Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is the deference between property management and community management?

Answer:  The term property management began for the apartment rental service area where real estate agents located tenets for investors along with locating properties for sale. As time went by and the development of condominiums and townhomes rose so did the community associations. This new type of living began the need for professionals that are dedicated to the industry of community management. The management of rental units and tenants verses homeowners are two different areas of services. Our firm is strictly dedicated to the management of Community Associations and their homeowners.


Question: What is a Community Association?

Answer: A Community Association is a nongovernmental Association made-up of mandatory members that reside within the Community. These communities can consist of neighborhood homes such as, condominiums, townhomes, cooperatives and single-family homes.


Question: Why do I have to pay Association fees?

Answer: All owners are required to pay Association Fees by language within the body of the governing documents of their Association. When purchasing into an Association you become a member of the Community and are subject to all conditions and costs related to the operation of the Community. The due dates and methods of calculation for assessments are generally outlined within the body of the governing documents. The budgeted costs are established by your Board of Directors. It is typically either annually or monthly. The purpose of the fees is to fund the operation and maintenance of the Community to benefit of all owners.


Question: What do the Association Fees cover?

Answer: Depending on what Common Areas your Community has, they typically pay for common area landscape maintenance, repair and maintenance of pools, playgrounds and equipment, and they provide for improvements desired by the Association and for services to the owners. In townhome and condominium developments, they sometimes pay for water and sewer service, insurance on the building and trash collection. It will also be detailed in your Association’s budget.


Question: How do I pay my Association Fees?

Answer: Owners may elect to pay their Association Fees via check or have the amount withdrawn from their bank account through our direct debit program to avoid the hassle of mail in payments. Checks must include your account number shown on your coupon book and should be mailed directly to the association’s bank lockbox.


Question: To whom do I make my check payable?

Answer: Your checks are to be made payable to your Association in it legal name. (Example “ABC Homeowners Association”)


Question: What is an Association Management Company?

Answer: A Community Association Management Firm is a specialized segment of association management. Although, there are some firms that use the term property management which constitutes non association facilities such as apartment complexes which includes the finding tenant to lease units along with buying and selling real estate.


Question: Does my Community have an Association Management Company, and if so, how do I contact them?

Answer: When you buy into an Association you would have be given information on who to contact. If your Association is self-managed your main contact is more than likely going to be the Board of Directors. If it’s professionally managed there would be documentation given to the buyer during the closing transaction. Generally speaking, a Community management firm can be contacted online or by telephone.


Question: What is the “Community Manager”?

Answer: A Community Manager is a person employed by the managing firm or an employee of the association. Their focus is to assist the board of directors in enforcing the governing documents, rules and regulations and managing the assets, funds, and interests of the association as a whole.


Question: What is the community management company’s and its employee’s authority?

Answer: The management company has no authority except as instructed by the Board of Directors. The management company does not make decisions, sign contracts or makes policies. This firm is to only implement the decisions directed by the Board.


Question: Why do we need a Community Management firm?

Answer: A community management firm will act as the liaison between the Board of Directors, homeowners and service providers giving the Board the freedom to comply with their life’s needs. It is also beneficial to have a professional firm handle the bookkeeping and track the association’s day-to-day business affairs.


Question: What is the role of an Association?

Answer:  Typically an Association is a non-profit corporation managed by a Board of Directors elected by the owners. The Board is responsible for the management of the Association’s funds, the enforcement of the Declarations restrictions, and the maintenance of common area property.


Question: What are the Governing Documents?

Answer: The “Governing Documents” for your association are the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Declaration, Conditions and Restrictions including any Rules and Regulations, Resolutions or other guidelines that have been established by your association.


Question: Where can I get a copy of the Governing Documents?

Answer: You should have received a copy at, or prior to, closing on your home from either the developer on new sales or the seller of the property. If you need another set, it is available through your association and/or its community management company. Usually there is a fee associated with this request.


Question: What is a Homeowners Association (HOA)?

Answer: A Homeowners’ Association (HOA) is a legal entity created by a real estate developer for the purpose of developing, managing and selling a Community of homes. It is given the authority to enforce the covenants, conditions & restrictions (CC&Rs) and to manage the common amenities of the development. It allows a developer to end their responsibility over the Community, typically by transferring ownership of the association to the homeowners after selling. Generally accepted as voluntary associations of homeowners gathered together to protect their property values and to improve the neighborhood, a large percentage of U.S neighborhoods where free standing homes exist, have an HOA. Most homeowners’ associations are nonprofit organizations and are subject to state statutes that govern nonprofit corporations and homeowners’ associations.


Question: What is a “common area”?

Answer: Usually land that is used for enjoyment by the members of the Community Association. This typically includes amenities like gathering areas, clubhouses, pools and tot lots in Homeowner and Townhome communities; and the hallways, rooftops, exercise facilities, common parking lots, tennis courts and building structures in condominium communities.


Question: Why is permission needed to make changes or improvements to my home?

Answer: To meet and comply with the standards as set forth in the Governing Documents. Following the guide lines will avoid future problems that arise from the construction or changes made that were not approved or coincide with the associations’ governing documents. Always seek approval in writing prior to beginning any project. Advanced Property Specialists, Inc. does not give verbal approval for any such item for any reason.


Question: Does my Community have any pet restrictions?

Answer: It is not uncommon for a Community townhomes, homeowners or condominium associations to have pet restrictions. Since the restrictions can vary for every Community, it’s best to review your association’s governing documents and or Rules and Regulations for the specific restrictions pertaining to your situation. In addition to Community restrictions, many municipalities have a wide verity of pet laws. If you are looking to purchase a pet or are buying a unit and have a pet, be sure to cover your entire basis prior to purchase.


Question: What is a Proxy?

Answer: A proxy is an individual appointed to act or vote on behalf of another person by representing them at a meeting of the association. The designation is a written piece of paper granting the power of another to act on your behalf. This is used at an annual meeting if a member is unable to attend.


Question: What is a Board of Director?

Answer: In relation to an HOA, Community or other formal organization, a director is an officer charged with the conduct and management of its affairs. The directors collectively are referred to as a board of directors, and are generally elected or appointed. Sometimes the board will appoint one of its members to be the chair, making this person the President of the Board of Directors or Chairman.


Question: What are CC&Rs?

Answer: The term CC&R refers to ‘Covenants, Conditions &Restrictions.’ A real covenant is a legal obligation imposed in a deed by the seller of a home and or property upon the buyer of the real estate to do or not to do something. Such restrictions frequently ‘run with the land’ and are enforceable on future buyers of the property. Examples might be to maintain a property in a reasonable state of repair, to preserve a sight-line for a neighboring property, not to run a business from a residence, or not to build on certain parts of the property. Many covenants are very simple and are meant only to protect a neighborhood from homeowners destroying trees or historic things or otherwise directly harming property values. Some can be more specific and strict, outlining everything a homeowner can do to the exterior of their home, including the number of non-familial tenants one may have, acceptable colors to re-paint the home, exactly when holiday decorations are allowed up, automobile placement or repair on property, satellite placement, etc.


Question: What Are Bylaws?

Answer: A set of rules or guidelines regarding the operation of a non-profit corporation such as a Board. Bylaws generally set forth definitions of offices and committees involved with the Board of Directors. They can include voting rights, meetings, notices, and other areas involved with the successful operation of the Association.


Question: What are Governing Documents?

Answer: The declaration, bylaws, rules and regulations, articles of incorporation or any other documents which govern the normal operating procedures of an association. THIS ALSO CAN BE ANY GOVERMENTAL OR FEDERAL PROCEDINGS OR ACTS.


Question: What is the Declaration?

Answer: The Declaration is sometimes referred to as the master deed, documents, or declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions [CC&Rs]. It describes an owner’s responsibilities to the association which can include payment of dues and assessments as well as the association’s various duties to the owners. It is common viewed as somewhat of a constitution of the association. The person or group of persons who either signs the original declaration governing the development and association or acquires the original developer’s rights is referred to as the “Declarant.”


Question:What does the Association’s insurance cover?

Answer: The insurance that your Association maintains is determined by your legal documents. The Association’s insurance should always include property and casualty policies for all common area property and equipment. (In condominium and townhome associations, this can include the entire structure of the building – again, it will depend on the legal documents.) It also should include Liability and Directors & Officers policies that cover Directors, Committee Members and volunteers working on behalf of the Association.

Question: What is a Quorum?

Answer: A Quorum is defined as the minimum number of owners required to hold an official meeting of the association. The number of owners required can vary greatly according to the corresponding association’s governing documents.


Question: What is a Notice of Noncompliance?

Answer: Similar in essence to a lien, the Notice of Noncompliance is a document sometimes authorized under the CC&Rs and may be recorded in the county property records. The essential purpose of this notice is to notify prospective buyers that the property is in violation of the documents


Question: What are Ordinances?

Answer: An Ordinance is an individual law or set of laws adopted by local government at the county and city level.


Question: Why do I pay more in assessments than my neighbor?

Answer: Some assessments are determined according to percentage of ownership in the Common Elements such as condominiums. The percentage of ownership can typically be located in the Association’s Governing documents. If you are in a townhome or single family Homeowner’s Association and everything is equal, the fees are typically the same.


Question: How can our Association’s Board of Directors enforce its Rules and Regulations?

Answer: A good way for the Association is to adopt a policy in the Rules and Regulations to fine the owners when they are in violation. Then if a fine is imposed and not paid, the Association should follow the normal collection procedures of the Association.
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