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Recent blog posts - C&S Blog - Page 10

Zogby Community Association Survey

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The Zogby polling organization recently completed a national survey commissioned by the Foundation for Community Association Research.   Their report states:  “Difficult economic times typically create more negative public views toward most institutions—whether Wall Street, the U.S. Congress or industry.  But that hasn’t happened in the case of the more than 315,000 U.S. community associations.  Despite serious economic and housing issues, community associations continue to get high approval ratings from their residents—the people who know best.”   Only 8 percent of those polled expressed negative feelings about their community.  To read the full report and see the actual questions and results, click here.  

Although the positive national results are very high, we want to do even better!  Please tell us what you think we can do to make your community a better place to live. We encourage everyone to get involved so please volunteer with the Board or Committees of your community.   There is no substitute for active and constructive involvement and no better way to build a true sense of community.

Click to watch John Zogby discuss the latest results or for more information about the Foundation for Community Association Research.

 

Lost Wallet? Lost Purse? FTC Advice

ftcTake action the minute you notice your wallet or purse is missing. Thieves often want more than cash when snatching your belongings; they want to assume your identity. The immediate steps you take can make the difference between some missing money and months (or years) of headaches and frustration.
 
The Federal Trade Commission offers the following suggestions:
 
File a report with police immediately. This provides needed proof of the crime for your bank, credit card company and insurance company.
 
Cancel each credit card. Ask for new cards and new account numbers. Then, call the major credit reporting agencies to report missing cards and place a fraud alert on your accounts. Equifax: (800) 525-6285. Experian: (888) 397-3742. TransUnion: (800) 680-7289. Ask for credit reports, too, to search for any discrepancies.
 
Call your utility companies. Inform them someone may try to receive new service with your identification.
 
Contact the Social Security Administration. Call (800) 772-1213.
 
Report the loss to your bank. Cancel checking and savings accounts. Open new ones, and stop payments on outstanding checks. Ask for a new ATM card, account number and PIN or password.
 
Call the state department of motor vehicles. Report your missing driver’s license. Get a new number that’s not your social security number.
 
Change the locks. If keys to your car or home were taken, you don’t want to give an identity thief access to more personal property and information.
 
Contact your insurance companies. Prevent an identity thief from adding himself or herself to your policies.
 
Once you take these steps, pay close attention to your accounts. Be your own fraud investigator by taking notes of everyone you speak to, the date and time of the call and what you talked about.
 
It’s always important to be wary of thieves. Try not to stuff your purse or wallet with all your things—from your checkbook, pay stubs and credit cards to ATM cards, driver’s license and health insurance cards. It can take years to recover from identity theft because thieves can hold onto your information and trade it with others. Order your free credit report annually to watch for suspicious charges or accounts.

Secure Association Approval First

carpenterAre you getting ready to fence the yard, make an addition to your house or move a wall inside your condo unit? Before you break out the miter saw, make sure to get your plans approved by your community association.  Many associations will have an Architectural Control Committee (ACC) or the task may be left to the Board of Directors.   
 
While it may seem arbitrary from an individual homeowner’s standpoint, the architectural control committee or Board of Directors, looks out for the entire community. Aside from stopping residents from painting pink polka dots on their houses, or putting in different windows in a condominium unit, the board or committee’s job is to make sure that the size and style of the project, the type of building materials being used and the overall look of the new structure adhere to the association’s design requirements.

Not only does this keep the community looking cohesive, it also helps to keep property values up by preventing individual structures or changes from standing out. Of course, it’s also important to note that unapproved structures or changes might legally have to be removed at the owner’s expense, so save yourself money and headaches by getting approval before building or making changes that require an approval.
 
So when you’re ready to start your new project, or if the design of your project changes midway through building it, send your plans to the architectural control committee or board first so that they can make sure everything is in compliance with the association’s design standards. If they do find any issues, they will let you know what they are and try to help you come up with other options.  Your association always appreciates all the hard work residents have done to make their homes and the community beautiful—help keep the association looking great by keeping the Board or ACC in the loop regarding your building projects that require an approval.

Go a Little Green and Save Money

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Looking to cut back to tighten the budget or ready to go little green? Here are 10 quick and easy tips to save a little energy and save a little money:

  • Unplug appliances and electronics. TVs, computers and kitchen appliances, as well as cell phone and laptop chargers, all use energy when they are plugged in—even if they are turned off.
  • Use power strips. “Smart” power strips automatically turn off when electronics are off or when one main unit (like your personal computer) is powered down.
  • Turn off lights. When you’re not in the room or not in the house, there’s no need for all the lights to be on.
  • Clean and replace furnace or air conditioner filters. Dirty filters block air flow, increase energy bills and shorten equipment life.
  • In the warmer months, keep the shades and blinds down on south-, east- and west-facing windows. In the colder months, open them up and let the sun in.
  • Activate “sleep” features on your computer and office equipment. When they go unused for a long period of time, they power down.
  • Lower the thermostat. Wear a sweater around the house and put an extra blanket on the bed at night.
  • Use fans instead of air conditioning when possible or combine their use to turn down the air temperature a bit.
  • Close vents and doors to unused rooms.
  • Wash your laundry with cold water. It’s just as effective.

Click here to check with the Alliance to Save Energy for more energy-and money-saving tips or to subscribe to their free online newsletter.

Right Smells Can Help Sell Home

So your house is on the market and you’re ready to make a dynamic first impression on potential buyers. Besides ensuring that your house looks and feels inviting, making sure it smells pleasant can help generate interest during showings. While traditional wisdom suggests that freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies will add a homey and enticing scent to your abode, new research indicates that the smell of these baked goods may be overwhelming to purchasers.

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According to The Wall Street Journal (“Using Smell to Make a Sale,” February 15, 2013), complex scents—like cookies and potpourri—can accidently distract potential buyers from focusing on your home because they could be subconsciously trying to decipher the aroma. Researchers tested this theory by adding various scents to a home décor store in Switzerland: Of the 402 people observed, consumers on average purchased 31.8 percent more when the store was scented with a simple scent—such as orange or vanilla—than when it was scented with a complex scent; consumers on average purchased 23.6 percent more when the store was scented with a simple scent than when it wasn’t scented at all.
 
Eric Spangenberg, dean of the college of business at Washington State University and a member of the research team, says people selling their homes can apply the same principles as well. He recommends using simple scents such as lemon, pine or basil to scent your home for showings because it’s easy for people to process these aromas. Without having their focus pulled away by complex smells, potential buyers can give more focus to the house and in turn be more open to spending. To ensure you’re home smells great, try using cleaning products that have a citrus smell, or use vanilla-scented candles or sprays in your home. Better yet, use the real thing to freshen up your house by bringing a basil plant into the kitchen during showings. Try to stick to one simple scent that unobtrusively permeates the house, and make sure your scent matches the atmosphere of your home. 

CA Day Has Much To Offer

Chris Brown, PCAM of C&S will be one of the instructors for the Condominium Board Member Certification Class at CA Day this Friday. The class is beneficial to all Board members. The four main topics to be covered are Elections, Budgets and Reserves, Official Records/Records Retention, and Dispute Resolution. There is much to see and do at CA Day. CA Day is offered each year by the West Florida Chapter of the Community Associations Institute. C&S is a proud Gold Sponsor of CAI. The day begins at 8:00 AM. The Board Member Certification Class is at 2:00 PM. Please drop by and visit with C&S at our booth and complete a chance to win the C&S Money Tree!

trade show

Team C&S Completes Walk-A-Thon

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The weather was beautiful along the Bradenton River Walk as Team C&S completed the Humane Society Walk-A-Thon along with five hundred other walkers. C&S raised over $1000 and helped the Humane Society of Manatee County exceed their goal of $50,000. We made new friends and saw many of our clients and vendors at our booth. Everyone had a lot of fun. To see more pictures click here for our Facebook page.

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Some Help From House Bill 87

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This time of year you can view many bills proceeding through the Legislature.  Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, most will not become law.  Keeping that in mind I have learned to not get too excited that a bill will become law until it happens.  

There are many bills worth following but one bill caught my eye yesterday and I want to share it with you.  House Bill 87 could help struggling associations that have homes or condo units not paying their fees while the bank does nothing.  You can read the full text of the bill here.   You can also follow it through the Legislative process here. 

Miracle League Manasota New Season

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Baseball exhibition season is about to start and C&S VP, Jessica Christianson, is again volunteering with the Miracle League of Manasota.  The above picture is from last year.  The 2013 season starts on Saturday, March 16, 2013.  The games will be played every Saturday for ten weeks, with the final games of the season to be played on May 18, 2013. This is Jessica’s second season helping with the Miracle League.
 
The Miracle League of Manasota is dedicated to providing an opportunity for all children and adults to play baseball, regardless of their ability. For the 14,000 school-aged children with disabilities and also for adults with disabilities in Sarasota and Manatee counties, the Miracle League of Manasota will build a synthetically surfaced baseball field and all the requisite amenities at a site that would serve the children and adults from both Counties. For the first time, children and adults challenged by any form of disability will be empowered to enjoy the joys and thrills of baseball regardless of their ability to play.
 
Jessica is also volunteering at the 3rd Annual Birdland Golf Classic on February 20, 2013, which benefits the Miracle League of Manasota.  Click here for more information on the Miracle League of Manasota.  

Small Percent Achieve Accreditation

aamc1Looking at the numbers, it truly is an honor for C&S to have completed the stringent criteria to be awarded the Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC) designation, by the Community Associations Institute (CAI)1.

There are 1,986 currently active association management companies in Florida as reported this week by Manta2.   Of these, only 16 management companies in the State of Florida have successfully achieved the AAMC designation.   For more information on the AAMC designation and why accreditation is important, please click our AAMC link here.   
 
1Community Associations Institute (CAI), is an international organization dedicated to building better communities, provides education and resources to community association homeowner leaders, professional managers, association management companies and other businesses and professionals who provide products and services to community associations

2Manta is the world's largest online community for promoting and connecting small business. With more than 87 million company profiles Manta, serves as a unique resource for more than 22 million unique global users. 

Team C&S Walks for Humane Society

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Team C&S is a sponsor and participant in the Paws in Motion fundraiser for the Humane Society of Manatee County. The big event is Saturday, March 9th and the walk begins at 9:00 AM along the beautiful downtown Bradenton River Walk.  

Team C&S will have six dog walkers and others from our team will be handling our booth. Everyone is invited to come out and visit with us and if you would like to help in our donation drive you may click on our Team C&S Link,  to give a donation to the Humane Society of Manatee County. Thanks and hope to see you there.

Breaking Rules

breaking rules1To one degree or another, we all want to maintain some individuality and personalize our home. Clearly our home is our castle.   Community associations often appear to subscribe to the exact opposite of this, but a closer look shows this is not really the case.  Community associations strive to strike a balance between the preferences of individual home/condo owner and the best interests of the community as a whole.  

A typical community association has well-established rules and use restrictions that homeowners and condominium unit owners agree to follow when they purchase their homes and units. These rules involve exterior decorations, paint colors, fences, storage sheds, pets, basketball poles, signs, flagpoles, vehicles, satellite dishes, landscaping, even smoking and doormats. Issues often arise when owners are either unaware of the rules or actually choose to ignore them.

Since our nation is built on individual freedom, it is natural and easy to side with an individual homeowner or condo owner who violates a rule of the community association. But one should consider that the rules were created to preserve the character of the community, protect the property values and maintain the established expectations that led you to purchase in your community in the first place. While some rules may at times seem outdated or unnecessary, one should ask: What if every resident did the same thing?

Humane Society Calendar Reminder

2013 calendar coversmall


Everyone is reminded that the Humane Society of Manatee County 2013 Calendar is still available. C&S is a sponsor of one month and you will see a beautiful lab pictured for the month. The calendar can be mailed to you or picked up at the HSMC. Click here for more information and to order. Enjoy your calendar while you help change the fate of animals in Manatee County.

New Federal Mortgage Guidelines

The Community Associations Institute (CAI) has long been following and offering assistance during the development process of the federal mortgage guidelines.    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has this month released the new guidelines and we have received the below information from CAI.

cai logo

On January 10, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its long-awaited federal Qualified Mortgage (QM) standard. The new federal guidelines, which are required by the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (commonly known as the Dodd Frank Act), establish minimum requirements for all mortgage loans.
 
As anticipated, the QM standard considers community association assessments a key factor when determining if a borrower is qualified for a mortgage. Ensuring borrowers can afford to pay association assessments will lead to stronger communities and prevent foreclosures.
 
“The Ability-to-Repay standard will ensure home buyers are able to fulfill all their financial obligations related to owning their home—including their association assessments. This will create a greater degree of financial stability for community associations, while at the same time helping to ensure fairness and equity for all owners in the community," said Thomas M. Skiba, CAE, chief executive officer of Community Associations Institute.
 
Under the QM standard, lenders are required to prove borrowers have the financial resources to pay mortgage principal and interest, insurance premiums, property taxes and association assessments. Lenders that extend mortgage credit without fully documenting a borrower’s income and assets and ensuring the borrower has the ability to make all monthly mortgage payments will face stiff penalties and fines.
 
Lender documentation of association assessments and special assessments required to meet the new ability to repay standard will be a key issue for CAI members. CAI will continue to work with the CFPB and the banking industry to ensure that all parties understand the role played by community associations to provide lenders assessment information in a reasonable and cost-effective manner.
 
Key features of the QM standard include:
 

    Ability to Repay—lenders must document that borrowers have sufficient assets and income to make monthly mortgage payments and pay other mortgage-related obligations such as community association assessments.
    Borrower Debt-to-Income Ratio—borrowers may not spend more than 43 percent of their monthly income for payment of mortgages and mortgage-related obligations such as association assessments.
    Legal Safe Harbor for Lenders—except in the case of high-cost mortgages, lenders that comply with the ability to repay standard will be offered protection from borrower litigation.
    High Risk Loan Terms Prohibited—lenders are no longer permitted to offer mortgages that allow loan balances to increase (negative amortization) or interest-only payments. Mortgages may not have terms of greater than 30 years.
    Transitional Standard—all loans eligible to be guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or for Federal Housing Administration insurance will be granted QM status during a transitional period.
    Delayed Effective Date—lenders will have one year to comply with the QM standard, which is effective January 2014.

 
CAI is reviewing the final QM standard and will provide additional updates to CAI members once a full analysis has been completed. Summary documents provided by the CFPB may be viewed here.
 
With more than 32,000 members dedicated to building better communities, CAI works in partnership with 59 domestic chapters, a chapter in South Africa and housing leaders in a number of other countries, including Australia, Canada, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. CAI provides information, education and resources to community associations and the professionals who support them. CAI’s mission is to inspire professionalism, effective leadership and responsible citizenship—ideals reflected in communities that are preferred places to call home. Visit www.caionline.org or call (888) 224-4321.

Property Management Sarasota

Kiss statue

We are so excited for all of the new projects we have coming up in 2013. C&S Management is one of a select few Sarasota property management companies to be an Accredited Association Management Company. We are very proud of this accomplishment, the highest designation a company can receive, and are looking forward to another year of success and satisified customers.

C&S Management and all C&S managers are licensed by the state of Florida. We, as a property managment company in Sarasota, are a member of the Community Associations Institute along with the Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce.

We are well known as one of the best Sarasota property management companies and would love the opportunity to show you what our company can accomplish for you in the New Year. Give us a call and we can talk about all the services we can offer you. Property management is so important and we are your number one resource for Sarasota to make it happen.

Property Management Bradenton

Bradenton Harbour

We are so excited for all of the new projects we have coming up in 2013. C&S Management is one of a select few Bradenton property management companies to be an Accredited Association Management Company. We are very proud of this accomplishment, the highest designation a company can receive, and are looking forward to another year of success and satisified customers.

C&S Management and all C&S managers are licensed by the state of Florida. We, as a property managment company in Bradenton, are a member of the Community Associations Institute along with the Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce.

We are well known as one of the best Bradenton property management companies and would love the opportunity to show you what our company can accomplish for you in the New Year. Give us a call and we can talk about all the services we can offer you. Property management is so important and we are your number one resource for Bradenton to make it happen.

Property Management St. Petersburg

cfiles6510

We are so excited for all of the new projects we have coming up in 2013. C&S Management is one of a select few St. Petersburg property management companies to be an Accredited Association Management Company. We are very proud of this accomplishment, the highest designation a company can receive, and are looking forward to another year of success and satisified customers.

C&S Management and all C&S managers are licensed by the state of Florida. We, as a property managment company in St. Petersburg, are a member of the Community Associations Institute along with the Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce.

We are well known as one of the best St. Petersburg property management companies and would love the opportunity to show you what our company can accomplish for you in the New Year. Give us a call and we can talk about all the services we can offer you. Property management is so important and we are your number one resource for St. Petersburg to make it happen.

New Year's Greeting for 2013

The C&S staff wishes everyone a happy, safe and prosperous 2013!

news years 2013 2

Condo/HOA Board Member Class

Jessica Christianson and Ellen Brown from C&S will be the instructors for the class: How to Run an Effective Board Meeting. All community association volunteer leader (CAVL) members of CAI are invited to attend. See flyer below.

cai class

C&S Thank You and Holiday Greeting

Thank you to all our clients and we wish you a very happy and safe holiday season.

christmas 2012

Bradenton

4301 32nd Street West
Suite A-20
Bradenton, Florida 34205
Phone: (941) 758-9454
Fax: (941) 753-3062

Sarasota

31 Sarasota Center Blvd
Suite B
Sarasota, Florida 34240
Phone: (941) 377-3419
Fax: (941) 377-6218

Saint Petersburg

111 2nd Avenue North-East
Suite 900
Saint Petersburg, Florida 33701
Phone: (727) 456-0027
Fax: (866) 890-0548

Venice

871 Venetia Bay Boulevard
Suite 230
Venice, Florida 34285
Phone: (941) 786-3552
Fax: (866) 890-0548
©2017 C & S Community Management Services, Inc., AAMC All rights reserved.