Money Makes the World Go Round

Money Makes the World Go Round

By Anastasia Kolodzik, PRA, RSS, CAM / Published August 2023

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HOA Annual Budget Preparation

By Darion Samuels

 ADT-logo One of the most important decisions community association board members face every year is how to manage their budget for the upcoming year. Depending on the size of the community, there may be a property management company appointed to help oversee and maintain the property. A CAM (community association manager) is appointed by the management company to help run the day-to-day operations of the community. Some examples of the CAM’s responsibilities would be managing the community-owned assets, landscaping, community activities, and relations. The CAM also assists the HOA board in managing the annual budget. Two of the primary components of a community budget are expenses and revenue. HOAs require monthly dues to help meet the financial obligations that are incurred by professional services needed to maintain the community infrastructure. Most communities use historical data and trends to predict adjustments in the upcoming budget. Some factors that influence the budget are vendor costs, utilities, and other maintenance expenses. Analyzing every expense may also result in making decisions to cut costs to help maintain a healthy budget. Some best practices include reviewing every contract that incurs an expense and looking at the rates and terms to decide if it aligns with the annual budget. Evaluate your vendors annually, send out surveys to gauge the residents’ opinions, and make sure everyone is involved in the deciding factors on whether to keep their services.

  Darion Samuels is a senior HOA account manager for ADT | Community Association Program. For more information, call 800-878-7806 or visit

Contractors with Your Best Interest at Heart

By Connie Lorenz

Asphalt-Rest-logo  Please stay strong out there! As Florida has become one of the most desirable states to live in, we can only expect that it will bring in more vendors and contractors; and that can be awesome, provided they are legitimate. Remember, our northern contractors only have to make their products last through their winter season as their freeze/thaw cycle, snowplows, sleet, ice, etc. wear away their product. What is good up north for a season could be devastating for a lifetime in Florida! My philosophy is simple: right product, right place, right time! If you are not sure of what your issue is or where to go to solve it, call us. If we can’t help you, we will at least get you to the right contractor who is registered in Florida and has your best interest at heart, not just your pocketbook!

  Connie Lorenz is president of Asphalt Restoration Technology Systems. For more information, call 800-254-4732 or visit

The Benefits of a Bulk Telecommunications Agreement

By Devin Koopman

Blue-Stream-logo  A bulk telecommunications agreement is a contract between a homeowners’ association and a vendor for services to all residents within the community. See below for the top five benefits of bulk service agreements.

  1. Low Cost to Residents—Often bulk cable, internet, and phone services cost up to 50 percent less than what a homeowner would pay for the same services individually.
  2. Revenue for Association Budgets—The broadband provider usually recompenses the association with a one-time payment, which benefits the property and residents.
  3. Guaranteed Performance—Each community receives guaranteed service performance, ensuring the property’s most important KPIs are met.
  4. White-Glove Customer Service Experience
  5. Consistent and Transparent Service and Pricing—Your monthly rate is locked in for the next 8–10 years with predictable annual increases that are agreed to prior to signing.

  Devin Koopman is a director of association development for Blue Stream Fiber. To learn more about the benefits of bulk telecom services and whether they are a good fit for your community, visit

Preventive Maintenance Plan: The Key to Safety, Comfort, Protection, and Cost Savings

By Ashley Dietz Gray

Campbell-logo  Proper maintenance of common elements is crucial for the smooth functioning of any community, whether it is a condominium or an HOA. Neglecting maintenance can lead to various issues, such as malfunctioning elevators, faulty air conditioning, and unexpected equipment failures.

  To avoid such problems, it is essential to create a preventive maintenance schedule that identifies all the common elements that need maintenance. While some of these elements can be maintained by in-house staff, others require outside professionals. For condominiums, outside professionals should handle roofs, elevators, cooling towers, generators, and alarm systems while in-house staff can manage air filters, touch-up painting, and cleaning. HOAs should leave trees, electrical systems, lakes, and pools to outside professionals while in-house staff can handle pressure cleaning, minor repairs, and basic maintenance tasks.

  Understanding the frequency and scope of maintenance is crucial to ensure the longevity of common elements and the safety and comfort of community members.

Ashley Dietz Gray is vice president of marketing for Campbell Property Management. For more information, call 954-427-8770 or visit

Don’t Forget the Roof

By Ed Williams, RRC

Ed-Williams-logo  So, it’s budget time. Please don’t forget about the roof. We are not just talking about replacement. Although your reserves are very important, and roofing material costs have risen dramatically in the past two years, it is time to look at your reserves. Do you have a maintenance plan? Is it funded? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the statement, “I have a 20-year warranty; I don’t have to do maintenance.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The warranty does not pay for cleaning out roof drains, repairing damage from tradesmen, or fixing damage from trees or hail. Annual inspections are critical to maintaining the roof, and this should be funded in the
budget. A professional can help you at budget time to create these plans, budgets, and reserve funds.

  Ed Williams is a registered roof consultant. For more information, call 772-335-5832, email Ed@EdWilliamsRegistered, or visit www.EdWilliamsRegistered

Tools of the Trade—Key Elements for any Association

By Anthony Emma Jr.

Element-logo  In accordance with Florida law, all associations require a manager to be licensed by the State as a community association manager (CAM).  Similarly, all board members are required to be certified by the State of Florida through various educational resources.  This license and certification process is an important step for CAMs and board members to understand their duties, roles, and responsibilities as a fiduciary for their association. 

  One of the most important aspects of a board member’s responsibilities is to develop and approve the association’s annual budget. Two of the hottest topics today include the appropriate level of reserves and adequate insurance coverage. Board members need to identify risks and take necessary action to mitigate deficiencies.

  Another important element supporting the board in its management responsibilities is retaining competent professional services.  An experienced group including bankers, attorneys, CPAs, and management companies can provide the expertise and knowledge to assist the association’s planning and implementation process.

  Anthony Emma Jr. is CEO|managing partner of Element Financial Solutions. To learn more about Element and how we can help your association, please visit our website at or email

Community-Wide Benefits of Bulk Telecommunications Services

By Marcy Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM

Hotwire-logo  As more and more homes connect to the latest in innovative technology, efficient and affordable telecommunications services are vital for the growth of communities. Bulk telecommunications services have become a game-changer, enabling communities to streamline their communications infrastructure while significantly cutting costs.

  Consider this—a community chooses a service provider that builds a main fiber feed into the community and offers all residents high-speed, symmetrical internet speeds along with a host of other features. The provider then constructs an individual line to each household, which brings those advanced services right into every home without the need for continual construction, saving the property additional fees for construction.

  Because bulking is more cost-effective, residents receive faster connection speeds at a lower rate than they would with a traditional retail plan. What’s more, an all-fiber network is capable of gigabit speeds and means communities can receive uninterrupted, symmetrical download and upload speeds.

  By partnering with Hotwire Communications to streamline their communications infrastructure, community associations can focus their efforts on other projects and initiatives that enhance the quality of life for their residents.

  Marcy Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM, is director of community association relations for Hotwire Communications.

  For more information, visit

Start the Annual Budgeting Process Early

By Maria Carcas

KW-Property-logo  Budgeting can be one of the most challenging—but rewarding—aspects of community association management. It is never too early to start by gathering information, analyzing data, and negotiating contracts.

Important best practices include the following:

  • Review governing documents and contracts. Keep in mind important dates,terms, renewals, etc.
  • Set clear goals and deadlines together with your board members.
  • Evaluate your staffing needs and ask yourself if your budget reflects market rates.
  • Consult with your insurance agent to understand what your coverage options are and update appraisal values, if needed. Make sure you obtain a written communication from your agent with estimates.
  • Become familiar with Florida Senate Bill 154 and subsequent legislative updates. These include the milestone inspection, structural integrity reserve study, and reserve funding requirements. Understand how these changes affect your association and what it means for the upcoming budget. Don’t put off hiring a reserve study specialist, if needed.

  Lastly, community managers should always keep an open line of communication with the board.

  Maria Carcas is senior vice president of finance. For more information on KW PROPERTY MANAGEMENT & CONSULTING, contact Maria Carcas at 305-476-9188 or, or visit

Constant Attention

By Kevin M. Carroll

Lang-logo  Understanding a community’s budget and financial status requires constant attention. A budget variance analysis should be conducted monthly to fully understand where and why there are unbudgeted or overbudgeted expenses. The analysis will help in preparing a more realistic budget for the following year. When preparing budgets, management should reach out to your vendors and request proposals prior to year-end. This may eliminate price increases as well as provide an opportunity to negotiate costs. Always review your property’s maintenance needs as well as any special projects which may significantly impact your budget. Plan for appropriate reserve funds to avoid future assessments and to comply with changing statutory requirements.

  Community associations today must be alert for the potential of fraud. Mis-appropriation of funds is almost always linked to persons in a position of trust. Checks and balances are key to safeguarding against fraud. Your management company must carry appropriate fidelity bond insurance.

Kevin M. Carroll is president and CEO of Lang Management. For more information, call 561-750-8800 or visit

Careful Planning for Commercial Roofing Maintenance

By Paulo Souza

PSI-Roofing-logo  Budgeting for commercial roofing maintenance involves careful planning and various factors. Here is a simple guide to create a budget.

  1. Assess the Current Condition: Evaluate the current condition of your commercial roof. Determine its age, material, and any existing issues or signs of wear and tear.
  2. Set Maintenance Goals: These may include extending the roof’s lifespan, minimizing leaks, ensuring energy efficiency, and complying with industry regulations.
  3. Identify Maintenance Actions: Make a comprehensive list of maintenance actions, such as regular inspections, gutter cleaning, debris removal, resealing, repairing leaks, replacing damaged shingles or tiles, and addressing any structural issues.
  4. Plan for Emergency Repairs: Apart from routine maintenance, allocate funds for emergency repairs. Roofs can be damaged due to severe weather, accidents, or sudden leaks. Set aside a portion of your budget to cover unexpected repair costs that may arise throughout the year.
  5. Create a Maintenance Schedule: Based on the maintenance actions and their frequency, create a maintenance schedule.

  Paulo Souza is president of PSI Roofing. For more information, call 954-791-7663, email, or visit

Navigating HOA Finances: Tips for Effective Financial Management

By Camille Moore

RealManage-logo  Sound financial practices are essential for all HOAs to ensure long-term stability and prosperity. Here are several key financial best practices.

  1. Budgeting—Develop an annual budget that includes expenses and reserves for future repairs. Regularly review and analyze financial statements to determine the reasons for variances.
  2. Transparent Accounting—Maintain accurate financial records and make appropriate reports accessible to homeowners, promoting transparency and accountability.
  3. Reserve Fund Planning—Establish a reserve fund for major repairs and replacements of common element components. Conduct regular reserve studies to assess adequacy and plan for future capital expenses.
  4. Competitive Bidding—Seek competitive bids for major projects and services to obtain the best value. Maintain records of bidding processes and decisions.
  5. Professional Financial Management—Consider hiring a qualified financial professional or management company experienced in HOA finances.
  6. Regular Auditing—Conduct independent audits of financial records to ensure accuracy and compliance with regulations.

  Camille Moore is a creative content writer for RealManage. For more information, email or visit

What Is an Elevator Consultant?

By Dawn Rye

RES-Elevator-Consulting  Elevator consultants work for property owners, property managers, developers, insurance companies, etc. They offer the following services:

  • Provide maintenance audits to verify contract compliance with the maintenance provisions of the contract, confirming compliance with the ASME A17.1 maintenance provisions and determining the long-term viability of the equipment as required by the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) maintenance requirements.
  • Create property turn-key elevator modernization specifications and help walk the customers through the whole process as their elevator expert guide.
  • Create property-specific elevator maintenance agreements, put the agreement out to bid, evaluate the bids, provide a recommendation, and create the final maintenance agreement document.
  • Perform ASME A17.1 QEI-1 certi- fied inspections under the authority of the Municipal Code Enforcement Officials (in the USA).
  • Enforce municipal code upon conveyances, ensuring the public’s safety, although these inspections are frequently
    performed by elevator inspectors employed by or authorized by public entities.

  Dawn Rye is CEO and managing partner at RES Elevator Consulting. For more information, call 352-515-9275, email, or visit

Tips for the Upcoming Budgeting Season

By Sabrina Hayes

Sentry-logo  To some, budgeting season and reporting may be a time-consuming and overwhelming process. But, with appropriate planning, a streamlined budgeting system will allow the board to prepare its annual budget in an accurate and efficient manner.

  Here are some tips to assist in this budgeting process:

  • Prepare early. Kickstart the process as soon as possible and appoint a budget committee if needed. Don’t forget to consider current and future projects and deferred maintenance!
  • Review the operating budget. Analyze year-to-date expenses and vendor contracts and identify areas over/under budget to adjust the budget accordingly. Consider a cost-benefit analysis for increases in spending and assessments. 
  • Study the reserves budget. Conduct a reserve study to evaluate capital expenditures and deferred maintenance or create a tentative schedule for unforeseen reserve spending.

  Budgeting due dates are around the corner, so don’t forget to consult your community manager for budgeting assistance to prevent future undue stress. With careful planning and review, your association can successfully navigate budgeting season!

  Sabrina Hayes is the senior vice president of Sentry Management’s Central Florida Region. To learn more about how Sentry Management can serve your community, visit or call 407-788-6700. 

Make the Budget Process Less Stressful

By Joanna Ribner


  • Here is a tip for your budget—Do not forget hidden equipment like your trash chute and dryer risers. They need regular maintenance to keep them clean, efficient, and up to code.
  • Ask your vendors if they have multi-year agreements which will lock in the price for two or three years. This protects you against price increases, and you do not need to negotiate every year.
  • Some communities have multiple buildings with different boards. By negotiating for all the buildings—or at least most of them—you can get better rates for a lot of services. For example, if our minimum charge to come out is $450, we would certainly reduce that to $350 when servicing multiple buildings instead of just one building!
  • The budget process is always stressful for the manager and the board members, but a good “roster” of trusted vendors can make life much easier.

  Joanna Ribner is the owner of Southern Chute. For more information, call 866-475-9191 or visit

Understanding the Difference: Replacement Cost vs. Reconstruction Cost​

By Scott Tew, MAI

Valbridge-logo  Understanding the difference between replacement cost and reconstruction cost is an important distinction for property management budgeting and insurance coverage. The replacement cost of a building is the total cost of construction required to replace the subject building with a substitute of like or equal utility using current standards of materials and design. Reconstruction cost, however, involves the cost to replicate the damaged structure with the same materials and design as the original construction.

  For insurance appraisals, consistency in terminology use is vital. Replacement cost is typically used by insurers and is the standard for insurable value appraisals. If you think your unique property should be assessed by reconstruction cost,
discuss this first with your insurer.

  Do you have questions about your commercial real estate? If so, please consider Valbridge Property Advisors for all of your commercial appraisal, valuation, and consulting needs. 

  Scott Tew, MAI, is senior managing director of Valbridge Property Advisors | Orlando. For more information, email or call 407-841-4322. 

Budgeting and Financial Tips for Homeowner Associations

By Tara Tallaksen

Vesta-logo  Effective budgeting is crucial for the smooth operation and financial stability of homeowners’ associations (HOAs). Managing the finances of an HOA requires careful planning and a proactive approach. Here are some essential budgeting and financial tips for HOAs to ensure financial well-being:

  1. It is vital to create a comprehensive annual budget that includes all expenses and income sources. Consider factors like maintenance, repairs, insurance, utilities, and reserves. Set realistic goals and allocate funds accordingly.
  2. Prioritize transparency and open communication. Share the budget with HOA members and encourage their involvement in the process. This fosters trust and accountability within the community.
  3. It is crucial to maintain a reserve fund for unexpected expenses and long-term projects. Regularly review and update the reserve study to ensure adequate funding.
  4. Compare vendor prices and negotiate contracts to secure the best deals for the association. Encourage competitive bidding to maximize cost savings.
  5. Regularly review financial statements, track expenses, and adjust the budget as needed. Implementing sound financial practices will enable HOAs to make informed decisions and maintain a financially stable community.

  By following these budgeting and financial tips, HOAs can ensure their long-term financial health and provide a secure and pleasant living environment for all residents.

  Tara Tallaksen is a sales and marketing assistant. For more information on Vesta Property Services, email, call 877-988-3782, or visit