
Hembree said the bill hopes to address the major complaints he hears about HOA’s.
The first is a lack of education.
“The people on the boards sometimes just don’t know anything about what they’re doing,” said Hembree.”They’re volunteers. They’re well-meaning but they just don’t know what’s involved with being on the board of an HOA.”
The bill would make the Real Estate Commission develop a free, online, four-hour course designed to be a “Homeowners Association 101” training course.
Hembree said another issue people discussed was not getting a copy of their rules and regulations prior to signing a contract.
“So they signed the contract to buy something they really didn’t know what they were getting,” he added.
The bill would require the seller to provide access to the covenants and restrictions prior to signing a contract.
The third part of the bill would make most disputes with HOA’s go to magistrates court instead of circuit court.
“These are sort of the people’s courts. They’re inexpensive,” said Hembree. “You can’t afford to go to circuit court and spend tens of thousands of dollars.”
Hembree said in the past bills dealing with HOA’s have gotten sidetracked with some other issues but hopes sticking to these three will help.
“I think we’ve got a good chance of making some progress,” he added.