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Welcome Packets and Your HOA

Welcome Packets and Your HOA

A welcome packet is a nice way to make new families in your HOA feel at home and provide them with handy information about your community. Some ideas regarding items to include are:
  • Welcome letter. It would be expected for a welcome packet to contain a welcome letter from the HOA community. This letter can be generic and used for every new resident. Be sure to include a brief explanation of what is contained in the rest of the packet and note when the next HOA Board meeting will be taking place.
  • Community rules and regulations. Even though rules and regulations have likely been covered already, it’s not to have a handy list for new residents.
  • Amenity information. If your community has shared amenities, like a pool, gym, or clubhouse include a sheet detailing hours of operation and any other relevant information. Some examples of other information include if reservations are required, COVID guidelines regarding the shared gym area, or pool usage information.
  • Owner contact sheet. If you don’t collect this information at closing, the Welcome Packet is an appropriate place to include a sheet to collect new owner’s contact information in case of emergency.
  • Local points of interest. Exploring the community beyond the HOA is one of the most engaging parts of moving to a new home. Your Welcome Packet can make this an easier process for new residents by including local points of interest. Restaurant ideas, the address of the local library, or a “hidden gem” in the neighborhood like a great dog park are all nice tidbits to include and will help new residents in your HOA feel right at home.
Festive and Safe Holiday Fun

Festive and Safe Holiday Fun

Are you looking to get out of the house this holiday season? Even though there aren’t as many in-person activities due to COVID-19, there are still plenty of fun things to do!
The Glow Holiday Festival is a drive-through holiday light experience at the State Fairgrounds. It is friendly for all ages and involves 12 differently themed stations along the 1-mile track.
When: November 19, 2020 to January 3, 2021
Where: Minnesota State Fairgrounds
Want to dazzle your friends and family with a unique, hand-made gifts this Christmas? Then check out the Virtual Christmas Market, which has a wide variety of small vendors that sell everything from food to clothing to decorations.
When: November 1, 2020 to December 24, 2020
Where: Online
Head on over to the University of Minnesota’s Arboretum for walk-through Christmas lights. This year there is a 3D apple walk in honor the 100-year anniversary of the Minnehaha apple, as well as an icy luminary walk and tent of lights. The tickets are first come first serve, so get yours now!
When: November 19, 2020 to January 3, 2020
Where: 3675 Arboretum Dr., Chaska MN 55318
A tradition loved by families across the Metro, Holidazzle will be moved online this year to ensure everyone can safely experience their favorite holiday event. The Holidazzle Virtual Show will be aired on December 3, 10, and 17 and will include a visit from Santa, DIY holiday projects, small business holiday gift ideas, local food spotlights, and more.
When: December 3, 10, and 17, 2020
Where: Online at Holidazzle.com
Online Shopping and Delivery Safety

Online Shopping and Delivery Safety

The number of Americans having online orders delivered at their front doors has significantly increased this year, and it’s sure to continue to increase before Christmas.
Some great tips to keep in mind to help ensure your packages arrive and stay on your doorstep include:
  • Request notifications on your deliveries so you can bring it inside as soon as possible and have a written record of your package being delivered
  • Always require a signature on your deliveries so packages aren’t left unattended, especially when expecting larger/more expensive items
  • Schedule deliveries for a date and time when you are normally home, so you can grab your package as soon as it is dropped off
  • Set up a vacation hold if you will be going out of town for the holidays, or ask a neighbor to keep an eye out on packages and bring them inside if they see any
  • If you were struck by a porch pirate, call your local police department
Have a safe upcoming season and enjoy holiday shopping!
Understanding Insurance in an HOA

Understanding Insurance in an HOA

If your home insurance is something you plan on changing this year, it is important to understand what the HOA’s master policy covers vs what your policy needs to cover.
There are two different types of coverages that may be in place within your HOA.
WALLS IN
The first policy is a known as “studs in” or “walls in”. This means that everything in your condo, other than personal items, are covered. The most common types of policies are called “studs out” or “walls out”. These policies cover everything outside of your home, like your driveway and roof, but not what’s inside, like your appliances or surfaces.
WALLS OUT
For example, if your HOA has a “walls out” policy and there is an electric fire in your home, you will be responsible for the damage. If a tree falls in a storm and knocks down your fence, however, the HOA’s insurance policy will cover the repairs.
Checking your HOA’s coverage before renewing your own will help keep you safe and more financially secure if, and when, an emergency strikes.
Association Funds – Operating vs Reserve

Association Funds – Operating vs Reserve

As you create your HOA’s 2021 budget, make sure you plan on having more than enough money in both your reserve and operating funds. Having both funds full is important to maintain the upkeep of your community. But what is the difference between operating and reserve funds? And why can’t you just use one fund instead of two? Let’s break it down.

Operating Funds are what is used for normal, day-to-day expenses such as lawn care, snow removal, repairs & maintenance, and more. The services classified as operating services are set by governing documents, so while there may be some variation as to what your HOA offers, most of them are the same.

Reserve funds are funds used in an emergency, like storm damage. Most associations hire a professional to come and develop a reserve study, looking at your buildings and pavement and estimating when maintenance and replacements will need to be made. HOAs can then set a budget off of these estimates; if you will need a new roof in 2 years and new siding in 5, put more of your reserve funds into the “roof” section and less in the “siding” section since you will need your roof done sooner than your siding.

Operating and reserve funds are just like checking and savings accounts. Most of your expenses will be paid via your checking account, but when there is an emergency like a major hailstorm or pavement damage, you dip into savings account. Having your money separated into these two accounts will help keep you within budget and spending money on the things that your HOA community needs to operate.

Fiduciary Duty 101

Fiduciary Duty 101

As a member of your HOA’s board, you have many of duties. The most important of them is fiduciary duty.

Fiduciary duty requires board members to stay objective, unselfish, responsible, honest, trustworthy, and efficient. Board members, as stewards of public trust, must always act for the good of the organization, rather than for the benefit of themselves. They need to exercise reasonable care in all decision making, without placing the organization under unnecessary risk.

The duty of care is the duty to make reasonable and informed decisions. Instead of going with the first contractor you come across, shop around. Is there anyone more qualified? Less expensive? If so, go with them. Part of your job as an HOA member means choosing the best option for your community, not the easiest.

The second duty is the duty of loyalty; the ability to set aside your personal interests for the good of the HOA. Don’t hire your friend as a contractor if they aren’t the best person for the job. If you want to spend money on a new project, ask yourself if it is a personal interest or a community interest. If the community would not benefit from, say, a new hot tub or upgraded gym, scrap the project.

If you have questions contact Sharper Management – we are always here to help!

Long-term Ideas for Productivity When Working from Home

Long-term Ideas for Productivity When Working from Home

According to Stanford University, 42% of the American workforce is currently working from home. If this applies to you, we have few ideas that may help.

Have a designated workspace. While the kitchen counter may seem like a welcoming home office, it is recommended to carve out a space that is specifically for work. Having a specific workspace will help maintain the mental separation of work and home, and will also make it easier to stay organized.

Set ground rules with loved ones. It’s easy for your family to think you’re “home” when really at “work”. Setting a few ground rules like, “If my door is shut, don’t disturb me” can help keep you stay focused.

Maintain your regular work hours. Dedicated work hours are a great way to keep family time and work time separate. Resist the urge to pop into your home office to do a “couple of quick things”. Often times those quick things turn into a few hours instead.

Thinking About Selling Your Home?

Thinking About Selling Your Home?

With interest rates and housing inventory at historic lows, this is a very good time to sell your home. If you’re considering putting your HOA property on the market soon, there are a few things to remember about selling an HOA.

A review of the Governing Documents for your Association is a good idea to know what kind of questions may arise during the sales process. If you need an updated copy of your Governing Documents, they are typically available on your Association’s website through Sharper Management.

As the seller, you will be required to provide resale disclosure documents about your HOA. These documents contain a wealth of information for a buyer that include things like:

  • Pending litigation about the association
  • Up-to-date information about assessments
  • The Association’s financial status
  • Covenants and restrictions within the HOA
  • Any violations about the unit you are selling
  • Governing documents for the HOA

You may request resale disclosures through the Sharper Management website or visit this link directly to learn more.

Haley Boles Joins the Sharper Management Team

Haley Boles Joins the Sharper Management Team

Eden Prairie, MN, (September 9, 2020) – Sharper Management is pleased to welcome Haley Boles to its community management team as an Assistant Community Manager. She will be working with our Community Managers to ensure tasks and requests from Sharper Management properties are attended to efficiently.  

Boles comes to Sharper Management with a background in both association management and retail. In her last position she was a team lead for a rental property management company. Prior to that, she managed a successful retail location in the metro area.   

“As we continue to grow our presence in the local market, we understand that investing in our current and new staff is imperative. Welcoming Haley is a bright day for the Sharper Family.  Her experience and attitude will be a great addition for Sharper and the clients we serve,” states Matt Froehlich, Partner and Chief Operating Officer. 

Founded in 2010, Sharper Management is a locally owned, mid-sized property management company offering a full suite of premiere services to homeowner’s associations of all sizes. Sharper Management currently provides services to the Minneapolis-St. Paul seven-county area. 

For more information on Sharper Management services and employment opportunities, call 952-224-4777 or email to info@sharpermanagement.com. 

Michelle Gaskill Joins the Sharper Management Team

Michelle Gaskill Joins the Sharper Management Team

Eden Prairie, MN, (September 9, 2020) – Sharper Management is pleased to welcome Michelle Gaskill to its team. As the new Operations Manager for Sharper, Gaskill brings nearly 30-years of experience and a wealth of knowledge to the position. Her effective and efficient information management style will be a great benefit to overall operations and to all community members in associations managed by Sharper.   

Gaskill began her career in rental property management in 1991. After spending 15 years in that sector, she transitioned to association management in 2006 and earned both the CMCA and AMA accreditations. In 2010 she made the shift from community management to the internal operations department at Associa MN.  

Working for a Minnesota-based company is something Gaskill is looking forward to in her new position at Sharper management.  

We are excited to welcome Michelle to the Sharper family.  Her experience and attention to detail will be a great resource for our new and existing clients,”states Matt Froelich, Partner and Chief Operating Officer. 

Founded in 2010, Sharper Management is a locally-owned, mid-sized property management company offering a full suite of premiere services to homeowner’s associations of all sizes. Sharper Management currently provides services to the Minneapolis-St. Paul seven-county area. 

For more information on Sharper Management services and employment opportunities, call 952-224-4777 or email to info@sharpermanagement.com.