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Whitepaper

“Expect More From Your Community Management Organization – Top 5 Factors for Developers to Consider When Choosing a Professional Community Management Organization.”

Selecting a community management organization can be a challenging process, and there’s a lot of pressure to make the right choice. You want to make sure the community you have taken such care to develop will be in good hands, guided by an organization that shares your vision about what a neighborhood should be – and what their role is in achieving that vision. And of course at the same time, you also want to know that you have a management organization that you can rely on to be responsible for more formal and practical issues, such as financial and legal matters. A good management company should be there supporting you along the way through the process, from making your vision a reality in the planning stages to helping your investment thrive and grow once the community has been established. Knowing the important questions to ask—and getting satisfactory answers to those questions—will provide you with peace of mind that the community will be managed by an organization that is both caring and competent. To help you find that kind of management company, we’ve put together a list of the top five questions developers should ask when evaluating professional community management organizations.

© Copyright 2013 by Associated Asset Management. All Rights Reserved. | www.associatedasset.com


Whitepaper

1. Ask: What assistance do you provide developers with regards to paperwork and budgetary issues? For developers, worrying about things like budgets, permits, plans and other administrative issues can be a source of much stress—and many headaches. You need a dependable management company that is capable of overseeing these issues for you. Associated Asset Management offers comprehensive services for developers—meaning we handle all of the stressful details for you, including: • • • • • • • • • • •

Preparing a built-out budget to determine assessment amount as would be needed to submit for a Public Report with the Department of Real Estate. Completing a cash flow budget to determine your financial obligation, when documents provide a subsidy requirement. In addition to monthly financial statements, providing quarterly “indicated actual” reports that track income and expenses to monitor your actual subsidies versus projected subsidies. Reviewing and advising on the development of governing documents to include articles, bylaws, and CC&Rs. Creating working documents to include design guidelines, association rules, fine policies, and collection policies. Assisting in the process of deeding common area tracts to the Association and submitting for Common Area Valuation to receive property tax savings on common area tracts. Serving as the Statutory Agent to receive association notifications, as required by the state Corporation Commission. Opening necessary bank accounts on behalf of the Association to include operating and reserve accounts (as required). If needed, we can also apply for Employer Identification Number (EIN) for non-profit corporations in order to open bank accounts and file taxes. Providing builder title companies with closing instructions for Association fees to be collected on “Builder-to-Homeowner” transactions. Developing a custom built website that can link to builder sites for sales information. Assisting in determining appropriate staffing for community; recruiting and hiring of staff as may be needed.

2. Ask: What is your vision about what a neighborhood should be, and how do you help create those neighborhoods? For developers, there are several important benefits of establishing great neighborhood. Obviously, it’s a very rewarding feeling to know you have had a positive impact on communities. And from an investment standpoint, you will get a better return from communities that are thriving and filled with happy residents. At Associated Asset Management, we believe truly great neighborhoods provide a foundation for great families, great communities and a great America. That’s why we are so committed to providing a different kind of community management – one that is as focused on the neighborhoods we serve as the boards we advise and the developers we assist. Unfortunately, statistics show that there’s a disconnect between what Americans want from their neighborhoods and their current situations: nationally, 83 percent of Americans say they are willing to pitch in and help neighbors who are struggling financially; however, only 25 percent of Americans know most or all of their neighbors’ names.

© Copyright 2013 by Associated Asset Management. All Rights Reserved. | www.associatedasset.com

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Yet the power of great neighborhoods is clear: they provide safety and increase a sense of community, individual empowerment and citizen participation. They provide a basic line of support to families. Neighborhoods form the most immediate environment for children to socialize outside the family and through that socialization build confidence and develop coping skills. But in order for neighborhoods to deliver these powerful benefits, neighbors need to know each other. And while the responsibility for making and maintaining connections ultimately lies with the neighbors themselves, there is a lot that the community management organization can do to help. Some ways that a professional community management organization can help neighbors get to know each other include: • • •

Organizing regular community-wide events – holiday parties, yard sales, sports events Overseeing maintenance of the places where togetherness occurs, like playgrounds, community centers, and other common areas Organizing activities for groups with similar interests within the community – bingo night for the retirees, play groups for parents with small children, movie night for teens

3. Ask: How do you facilitate an environment that fosters community? The physical environment in the neighborhood is a critical element in fostering a sense of community. If the neighborhood has no safe, comfortable space for neighbors to get together, then they won’t. So, one of the most important jobs of the professional community management organization is maintaining safe, comfortable community areas – whether it’s just a grassy area or a complete recreational center.

4. Ask: How do you help promote safety in the neighborhood? Just as space to get together is critical, so is safety. If neighbors don’t feel safe walking the dog at dusk, or sending their kids to the cul-de-sac to play street hockey, then it will be nearly impossible to create a sense of community in the neighborhood. The professional community management organization can help the HOA set up community block watches, bring in police officers to provide safety tips to the neighbors, and generally raise safety awareness among the neighbors. Neighborhoods where neighbors watch out for each other, are aware of strangers, and are willing to sound the alarm, are not the kinds of neighborhoods typically targeted by criminals.

5. Ask: How do you encourage homeowners to get involved with the HOA? A 2012 survey by Community Associations Institute (CAI) found that 70 percent of people who lived in association communities rated the experience as positive. And every year, many of those residents donate their time to making their community a better place – at an estimated annual value of $850 million, according to CAI. Every neighborhood has residents who want to create a stronger, more vibrant community for themselves, their families, and their neighbors. The professional community management organization can help. A great management company should encourage homeowners to get involved with the HOA by: • • • •

Creating fun, exciting opportunities for homeowners to be involved with community events Helping neighbors get to know their HOA board members Encouraging two-way communication between residents and the HOA board Promoting the HOA board meetings and explaining to residents the benefits of attending

© Copyright 2013 by Associated Asset Management. All Rights Reserved. | www.associatedasset.com

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Create a Better America, One Neighborhood at a Time At Associated Asset Management, we believe that great neighborhoods are the foundation of a great America. We believe that Americans want to live in vibrant, connected, community-centered neighborhoods. And we believe that as a professional community management organization, we have a significant role to play in helping HOA boards and homeowners build and maintain those kinds of neighborhoods. At AAM, our responsibilities include: • • • • • • • • •

Helping community members make connections Overseeing common areas as well as individual lots Responding quickly and supportively when homeowner issues arise Assisting boards and committees in obtaining bids, undertaking projects and providing training Providing expert monthly financial management reporting Working closely with title companies to provide transfer and disclosure documents quickly Maintaining community files electronically and in real time Offering 24-hour emergency contacts and customer service for community-specific questions Facilitating HOA board training programs

When you’re looking for a professional community management organization, ask the five questions we’ve detailed here to ensure that you get a management company aligned with your vision of what a great neighborhood should be – and what their role is in making it happen.

About AAM AAM is one of America’s most-respected Homeowner Association (HOA) management companies. With more than 20 years of community management company experience to our credit and hundreds of associations under management, we are dedicated to creating a better America one neighborhood at a time, starting with yours. Visit us online at http://www.associatedasset.com to learn more.

© Copyright 2013 by Associated Asset Management. All Rights Reserved. | www.associatedasset.com

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Whitepaper

Š Copyright 2013 by Associated Asset Management. All Rights Reserved. | www.associatedasset.com

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AAM Expect More Top 5 Factors for Developers to Consider when Choosing a Professional Management Co.