Where did the whole year go?!
It's officially 2019, ladies and gents, but before we wave 2018 out the door, let's take a quick stroll down memory lane and do a quick recap of some of our most influential articles of the 2018 year.
Staying on Top of Legal Requirements:
A new law that went into effect this past Tuesday, Jan 1, and implemented some really important changes to the way condos and HOAs in Florida must retain their documentation online. Are you compliant?
"Having an online presence can be a real headache for community associations. Not only is it a lot of extra work for already overworked volunteers, it can also get you into trouble. So, I get it when CAM professionals and board members are hesitant to roll out community association websites, social media and other online tools.
Unfortunately, if your community is in the state of Florida, you no longer have a choice, at least about the website part. Here's everything you need to know about the new changes to condo statute 718.111 taking effect Jan 1, 2019."
Given the current state of our union, it's important to touch back on an article published very early in 2018 about the impacts a government shutdown can have on your management company.
"Regardless of which side of the aisle you fall on, your management company needs to be able to keep up business as usual. How can a future government shutdown affect your management company? Let's explore the (temporary) good, the (not so) bad, and the (this could get) ugly."
We don't live in the UK, but some of our content kind of does (hello World Wide Web!) so it needs to follow some of their rules.
"The royal wedding isn't the only thing making waves from across the pond. Effective today, May 25, 2018, a new regulation (the General Data Protection Regulation) has gone into effect for all websites that serve the European Union, and how web visitor information is gathered, stored, and used by anyone conducting business in the EU."
Suit up, CAM Avengers! You're the brawn behind the changes that come to the industry, you know that, right?
"Like your homeowners, you have the power to bring about positive change in your community (and further, your industry), but only if you dedicate time from your day to make your voice heard. You have so much power to influence the new rules being applied to HOAs and Condo Associations in your state. But there’s a good chance that right now, you’re not going to bat for your best interests. Luckily, someone else might be: Community Association Lobbyists."
This is super important because it's still a bit of a hot-button topic all these months later. After former Governor Rick Scott implemented an interesting piece of legislation dictating how public beach access is designated, there was so much backlash that the initiative was tabled for discussion at a (as yet undetermined) later date.
This bill states that local governments may no longer enact beach access ordinances to permit public access to private beach sand. Instead, if the local government wants to grant public access to private beach property, it must file a lawsuit against the property owner."
Understanding Your Software Options and Making Your Technology Work for You:
So many choices, but which one is best? There are pros and cons to every decision you make, but choosing the right kind of software is one that will have a lasting impact and should be considered carefully.
"If you are shopping for software to help you manage your portfolio of Condos and HOAs, the range of options available to you can be overwhelming. We help you make sense of the many types of Property Management software and how they work for community association management."
There is new-fangled tech coming out every other week, and it's important that even the CAM industry keeps up with it all.
"It's the digital age, and the world has changed. Your customers demand a higher level of service, instant notifications, online access to their information, and all at the same price they paid 20 years ago. It's not enough to keep your management company current. You need to be prepared for whatever the future may bring, to meet the new demands waiting just around the corner."
You've narrowed down your software search, but which is really right for you? When in doubt, be as specific as possible!
"Shopping for new software can get confusing fast. A lot of property management software companies will try to convince you that managing HOAs is similar enough to rental management that you can use the same software. (and they'll spend plenty of advertising dollars to convince you!)
While it is true that you CAN manage community associations in a rental software, it's nowhere near the same. Community Associations like HOAs, Condos and Co-ops have some very unique aspects that make it difficult to shoehorn into a generic PMS."
As Floridians, disaster is around just about every corner, so we know the value of a software that can keep your data safe and secure when catastrophe inevitably strikes.
"What if you had a system in place that you didn't have to touch? You don't have to set reminders, backup your data, create checklists, or double and triple check that you've done everything because it's already been done, and will continue to be done, for you?
Migrating to a cloud-based platform like TOPS [ONE] is the most efficient business preparedness plan you can implement without ever having to actually plan a thing."
Documentation is the foundation upon which a good organizational structure is built, and having the tools to establish that documentation is a key player in making sure your information is accessible and easily understood.
"Document Management is something that a lot of companies tend to see as going above and beyond, instead of a necessary step in documentation. Everyone already knows to save their documentation, but when you don't properly manage your saved files, you end up stuck neck deep in a mystery of your own making, hunting down long-forgotten covenants, contracts, and invoices."
Cloud-based software will always be the safest choice out there, but it's more than safe, it's practical and cost-effective to boot!
"It’s no secret that we’re big advocates for web-based software here at TOPS. We cannot stop talking about the benefits of TOPS [ONE] and why TOPS [ONE] makes the perfect holiday gift for the end of 2018!
But we’re not just tooting our own horn because it’s ours. There are a lot of reasons to consider web-based platforms over hosted (locally-installed and maintained) programs. Locally-installed products create access limitations, information separation, data storage cap struggles, communication interference, and so much more. Using a web-based application solves every single one of those problems."
The Ins-and-Outs of Community Association Management
There are some boundaries that must be established in all lines of work, and it's important to keep those
"James Long CAM, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, is an entrepreneur at heart. With a background in accounting, management, and financial services, community association management seems like a natural fit for James, and that natural aptitude is evident in the success of his company, J&L Management of North FL, Inc.
But, like many others in this field, he didn’t seek out this career path—it found him."
Get your bags packed and your wings ready, we're travelling all over the place this year! With so many industry events, it's hard to choose just one to go to, so pick a few, hangout for a few days, and soak up all of the industry knowledge and know-how that you can!
"Every year we share a list of industry events going on throughout the US for the year. These are all great opportunities to expand your knowledge of the industry, build on your skills, and advance your career."
Having the freedom to get involved in politics is one of the great things about this country. But when you live where you work and work where you live, there are some rules that have to be put in place just to make sure nothing hinkey goes on and causes problems.
"It’s great to want to show support to your favorite representative or candidate. And you can absolutely do that…but if you’re a board member, you want to tread lightly in how and when you show that support. Can your Community Association get involved in local politics?"
Public pricing is always a divisive issue, and it's hard to know if there's really one right answer. There are benefits to private and public pricing, it's just a matter of personal choice and what works best for your company at the end of the day.
"Every business owner knows their product is valuable. You deliver a service, and you know that service is top notch, so you charge what the service is worth. However, putting your prices out there for everyone to see before they have had an opportunity to talk to you about it, or before you have had a chance to make your value proposition may seem like putting the cart in front of the horse."