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Sharper Scramble

Sharper Scramble

We are excited to announce that the Sharper Scramble will once again take place in 2021.

The event is scheduled for Friday, July 30, 2021. It will take place at Boulder Pointe Golf Club in Elko. The shotgun start is scheduled for 9:00 a.m.
It is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our business relationship together.
To register, email matt@sharpermanagement.com
   
Welcome Clover Condominium Association to the Sharper Family

Welcome Clover Condominium Association to the Sharper Family

The Clover Condominium Association is the newest addition to the growing Sharper Management family of clientele.
Built in 2009, these upscale, family-oriented condos are located near other associations under Sharper Management, including Copperridge Townhomes Association, Highland Shores Community Association, Mill Pond Condominium No. 1, 2 & Common, and Meadow Park Association.
“We’ve been fortunate to earn the business of growing communities in the area and we look forward to working with the Clover Condominium Association Board,” states Dan Cunningham, Sharper’s CEO and Partner.
Known for their reliable and committed approach to services for condominium and townhome associations in Minnesota, Sharper Management specializes in providing exceptional property management solutions. Offering a full-suite of premier services to the Minneapolis-St. Paul seven-county area, Sharper Management continues to expand their service area and look forward to building more new relationships throughout the Twin Cities.
Summer Construction: Protecting Your Investment

Summer Construction: Protecting Your Investment

Living in Minnesota, we’re all too familiar with construction in the summertime. After a freezing Winter and rainy Spring, asphalt is ridden with cracks and potholes. Spring and Summer storms can result in serious roof and siding damage. Repaving or remodeling can seem like a real hassle; however, that construction is important to protecting your investment. We’ve gathered a few reasons as to why those pesky projects are beneficial in the long run.
Appearance
Your HOA board is in charge of maintaining your community, and one aspect of that responsibility is general maintenance. It’s important to keep your neighborhood looking attractive and welcoming for prospective buyers and tenants, and for the current residents.
Home Value
By not keeping up with essential construction or maintenance, your home value runs the chance of decreasing. Prospective buyers or tenants will be put off by poorly kept lots and pathways. Roof damage that isn’t visible won’t affect appearance but will certainly decrease your home’s value.
Saving Money
Taking care of these issues when they arise will actually save you more money later on. Over time, damages like cracks in the asphalt will only get worse and will become a bigger hassle. Your HOA board will want to save reserve funds for more unexpected expenses.
Minnesota Computers for School

Minnesota Computers for School

Today, not having access to technology is much more detrimental than it was just five years ago. Sharper Management is proud to announce our recent donation to Minnesota Computers for Schools. While doing some much needed spring cleaning, we did an office inventory clean-up and donated two pallets worth of computer equipment to Minnesota Computers for Schools.
To help make sure that everyone has access to the technology necessary to succeed in school and in the workforce, Minnesota Computers for Schools recycles and repairs donated computers and repurposes them to provide technology access and skills training to people who need it most. MCFS is committed to the highest industry standards for recycling and data destruction.
We are so proud to have donated to this wonderful organization!
Understanding Your Wind and Hail Deductible

Understanding Your Wind and Hail Deductible

Hailstorms are an HOAs biggest risk, especially in Minnesota. Here, hailstorms tend to be so damaged that the losses incurred make insuring townhome and condo associations extremely difficult for insurance companies. Wind and hail losses are much more difficult to prevent than other damaging risks like fire and mold.
Due to the instances of hailstorms in the past, many insurers introduced the peril-specific deductible. This deductible is separate and only applies when the loss is causes by a certain issue; in this case, wind or hail. Initially, these peril-specific deductibles were introduced on a per-occurrence or per-building basis. The per-occurrence deductible only applies once each time the particular event happens. The per-building deductible applies separately for each building that is damaged by the particular event.
Many insurers are now choosing to utilize a percentage-based wind/hail deductible. This means that in the event of a loss caused by heavy winds or hail, the deductible will be calculated on a decided percentage of that building’s value—not a percentage of the damage done to the building. This is often a common misconception that creates costly financial errors.
Understanding the differences between these deductible options can be confusing, so make sure to communicate thoroughly with your insurance provider. Not every insurance policy offers the same deductible options we discussed, so be sure to ask when seeking quotes. Additionally, consider getting a roof inspection before approaching insurance companies.
It’s important to consider roof age, materials, shingles, and quality, when deciding upon a policy. Many insurers are willing to offer better rates and deductible options if your association has recently upgraded your roof. High quality roofing materials are always a plus and can give you some leeway on pricing (while simultaneously preventing losses in the first place).
Communicate with your Board and the Association to determine which deductible makes the most sense. In some cases, a high deductible can be so expensive that the amount the association pays out of pocket ends up covering all or most of the repairs needed—making the insurance unimportant in the first place.
While there may be some associations that high deductibles make sense for, it is vital to know what your association has and what your deductible responsibility will be in the event of a loss.
Make a Plan Before Storm Damage Happens

Make a Plan Before Storm Damage Happens

Is your homeowners association prepared to face bad weather? With storm season approaching, it’s important to have a management plan in place before potential property damage happens. The old adage, “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst,” is good advice to follow during storm season in the Midwest.
Before the storms roll in, make sure to get a spring roof inspection. Not only does this help build relationships with roofing and siding contractors, but it helps determine what the current status of your building is and makes it easier to identify issues related to inclement weather. Most contractors will conduct an inspection at no cost, so take advantage of the opportunity to ensure your building is adequately prepared. Looking for a contractor? Visit our Vendor Directory.
Create an emergency preparedness plan. In the event of a severe storm, you need to have a protocol in place that can be executed at a moment’s notice. Be proactive and make sure residents are aware of the safety procedures and where to seek shelter. Different weather scenarios require different plans—so make sure you are prepared for lightning, heavy rain, and tornado threats.
Ensure you have proper insurance. Check in with your insurance provider to fully understand what is—and what isn’t—covered under your current policy. Make adjustments as necessary. It may seem obvious, but many HOAs fail to stay adequately covered. Now is a great time to update your policy.
Prepare property exteriors. Strong winds can cause trees and large limbs to fall, which can potentially result in damage or injury. Before storm season fully arrives, consider hiring a contractor to trim the branches. Maintenance is not an area to cut corners, especially during storm season.
Stay vigilant. Always check for weather updates on your phone, and make sure to download any helpful apps that will keep you up-to-date in the event of inclement weather—don’t disable notifications.
New Pets and HOA Living

New Pets and HOA Living

Pets are family, and it is important for homeowners associations to welcome these furry friends into their communities. If you are a pet-friendly association, you are likely familiar with rules and regulations for homeowners with pets. If your association has yet to develop a pet policy (or if your HOA’s policy needs a revision), take note of the following considerations:
Pet Registration
Pet policies are difficult to enforce if you do not know how many pets reside in your community. Associations should require new homeowners to register their pets before moving in. Additionally, current residents should also submit pet registration forms before acquiring a new pet. Not only does pet registration enable the HOA to monitor the domestic animals within the community, but it also allows the HOA to follow-up with homeowners who violate pet rules and stay up to date on pets’ rabies vaccinations.
Enforcing Waste Cleanup
In pet friendly HOAs, animal waste can be one of the most common issues. If left unattended, animal waste can be a toxic and hazardous concern. When crafting your pet policy, be sure to include a requirement that all homeowners pick up after their pets and properly dispose of their waste. To encourage compliance, it is recommended to provide bags and trashcans throughout the community. Additionally, you may consider imposing fines on homeowners who fail to follow these rules.
Leash Requirements
Even in pet friendly HOAs, the importance of having a leash requirement cannot be overlooked. Regardless of a pet’s aggression levels, a leash requirement mitigates the risks of pets running into traffic or getting lost. To offset any disgruntled responses from homeowners, it is encouraged to offer a dog park or space where pets can roam freely without having to be leashed—this is a very appealing amenity to include in a pet friendly community.
Establish Liability for Pet Owners
It is incredibly important to establish liability for pet owners in your community. Not only does this protect the association in the case of injury or damage, but having a clear liability policy also reduces the risk of costly and tedious legal proceedings.
With over 63 million households in the United States that include a dog, you will likely see this trend reflected in your community. It’s important to emphasize to your homeowners why such policies are necessary—ensuring the safety and appeal of your community.
The Spring Selling Season Starts Now

The Spring Selling Season Starts Now

Will this spring be time for a fresh start? If you’ve decided to sell your HOA property, there are many things to consider as you prepare. To help you plan, we put together 3 important steps to know in terms of working with your HOA when selling.
Be Informed on Your HOA’s Selling Process
Most HOAs have rules that members must abide by as they seek to sell their home. If you do not already have that information, then you’ll need to contact your association. Typically, requirements for selling your home will be found in your HOA’s bylaws; it will also be helpful to your agent, if you get one, to know the terms for the seller and buyer to make sure the transfer is clear and lawful.
Have Documents Ready
Additionally, any serious buyers will most likely want a copy of the HOA’s important documents like rules, regulations, fees, and bylaws to help with their decision. Having those ready to go will make it easier and potentially speed up the selling process. The right agent will also let you know if any other information would be beneficial to your efforts.
Close Up Any Loose Ties
To help your prospects, it’s also important to address any violations and pay any outstanding fines you may have. A buyer can order a certain certification, provided by your HOA, outlining if you, as the seller, have any past due balances or outstanding violations. You will typically need to clear them up before closing anyway, so taking care of that beforehand helps streamlines the process. This includes continuing to follow the HOA’s rules even as you’re preparing to move to avoid any violations or fees complicating the transition.
Overall, we always recommend contacting your HOA to begin the selling process on the right foot. Additionally, your neighbors could be a good resource if they have sold an HOA property before and have any other tips that might help.
Vendor Checklist

Vendor Checklist

When selecting a vendor or contractor, it is critical to use due diligence and have a process in place for making these selections. By having a thorough process, you will satisfy your obligation as a board member while also protecting from potential liability.

When evaluating vendors or contractors for selection, there are some key pointers to follow:

  • Establish a thorough process for vendor “vetting.” Better yet, document the process for future boards to ensure consistency.
  • Conduct personal interviews (or engage in some kind of personal contact).
  • Confirm insurance coverage/documentation. Note that not all vendors need or have insurance, but this is an important aspect to take note of.
  • Confirm any licensing, credentials, or certifications a vendor may have depending on its specific industry.
  • Request multiple references and check them.
  • Proposals are not contracts, even if all parties sign it. Always ask for a formal contract that includes important terms regarding the relationship (i.e. termination, dispute resolution).

There are also special considerations for specific types of vendors and projects:

Construction Projects

  • Always get multiple bids to compare costs, operations, and qualifications. Ask for Certificate of Insurance and ensure that it is current and up to date through the anticipated length of a project.
  • Check with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry to confirm license status, learn of potential enforcement action, or history. Follow up on any issues.
  • Explore resources such as BBB, Angie’s List, Google reviews, and more. However, take all reviews with a grain of salt.
  • Confirm contractor’s ability to complete project within your desired timeframe.
  • Clarify methods of communication for project ahead of time.

Management Companies

  • Consider the amount of control you are relinquishing—full management? Partial?
  • Ensure agreement covers what is expected in as much detail as possible, including things like termination options, governing documents, and auto-renew provisions.
  • Have a thorough understanding of what services are included and what may require payment of additional fees.
  • Understand the relationship between management and the Board and how it translates in terms of a contract.

Routine/Ongoing Service Vendors

  • Ensure there is a termination or dispute resolution process in place in the event there is an issue.
  • Understand the schedule of services and what triggers action (i.e. inches of snowfall, days for garbage collection).

As general rules of thumb, you can (and should) always negotiate a contract if there are concerns over the terms proposed. If multiple bidders are involved, allow for a process to give all bidders a fair chance at the project. Finally, make sure there is always a way to end the relationship if needed.

At the end of the day, it is important to do your homework on the front end of the relationship to circumvent future issues. Do thorough research and check all available resources and negotiate for terms that you find acceptable.

Luckily, Sharper Management offers a Preferred Vendor Directory. All preferred vendors are required to provide a certificate of insurance and be in good standing with the state of Minnesota. This can be a fantastic starting point in the vendor selection process: https://sharpermanagement.com/preferred-vendors/