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Tips for creating an HOA budget or Condo Budget

Tips for creating an HOA budget or Condo Budget

Tips for creating an HOA budget or Condo Budget. Do a budget – I know this seems like a silly tip, but we have seen many associations fail to create a budget before proceeding to the next year. An HOA is just like any other business or organization. If you don’t have a financial plan, you will find yourself a in a mess about halfway through the year when you realize that you don’t have enough funds to make it through the entire year. Take the time to practice financial responsibility for your association. Review budget and Financial History – You always want to review the previous two years financials to fully understand were you currently are vs. where you want your association to be . Many people review previous year’s budgets to prepare future ones. One problem we see is that many people despite reviewing past numbers, fail to make the proper budget corrections when something is way over or under budget from the previous year. Make the proper adjustments to insure an accurate budget. Prioritize projects – We have worked with any HOA and condo associations that get overwhelmed during budget time because they have so many repairs and projects that they want to handle all at once. Any kind of future projects or repairs, need to be prioritized accordingly. This is where you must separate your associations needs vs. wants. Everyone wants the landscaping or condo exteriors to look immaculate, but no one gets excited repairing an unsafe stairwell repairing a leaking sprinkler system. You must eliminate any safety or potential liabilities before exploring any community beatification projects. Utility Increases – We can’t recall a time in which utility costs actually went down from the previous year in our 25 years plus experience. Water, gas, and electricity costs have been increasing steadily over the last decade, especially water costs over the last 2 years. We always research our local city and municipalities to see if they have a price rate schedule available. For example the City of Austin is scheduled to increase water costs 70% over the next five years. Because we are aware of this price hikes, we obviously budget for them accordingly. If no information is available, we suggest increasing the budget on most utilities between 5% to 7% each year….

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BALANCING MONTHLY HOA FINANCIAL REPORTS

BALANCING MONTHLY HOA FINANCIAL REPORTS

BALANCING MONTHLY HOA FINANCIAL REPORTS 1. RECONCILE YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS It’s important to correspond your community association’s bank statements to your accounting ledgers. This includes incoming receivables and outgoing payables. Once you have confirmed that there is a match in your accounting system for each item on the bank’s statement, check for any oddities. If there are any discrepancies, make sure to attach a printout of your reconciliation report to your bank statement.   2. LIST DELINQUENT OWNERS AND OUTSTANDING PAYABLES When you’ve established your income for the month, you need to focus on what’s missing. This will usually come in the form of a delinquency report that will list homeowners who have not paid their dues for the month. You will also need a list of outstanding payables, or checks that have been written against the account but have not yet cleared.   3. PRODUCE A BALANCE SHEET AND PROFIT AND LOSS STATEMENT The balance sheet will list the community’s assets and liabilities. All you have to do is compare your owner balances and receipts against the bottom line of the receivable section on your balance sheet. You will also need to produce a Profit and Loss Statement (Income/Expense Statement). It must correspond with your balance sheet. WHAT SHOULD YOU BE CHECKING FOR? Confirm that the Balance Sheet is in balance. Examine any negative balances on the Balance Sheet and Income Statement. Ensure that the Year-to-Date Current Year Net Income/Loss on the Income Statement corresponds with the Balance Sheet’s Current Year Net Income/Loss. Ensure that the Balance Sheet Reserve Accounts listed under Liabilities & Equity Section corresponds with the Reserve Accounts listed under the Asset Section. Assess any big differences between budgeted and actual figures on the Income Statement. If everything corresponds as expected, you are ready to turn in your monthly HOA financial reports to the Board! HOA FINANCIAL REPORTS Monthly HOA financial reports are required by the Board every accounting cycle, whether it be quarterly or biannually. There is a ton of information out there for board members to help them understand how to state questions to ensure that HOA financial reports are correct. However, some members find it difficult to know which questions to ask in order to make sure everything is correct before giving it to the Board. Snap Collections is here to offer you advice and a checklist to ensure pristine HOA financial reports each month. Find: Great companies on our Members Directory.  …

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Are your board meetings productive and efficient?

Are your board meetings productive and efficient?

Board meetings should be productive, efficient meetings where the board conducts business. Stop and think about that for a minute. Are your meetings productive and efficient? Does the board meet to conduct business or socialize? Are you getting the most out of your meetings? We’ve put together seven keys to a successful board meeting. Following these suggestions can bring new life to your association and keep volunteers interested in helping.   1.- Board meetings should not last more than one hour. Start the meeting when it is scheduled to begin and get straight to business. If you collectively have the focus to get done in an hour you’ll be amazed with how much you can accomplish. If you have no time limit, the meeting will typically drag on and a lot of time will be wasted. When time is wasted at a meeting then people are less likely to volunteer because they feel their time is wasted. One hour meetings have a major impact on volunteers. Associations that hold focused, one hour meetings have more people volunteer. It’s also important to note that those volunteers stay active the in the community for much longer. Length of your board meetings may seem like a trivial matter, but it really does have a large impact on how the volunteers of the association view the organization and, in turn, how they view their role. 2.- Make your meetings action oriented. Don’t just discuss issues, make decisions. Every item up for discussion should end in a vote to move forward in some way or table the issue with a clear understanding of why the item is being tabled and when it will be revisited. When taking action on an item make sure it is clear who will be responsible for getting that task completed. Ambiguity cripples a board.   3.- Board Meetings are for the board. They are not neighborhood meetings or social gatherings. The purpose of a board meeting is to conduct business, not see how many people you can get to attend. Some board members try to get as many people to attend as possible. This is missing the point. Homeowners are, of course, welcome to attend but it is not a membership meeting. The purpose of the board meeting is for the board to consider the affairs of the association, make business decisions, and then have a clear plan of action.   4.- Take time prior to the meeting to think about what you want to discuss. Inform the community manager of this one week prior to the meeting. This way your topics of discussion can be placed on the agenda which will allow the other board members and the community manager the opportunity to think about and/or research the item you want to talk about. When you don’t come prepared and spring things on the other board members or on the community manager this typically results in a lot of unnecessary discussion with additional research needed in order to make any kind of decision. Remember, be action oriented. By planning ahead you can make more decisions at the meeting instead of causing an item to be discussed twice and delayed for months.   5.- There are an odd number of board positions for a reason. You will not always see eye to eye. Don’t take it personal if the other members of the board disagree with you. This will occur and is healthy. While each board member should attempt to come to a consensus with the other members, you will not be able to achieve this each time. Countless hours are wasted by board members continuing to argue a point just to obtain “victory” on a certain issue or to avoid any vote that is not unanimous. This occurs because someone is taking it personal. If your view is not shared on an issue, take a vote, and move on. Do not hold a grudge. Recognize that you can disagree and still work well with each other.   6.- If you think you may have a conflict of interest do not vote on that issue. Let’s say a board member’s spouse is on a committee. If the board is making a decision on an issue related to that committee then the board member with the spouse on that committee should excuse him/herself.   7.- Most associations should hold quarterly meetings (unless your bylaws require more). Meeting more often than that becomes excessive and unnecessary. Remember you want to have focused, short, productive meetings. This keeps people interested in serving on the board and on committees. If the association is constantly meeting then people feel it is taking too much of their time and they will stop volunteering. It is important to note that you are required to comply with the minimum meeting requirement in your bylaws. Most association bylaws require no more than quarterly meetings, but check yours to be sure.  …

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End of year Taxes for your property

End of year Taxes for your property

End of Year Taxes:   While tax returns aren’t due until April, to minimize your tax burden the strategy of accelerating rental property expenses should be considered now, property owners, should start deducting these expenses this year could be more important than ever, especially if you’re affected by the new Affordable Healthcare Act tax. Under the Act, if your modified adjusted income exceeds $250,000 (filing jointly) then you’ll pay an additional 3.8% tax on any rental income or other passive income above that amount. Rental property expenses are deductible only in the year they are paid, so December is your last chance to pay for any rental property-related expenses that you want to deduct this year. Additionally, you can pay your expenses in advance, so consider paying in December some expenses due next year (such as a mortgage payment, property taxes, or utility bills) to offset this year’s income.   As far as rental income is concerned, don’t be tempted to defer rental income for December rents to next year. The Internal Revenue Service matches 1099s for commercial leases, and they want to see rental income match up with 1099s. While residential rental owners don’t receive 1099s from their tenants, many audits that CAP’s have been involved in where the IRS examined residential lease agreements and had issues with the rental owner declaring less than a full twelve months of income if the unit was occupied for the entire year. But what if you were on vacation for all of December and didn’t check your mailbox until mid-January? That’s still income for December.   It’s important to not make assumptions about rental income losses–several clients get burned because they thought they could deduct these losses. The problem is that rental income losses fall under the “passive income rule” which can be a complicated beast. Rental income is considered passive income, and under the rule, passive income losses can only be offset against passive income, which means you need to have another rental property that makes money or some other passive income source. The rule is different if your adjusted gross income is less than $150,000. The passive income rules are very complex and everyone has a different situation, so it’s critical that you consult with your tax advisor before you act on any assumptions.   Checklist: End of Year Taxes Meet with your accountant to discuss end of year tax strategies. Consider paying now expenses due next year to offset this year’s income. Let your accountant know if you anticipate any rental losses next year, or if you’re planning on refinancing, buying, or selling rental property as these activities may have tax consequences that might be partially mitigated with informed planning. If you formed an LLC or S-Corporation to hold your rental property, order 1099s now to send to your unincorporated vendors (to whom you paid more than $600) by January 31st–it can sneak up quickly. Year-end reviews: Revisiting and evaluating insurance policies and rental regulations and laws is key to protecting your rental property investment. We recommend that rental property owners set an annual calendar reminder to review their insurance policies for proper and adequate coverage and check on new local ordinances affecting landlords. Insurance policies and their respective coverage amounts change frequently. We have seen many owners move out of their property and convert it to a rental but forget to call their insurance provider to make sure their policy is updated from a primary occupant policy to a landlord policy. If an owner does not make this policy change then it is very likely a future claim will be denied for the wrong policy classification. The classification change to a landlord policy will likely result in a premium increase but without the proper classification the property owner is not adequately insured which, in the end, will be a much bigger price to pay. City ordinances can change quickly and are difficult for distant and even local landlords to be aware of. While a local professional property manager should be able to help you with local ordinances, It is ultimately the property owner’s responsibility to make sure rental property is compliant with local city and county ordinances. In addition to local ordinances, make sure you understand federal and state laws that impact rental property, such as fair housing requirements and your state’s landlord-tenants laws. Your property manager, if you have one, will be an important resource here. If you self-manage your rental property, consider joining a state or local landlord association, as these groups often have attorneys provide updates on changing laws as well as provide other benefits. Property Managers in South Florida can join forces with www.sfpma.com   Checklist: Year-end Review Review rental property insurance policies; update amounts if necessary. If you don’t have an umbrella liability insurance policy, consider one. Make sure that if you have converted your primary residence to a rental property, that you made that classification change with your insurance company. Review local city or county ordinances for changes, such as registration requirements. Review federal and state laws, including fair housing rules and your state landlord-tenant statute, for any changes. Planning for Next Year: While it might be a slower time for year for landlords and property management companies, the winter, especially December, can nonetheless get busy because of the holidays. However, it’s important to have a game plan for the coming year. Schedule a planning meeting to meet with key people, including any co-owners of your rental property or your property manager, if you have one, to address these issues:   Checklist: Planning for Next Year Confirm annual or six-month rental property inspections are scheduled. Review lease agreement template. Review policies or “house rules.” Consider adding a policy addressing space heater safety. Adding a Pet Policy, we see many more tenants and owners with pets, along with service animals. Review rents and consider an increase. Discuss whether any significant repairs, such as re-roofing, need to be undertaken in the coming year. Brought…

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