In our Co-op & Condo Board adaptation of Stephen R. Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” the first 3 habits discuss changing your mindset from being too dependent upon others to being completely independent and self-reliant. Here’s Habit #1 addressing the importance of being proactive or plan ahead.
Running a Condo Association is no simple task. You must manage a budget, keep a building in good repair, fix issues for Owners, deal with unexpected disasters, manage crazy Board members, and more. Although this can be daunting, there are certain Condo Association management basics which will help guide you towards success.
Summer is here and in the midst of such heat, next year’s winter heating season can seem distant. However, the best time to manage next year’s heating costs, if you haven’t started already, is TODAY! Most buildings have old and inefficient boilers and heating systems, which creates both unnecessary costs and carbon output, as well as discomfort. Here are some tips on what to prioritize and where to start:
If you’re a board member of a coop or condo building, you and your board undoubtedly work hard to represent your fellow owners. While owners want you to maintain your shared home at the lowest cost possible, the primary board and management responsibilities are the management of day-to-day operations, as well as special requests and emergencies. This leaves very little extra time to devote to serious cost cutting.
When your co-op or condo elects new board members, they will bring innovative and diverse ideas to the table. Residents always have high expectations that new board members will solve lingering issues, find new approaches to meet resident needs, and better manage fixed and variable costs. Utilizing social media, "greening" the building, and utilizing expert residential co-op and condo consultants are just a few of the ways board members are tackling the complexity of multi-residential housing challenges.
Many people appreciate the obvious work we do in helping boards cut budgets, save money, and run more efficiently. There are many “big” items involved with this, but small details also matter and add up. Effective communication is an example of this. Between the many moving parts and layers of management; board, super, managing agent, much can go wrong. This is a case of “too many cooks in the kitchen.” Proper technology can solve this, while at the same time creating cost efficiencies.
Most of you have heard about the effect of compounding. This is commonly known and spoken about in investments. According to Merriam-Webster it is “to pay (interest) on both the accrued interest and the principal.” The opposite is true as well. Although not often talked about, the effect of compounded savings, or reduction in expenses can be significant. We helped one association cut one particular expense, which over the next 10 years will save them, using some reasonable assumptions, over $240,000.
Working closely with your managing agent is a great start to cutting costs. The managing agent normally has a great bulk program for both electricity and energy purchases, providing an opportunity for their buildings to switch to ESCOs and reduce unit costs. Although cutting the cost of something the building uses and considers a fixed cost is a great start, it is not even half the battle. Here are 10 tips on cutting heating and electric use.
It’s that time of the year again. Soon, you will need to inform your owners that their monthly fees are increasing, again. This is in spite of a close to zero inflation economy and owners’ salaries barely (or not) increasing. Despite this, every contract and vendor that the board hires, on owners’ behalf, automatically increases their fees every year.