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Sharper Rolls Out Client Care Center

Sharper Rolls Out Client Care Center

Earlier this month, Sharper Management rolled out a new department designed to streamline communication efforts and increase customer service, and thus increase client satisfaction. The Client Care Center is a “call center” like setup where every call from homeowners, vendors, realtors, insurance agents, etc will receive a live body in the Sharper office. Perhaps more importantly, those staff members answering calls and emails are equipped with the information and tools to satisfy even the most difficult of questions, and to help facilitate resolution on just about any matter.

The reality is an overwhelming majority of the 75 calls received on average each day are very basic questions. Are pets allowed? What is garbage pickup day? How much are my monthly dues? Can you send me a certificate of insurance? All of these questions can be handled by the team of individuals making up Client Care. Such calls and emails need not be sent to a Community Manager or an Assistant Community Manager, interrupting their workflow, or worse, going to voicemail because they are unavailable to take the call or unable to respond to the email quickly. Even more difficult inquires such as maintenance requests (ex: a piece siding blows off) and even vendor service issues (ex: they missed my driveway when they plowed) can be facilitated directly by a Client Care team member.

Finally, another focus and purpose of the Client Care Center is to more thoroughly document communications. Actionable items such as maintenance requests can be put into a Task and our Task system can be better utilized. Call logs can be generated for association reporting purposes – and for important historical documentation record keeping. Overall, better administrative tracking will result from the Client Care system.

“At the end of the day, we recognize this is a customer service industry. We also realize that our overall goal is to help enhance property values for the clients that entrust us with management services for their association,” said Matt Froehlich, owner and chief operating officer. “Our goals with the Client Care Center is two-fold. First, it clearly provides an enhanced customer service experience for the nearly 13,000 homes we are responsible for assisting. Secondly, it frees up our Community Managers and Assistant Managers to be working on bigger picture things like building budgets, getting bids, contract negotiations, and enables them to spend more time “in the field” focusing on things such as vendor and project management, site inspections and rule enforcement efforts. The Client Care Center will be a win-win for everybody and we are extremely excited about it.”

Client Care is staffed by Sam Crowther, previously having spent the past year as the receptionist at Sharper and comes with a vast background in customer service positions – and Grant Peterson, having spent over a year as an assistant community manager at Sharper and whom also has significant background in communications and customer service.

Summer Vacation

Summer Vacation

August is vacation month in Minnesota. Our best weather of the season is upon us, the kids are still out of school, and the time is just right to get away for some R&R. Unfortunately, your perfect vacation could be ruined upon your arrival back home when you find your home has been broken into while you were away. As your thoughts are racing through this scene, you wonder what you could have done to prevent this?

While there is no foolproof way to ensure your home will not be burglarized while you’re away, there are smart precautions to take that could help to minimize your home becoming a target for thieves.

Just like a well-planned list of activities for a nice vacation can help make things go smoothly, so can a well-planned vacation security checklist. Some simple suggestions include:

  • Stop the mail. An overflowing mailbox or newspapers on the doorstep are great indicators that no one is home.
  • Leave your blinds open. One of the first thing a thief is likely to do is close the blinds while they are inside your home. If you arrive back and the blinds are closed, it’s a great early tip that something is amiss.
  • Be aware of what you are posting on social media. Post your vacation photos after your return and don’t announce to the world that you’re at the airport awaiting take off. If you must post such things, check your security settings and be sure only those you’ve invited to your networks can see what you’re writing. Set them to private and not public.
  • Lock up. This seems so simple, but it’s easy to forget the flip the front door lock especially if you don’t use that entrance very often. Also check windows and side doors to your garage. Be sure they are all secure before leaving.
  • Do not leave a spare key on the porch under the potted plants. Burglars know the tricks and will likely find your extra, hidden key!
  • Mind your trash. Leaving your cans out when no other neighbors do is another tipoff that you’re not home.

We hope you enjoy your vacation time!

Summer Living in an HOA – The Pool

Summer Living in an HOA – The Pool

Living in Minnesota we know all too well how much our temperatures swing between summer to winter. We go from one cold extreme to a very hot extreme within a few short months. That makes having a pool in your HOA very attractive in the summertime. It’s important to keep in mind some of the most basic pool safety tips while enjoying our beautiful warm weather.

Every HOA will have their own set of rules to be aware of, but the common ones we see most often include:

  • No pushing, running, or excessive horseplay in the pool area. Pools decks can be slippery.
  • No swimming under the influence.
  • No glass in the pool area.
  • No swimming during a rain or thunderstorm.

Lifeguards are not on duty in a HOA pool. It is swim at your own risk which means you and the children the accompany you. Please be sure closely watch children while they are in the pool. Young children who are not fully potty trained must wear swim diapers to avoid contamination of the pool.

Be reasonable about the amount of noise you and your family are making while in the pool common area.

Teach children basic water safety tips and enroll them in swimming lessons.
Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings to avoid entrapments.

Don’t rely on fun toys such as water wings or noodles to keep your children safe. If your child can’t swim, fit them with an appropriate personal floatation device (PFD).

Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.

Summer Storms

Summer Storms

We’ve already experienced some of the fury Mother Nature can produce this summer season resulting in widespread hail damage to roofs and siding in the south metro. We thought this would be a great time to share a few tidbits regarding insurance coverages and what to do in the event of server weather.

If you’ve grown up in the Midwest, you’re already adept at being “sky aware” on sticky, hot, humid days. Our modern lives and cell phone make getting weather updates and notifications easier than ever to stay current on your local weather conditions. But, do you know what the alerts mean?

Watches – The conditions are favorable or expected but not occurring or imminent.
Tornado Watch – Atmospheric conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornados.
Severe Thunderstorm Watches – Atmospheric conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms capable of producing hail at least 1″ in diameter and/or 50 know (58 mph) or great wind speeds.

Warnings – A tornado is occurring or is imminent for the warning area.

Tornado Warning – A severe thunderstorm has developed and has either produced a tornado or radar has indicated intense low-level rotation in the presence of atmospheric conditions conducive to tornado development and/or a human has spotted a tornado.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning – A severe thunderstorm has developed and is capable of producing hail greater than 1″ in diameter and/or 50knot (58 mph) wind speeds.
Seeking Shelter – Suggestions from the National Weather Service
If you are at home during a tornado:

  • Go to a windowless interior room on lowest level of your house. Go to a storm cellar or basement if your house has one. If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or a smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet.
  • Get away from the windows.
  • Go to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they tend to attract debris.
  • Bring your pets with you if time allows.
After the Storm
Emergency Response
What to do if damage occurs during non-business hours? The Sharper Management team has a 24/7 emergency line in place just for situations like this. We are in touch with our own maintenance teams and vetted contractors who will respond to triage the situation to prevent further damage.
Repair Responsibility?
Your governing documents will explain who is responsible for repairs to exterior damage. Common roofs and generally items that are “studs out” are covered by the insurance policy of the HOA. That would include exterior items such as a damaged roof, siding, gutters, and windows. If a tree, for example, crashes into your condo complex and damages the roof and breaks windows, the “studs out” clause would put responsibility in the court of the HOA. However, if the fallen tree creates a hole in the roof and your unit floods, this damage is “studs in” and your homeowner’s policy would come into play. Again, it’s best to check your association’s documents for the details. If you find your individual home policy needs updating, now is a good time to do this.
Let’s all hope for calm weather in August!
Board Tips: Three Pitfalls to Excessive and Unproductive Meetings

Board Tips: Three Pitfalls to Excessive and Unproductive Meetings

We live in a culture of meetings – and unfortunately there is an epidemic of unproductive and unnecessary meetings. Just Google “make meetings more effective” and you are sure to pull up a plethora of Harvard Business School studies and countless Wall Street Journal op-ed pieces. Association Boards are certainly guilty of meetings that are too frequency, far too long, and not at all productive. Rather than focusing on how to make them more effective, below are three pitfalls, common themes observed by countless managers and homeowners, that can create unproductive and unsatisfactory Board meetings.
Don’t Beat a Dead Horse: when facing a difficult task or polarizing decision, often times Boards will endlessly revisit the topic. Unless new facts or circumstances have come to light, make the best decision possible with the information you have and move on. Any progress and forward movement is better than the opposite, and most of the time better than being completely stagnate. And finally, don’t waste time second guessing decisions already made.
Stop with the Hypotheticals: there is nothing that will make your manager’s eyes roll and fellow Board member’s heads spin more than brainstorming hypotheticals to a decision or task at hand. While thoroughly vetting issues and comprehensive discourse on complicate topics is necessary to sound decision making, there is also a point where it just gets downright unproductive. If the matter is truly complex, the Board and manager should be relying on expert information. Personal opinions, non-expert input, “what if’s?” and “if this, then what’s?” seldom help in constructively aiding the decision-making process.
Don’t Allow Tangents: this should go without saying. All too often, however, one or multiple Board members can “go rouge” – “step on their soapbox” – or whatever other cliché statement you want to say, to make a point (which may be related to the point above about nonsensical hypotheticals) or pursue their personal agenda. There is nothing more distracting, and nothing more detrimental, to a constructive meeting than tangents. A strong meeting facilitator is essential to control excess or non-productive dialog.
So, What Goes in Meeting Minutes, Anyways?

So, What Goes in Meeting Minutes, Anyways?

Ok… time to elect Officers! Who wants to be Secretary???……Anyone?……Hello?….
No one wants to be Secretary because most people find the role of taking Meeting Minutes to be a daunting task. If you refocus your view of what Minutes are supposed to be, however, it really isn’t a tall task at all.
Minutes should document decisions made. They are not meant to be a dictation of everything that was said at the meeting. In fact, it is highly recommended that Minutes do NOT capture, in detail, general ideas discussed. It can lead to very creative interpretations by readers! Minutes should be short and concise. Bullet points are your friend. They should follow (and may be in the format of) your Agenda.
Here are the essential points your Minutes should capture:
  • Correct legal name of the Association
  • Type of Meeting
  • Board Members in attendance and absent
  • Date, location and time meeting was called to order and adjourned.
  • Names of homeowners formally addressing the Board (example: those requesting, in advance, to be on the Agenda)
  • A generalized listing of topics discussed (short bullet points recommended)
  • A detailed statement of motions and resolutions proposed. Names do not need to be identified for “Yes” and “No” votes. The vote count, however, should be shown. Example: “Johnson moved to approve the Minutes from the June 15th meeting. Bartlett seconded. Minutes were approved unanimously.”
  • Finally, the date, time and location of the next meeting.
Again, the purpose of Minutes is to document decisions made and provide a listing of topics discussed.
Remember, Minutes can actually be used as a legal document and are the official record of your Association. Keep them concise and they will serve you well….and perhaps it won’t be so hard to get an answer to question “so…..who wants to be Secretary!?”
Sharper Offers Board Training Opportunities

Sharper Offers Board Training Opportunities

Sharper Management will present two free Board training opportunities in the coming months. Both sessions will be held at the Bell Plaza office building in Bloomington, MN (3800 American Blvd W). All Board members from community associations managed by Sharper are welcome to attend.
Coming January 2020 – “Board Basics: An Orientation for Board Members”
This general orientation session will be led by Sharper’s two directors of community management, Candy Lee, CMCA, AMS, PCAM and Josh Reams, CMCA, AMS, PCAM. Topics covered will include:
* Defining Types of “Associations”
* Roles & Responsibilities of the Board
* Financial Fundamentals
* An Overview to Governing Documents & State Statutes
* How to Run Effective Board Meetings
* Insurance Basics
* Property Management Practices
Tuesday, October 15th 2019 at 6 p.m. – “Financial Fundamentals and Simplifying Insurance”
This focused session coincides with most association’s end-of-fiscal year and insurance renewal seasons. Insurance and financials are always large and complex topics. Led by Sharper’s two directors of community management, Candy Lee, CMCA, AMS, PCAM and Josh Reams, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, in addition to trusted insurance vendor and expert, Eric Skarnes, of Insurance Warehouse, this session will cover topics such as:
* Defining Types of Insurance Policies & How the Interact
* Insurance Claims & How They are Handled
* Market Place Update
* Basic Financial Reporting
* Understanding Operating Cashflow & Reserve Savings
* Budgeting Process & Methods
* Replacement Reserve Studies & Requirements
If you are interested in reserving your spot, please email info@sharpermanagement.com
Mill Pond Condominium No. 1 & 2 Added to Growing Sharper Client List

Mill Pond Condominium No. 1 & 2 Added to Growing Sharper Client List

Mill Pond Condominium Numbers 1 & 2 are now part of Sharper Management’s continually growing list of properties under management. Located in Chaska, MN, each condominium complex has 32 units.

A locally owned, mid-sized property management company located in Eden Prairie, MN, Sharper Management’s exceptional financial software and reporting capabilities coupled with their experienced managers made Sharper the clear choice for Copper Ridge.

“As we continue to expand our presence in the southwest metro, we welcome Mill Pond Condominiums 1 & 2 and look forward to wonderful future together”, 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.

Copper Ridge Townhome Association in Chaska Joins the Sharper Family

Copper Ridge Townhome Association in Chaska Joins the Sharper Family

The Copper Ridge Townhome Association in Chaska has recently joined the growing family of Sharper Management clients.

A locally owned, mid-sized property management company located in Eden Prairie, MN, Sharper Management’s exceptional financial software and reporting capabilities coupled with their experienced managers made Sharper the clear choice for Copper Ridge.

“We look forward to adding another southwest metro property to our portfolio. Their board is educated and forward thinking”, 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.

Sharper Management Expands Service in Jordan, MN

Sharper Management Expands Service in Jordan, MN

Sharper Management, a locally owned, mid-sized property management company located in Eden Prairie, MN has recently been brought to manage the Bridle Creek Townhome Association in Jordan, MN. Sharper Management’s vast experience in both association financial management and community development and expansion were all key factors in the decision to bring Sharper on board. Known for their professionalism and transparency, Sharper Management also manages Wexford Square in the Jordan area.

“We’ve been fortunate to earn the business of growing communities in the area and we look forward to working with the Bridle Creek 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.