Tips For Winter Weather Emergency Preparedness

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As temperatures drop, the risk of severe winter weather conditions and sudden power outages rise. Winter storms and blizzards can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds. Preparing your family ahead of time can help minimize the impact on your home and family. Every home should have an emergency plan for adverse weather.

Here are a few tips for your emergency plan.

  1. Assemble an emergency kit and talk to your kids about how to respond in certain situations. Keep blankets, non-perishable food, flashlights and batteries.

  2. Be careful using space heaters and generators. If your power is out and you are relying on a fireplace, fire hazards are also a concern. Take precaution when heating your home.

  3. A burst pipe can cause more than $5,000 in water damage! Thankfully, you can do something to help protect your pipes from freezing in bitter cold weather.

    Let faucets drip during serious cold snaps to provide relief for your pipes.

    Give your home a once over for any exposed or vulnerable piping, and wrap them with insulation. Hardware stores usually carry foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves for pipes, which are easy to install.

  4. When snow is forecast, try to avoid making unnecessary journeys, or wait until the roads have been gritted. If you need to clear a snowy or icy path or driveway, only do so if it won't pose a risk to your safety. It's also a good idea to buy de-icing salt for your drive or path before snow or ice comes.

If you live in an HOA community and extreme weather or ice impacts community property, follow the emergency guidelines that are in place in your HOA information.

Stay safe contact emergency offcials when necessary.

5 Things To Do To Get Ready For Winter


Simple home and yard tips don't have to take a lot of time, but can save a lot of headaches if that first winter storm catches you unaware. Here's a checklist to help you prepare:

Assess Your Windows and Doors

Take a walk around your interior, preferably on a windy day. Check for drafts and air leaks; replace weather-stripping, align door thresholds. and repair window frames and sills if they're damaged. If you have storm windows, make sure they're ready to install. Replace the screens in a storm door with glass panels. Also check your garage door to make sure that it operates properly.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, nearly half of a home's total energy use is for heating and cooling, so it makes good financial sense to assure that your systems are as efficient as possible for every season. 

Check Your Furnace and Fuel

Before cold weather arrives, schedule or perform any necessary routine maintenance on your furnace or HVAC systems. Clean ducts, replace filters, calibrate the thermostat, and fill the fuel tanks as required. This is also the time to clean the flue and check the chimney if you have a fireplace or woodburning stove. If your home doesn't have a carbon monoxide detector, consider installing one to assure your safety during the winter. 

Prune Trees and Shrubs

Working outside can be a pleasant weekend task during the cooler autumn season. It's also the time to do some prep work on your landscaping so that your plants will be at their best for the next growing season. Depending on your location, and your commitment to your yard, now is also the time to prepare new garden beds and plant spring bulbs, or tackle projects like brick walls, planters and stone pathways.

Undo Outdoor Hoses 

Burst outdoor hose bibbs can be the source of serious interior water damage, and the most common cause is a hose left attached when the first freeze occurs. Eliminate that possibility by undoing your outdoor hoses early in the fall. If you still must water the lawn or your garden, it's easy enough to reattach the hose as needed. Also, remember to store coiled hoses in the garage or in a shed during the winter. They'll last longer!

Check Roof Shingles and Gutters

Although it's not a bad idea to check your roof and clean gutters and downspouts at least quarterly, it's especially important before winter. Take note of cracked or curling shingles; check to make sure no daylight is visible from the attic, and make sure that all gutters and downspouts are clear of debris prior to snow and ice buildup.

Owning a home requires ongoing maintenance to assure that it will truly be a haven during foul weather, but it doesn't have to be an unending task or cost a lot of money.

Location, Location, Location: How to Ensure You're Buying a Home in the Right Community


When investing in a home, one of the most important things is buying a place that you and your family can feel comfortable in. However, while a place you can envision yourself in is important, it's not worth neglecting the neighborhood you'll be moving into for the perfect home. If you're wondering what you should be looking for in the neighborhood you choose, here are a few things to consider before making an offer on a home.

Is It Safe?

It may be common to feel bowled over by a home and want to invest immediately, but the right home in the wrong neighborhood may not be the best choice for many reasons. Part of feeling comfortable in your home is being safe among its streets, so ensure you research the neighborhood and its history, and check in on the crime rate. You may even want to consult with your agent or some local neighbors to see what information they can provide about the area's history.

Are There Local Amenities?

If you're used to getting in the car to run errands, it might not be important to not have a grocery store or pharmacy nearby. However, if there are no amenities you use frequently close by, it can start to be a bit of a drain on your lifestyle. While you don't necessarily need to have the trendiest restaurants or best shopping, it's important to have a few choice places in case you run out of something and need to make a quick run to the store. 

What's Your Neighborhood Style?

It might seem like a strange thing to ask yourself, but the neighborhood you live in is going to become a big part of your life and that means you'll have to see yourself in it. If you want neighbors you can trust and community-mindedness, you'll want to seek out an area with these qualities. On the other side, if you happen to prefer a busier urban atmosphere that offers more independence, this may be the way to go.

There are a lot of things that go into finding the right home, but it's important not to forget about the neighborhood you're living in and what it will mean for your lifestyle.

Pumpkin Spice - The History of the Iconic Symbol of Fall

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Pumpkin spice has become the iconic symbol of fall. Check out these details about the history of the iconic autumn flavor, from holiday pie to lattes and even dog treats.

Pumpkin spice is a combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger and sometimes actual pumpkin.

Early settlers may have made pumpkin pies that contained similar spices  as early as 1620, by making stewed pumpkins or by filling a hollowed out shell with milk, honey and spices, and then baking it in hot ashes. But it isn’t until 1936 that we find the earliest popular mention on record for anyone using the term “pumpkin spice” for this blend of flavors.
(Washington Post)

It wasn’t until the 1950’s that spice companies actually began selling blends labeled “pumpkin pie spice”, which was then simplified to “pumpkin spice” in the 1960’s. While these flavors had been frequent companions in pumpkin pie for some time, cooks soon began to get more comfortable using the blend in a variety of other dishes, often those containing other squashes or sweet potatoes.(Wikipedia)

While everyone may assume that Starbucks was the first company to begin the modern pumpkin spice craze, it actually appears that a candle company in New Mexico beat them to it, releasing a pumpkin spice candle in 1995.( Fact from Wikipedia)

Soon after that, small coffee shops around the country began to become interested in the spice blend, and pumpkin spice coffee started showing up everywhere. By the early 2000’s, someone had realized the flavors were even more delicious if you added milk and sugar, creating the latte. And, well, you know the rest.

Food manufacturers and grocery stores bet heavily that pumpkin products will help sales during the fall. At Trader Joe’s, the amount of pumpkin products has steadily increased since the grocery chain began offering them in the mid-1990s, according to a company spokesperson. This year, Trader Joe’s shelves will be stocked with more than 70 pumpkin items, up from around 60 items in 2015.

Today, pumpkin spice products generate $500 million in annual sales – most of which happens in a single season.

How to make your own pumpkin spice at home:
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon.
2 teaspoons ground ginger.
1 teaspoon ground cloves.
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe | Taste of Home


Learn more about the 2018 CAI Advocacy Summit and other regulatory trends homeowners and property managers are facing.

Dawn Bauman Interview [Video]
Meet the Community Associations Institute's (CAI) Senior Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs, learn more about the 2018 CAI Advocacy Summit and other regulatory trends homeowners and property managers are facing.

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How To Green Up Your Home To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint


If you are a home owner trying to reduce your carbon footprint, it's time to make some changes to your property. The more you can do to reduce energy costs, increase efficiency and reduce waste, the less impact you and your home will have on the earth. From small changes, such as using energy efficient light bulbs, to big changes such as adding solar panels to your home, you can make your home a more Earth-friendly space.

Install Energy Efficient Appliances

Appliances that are labeled energy efficient are going to help you reduce your carbon footprint. When you need a new appliance, look for ones that are energy efficient. When doing things like washing dishes, flushing the toilet or washing clothes, look for the settings that use less water and energy. Take the time to understand your dishwasher or washing machine to see how you can reduce energy and water waste.

Use Energy Saving Light Bulbs

One of the easiest ways to make your home a little more Earth-friendly is to replace old light bulbs with energy saving ones like LED lights. In many areas you can have an energy audit done on your home and get ideas on ways to save even more on energy related costs. Pay attention to turning off your lights when not in use.

Saving Energy Saves Money and the Environment

When you reduce your use of energy to heat, cool or run your home, you are going to save money on utility bills. Try having your home a few degrees cooler in the winter to see if it is still comfortable. Use fans instead of air conditioning whenever possible in the hot weather. Hang out clothing to dry instead of using a clothes dryer. Save money on bills to run your home and protect the earth at the same time.

Collect Rainwater for Your Garden

If you have a garden, use rain barrels to collect rainwater to be used to water your flowers and vegetables. You won't have to turn on the hose, and you will save a little bit of money on water fees. Rainwater is healthy for your plants, and can be used for a variety of things when you collect it properly.

Check Into Solar Energy

Check with a solar panel company and see if you can have solar panels installed. This may save you money on electrical bills and may allow you to sell electricity back to the grid if you produce enough. Saving energy and water is possible in your home, you just have to look for ways to do it.

Going Solar: 3 Reasons Why Solar Panels Should Be Your 2018 Home Improvement Project


Have you been scratching your head, wondering what your next great home renovation project should be? If you are like most homeowners, you have many areas that could use a little attention. Let's explore three reasons why installing solar panels should be high on your list of home improvement projects for 2018.

The ROI On Solar Is Getting Better

It might seem counterintuitive to think about spending money to save money, but with solar panels, that's precisely what you are doing. Solar is an up-front investment that returns money to your bank account over time. As you are generating your own electricity, you will spend less on utilities each month. Depending on your setup, you may even be able to sell surplus electricity back to the grid, lowering your monthly bills even further.

Don't think about solar panels and installation as sunk costs that will never be recovered. Instead, work with your solar installer to determine what your return-on-investment should be.

Solar Drives Property Values Higher

As you might expect, installing solar panels can also increase the value of your home. Many potential home buyers are searching for modern, efficient, climate-friendly homes that allow for a bit of energy independence. If your home already has these features, it is likely to be more compelling than other houses on the street without them. If you are thinking of selling your home in the future, installing solar is a great way to increase its value.

Protecting Your Local Environment And Community

Finally, let's not forget that investing in renewable energy means protecting the health of your local community. Every solar panel installation that goes up means one less home relying on power produced by other means. It might not seem like much, but over time a single home's worth of solar panels can prevent a significant amount of emissions from reaching the sky. You can even take things one step further and invest in an electric car which can be connected to and charged by your solar panels.

In closing, these are a few of the many good reasons to consider an investment in solar panels in 2018.

Summer Home Safety Tips - Conduct a Home Safety Check


Summer is approaching and it's time to go around the home looking for potential safety hazards. Inside and outside are potential dangers that could cause harm.
It’s important to us all that our home be considered safe. Accidents happen all the time within the home, though. Listed below are several tips to follow to ensure safety in each room in your home.

In the Kitchen

* Keep flammable objects away from the stove. Do not let oven mitts, paper towels, etc. come into contact with the hot pots and pans or the burners.

* Use cleaning products with caution. Ensure that you do not put the cleaning products within reach of your children. Keep them out of reach so they cannot accidentally poison themselves.

* Never leave sharp objects and tools unattended in a place where little hands can reach them.

* Ensure that all electrical cords are kept away from water and flammable objects like curtains and hand towels. The cords could overheat and catch fire.

* Ensure that your appliances are getting the proper ventilation. You can do this by keeping them away from other objects and regularly vacuuming out the back of your appliances.

In the Bathroom

* Just like in the kitchen, ensure that all cords are kept away from water. Water and electricity does not mix and can cause an electrical fire.

* Use non-slip floor mats. The shower floor can be slippery when wet. By using a non-slip floor mat you are protecting yourself from slip and fall accidents.

* Like in the kitchen, keep cleaning supplies locked up and out of reach of small children to prevent accidental poisoning.  

In the Bedroom

* Never smoke in your bedroom, or anywhere in your home. Flammable objects could catch fire from your cigarette and destroy your home and belongings.

* Purchase a mattress that is flame resistant. If a fire breaks out in your bedroom, then you want to be protected and allow yourself the time you need to figure out your escape route and get out of your home.

* You’re most vulnerable when you sleep. To ensure your safety in case someone were to come into your home, keep a phone and light by your bed.

In Your Yard

* To ensure the safety of your pets and kids, surround your yard with a fence.

* If you have a pool, make sure that it’s covered and fenced in. This will protect your kids from any risk of falling in and drowning. Having an alarm on the fence or the door leading out to your pool will alert you of any possible security breaches by your children so you know where they are and can prevent accidents.

In Your Garage

* Keep any harmful substances you store in the garage out of the reach of your children and pets.

* Keep the space clean and organized. Ensure that there aren’t sharp objects that are out in the open and in easy reach of your children and pets.

Your home is a place to live and relax in, so you should feel safe there at all times. To ensure that you achieve the highest degree of safety within your home, follow these steps and do what you think is right for your home. All homes and families are different, so there will be different ways of keeping each other safe. There are companies that you can hire to come in and evaluate your home to make sure you don’t have any holes in your safety armor.  


4 Tips to Keep Your Community Beautiful This Summer

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Everyone wants a beautiful looking community.  With this comes the responsibility and everyone working together to achieve this goal. A clean and tidy outdoor environment benefits everyone in the community.
Here are 4 tips every community resident can do to be a part of the community beautification effort this summer:

1. Littering

Everyone in the community can do their part to eliminate littering.  Whether on the street, sidewalks, common amenity areas and in our own yard. Everybody can pick up any litter that is seen.  

2. Recreational Items

All residents can work together to put bicycles, toys and other items in the garage or stored neatly in their place. This will keep each home from looking cluttered.

3. Lawn and Garden

All community residents can work together and make sure water hoses, sprinklers, lawn tools and other similar items are put away safely in the garage in thier storage space. This is also crucial from community safety.

A clean and beautiful community benefits all residents.  Having a sense of pride in your community plays a vital role in enjoying where you live.  

How to Handle Extreme Heat During The Peak of Summer


Every HOA is different and so are their covenants, conditions and restrictions. Some HOA regulations require homeowners to keep foliage alive and the color of the lawn to stay green through sufficient watering.

According to Virginia Tech's A Landscaping  Guide for  Homeowners  Associations (

Most plants need about one inch of water on a weekly basis. Normally, cool season grasses go dormant in the summer and only need water in cases of extreme drought.

Most of the time spent on lawn maintenance is spent mowing. Mowing correctly is one of the easiest things that can be done to help keep turf happy. Because mowing causes physical injury to grass, it is important that no more than 1/3rd of the total leaf height is cut at any one time. This allows the grass sufficient leaf area to photosynthesize the energy it needs to heal. When grass is very high due to wet weather, it needs to be cut in stages, taking 1/3rd off at a time and waiting until the clippings left on the ground disappear between cuttings. 

We suggest the following tips and tricks in order to maintain a healthy, intact lawn during the extreme heat of the summer.


Smoke Detectors Should Be Changed Every 10 Years… Is Yours Up-to-Date?


It is imperative that smoke detectors be changed once every 10 years as properly working smoke alarms are one of the biggest lifesaving tools in our homes today. However, ensuring these alarms are checked monthly tend to escape many people’s minds. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month by pressing the test button on the alarm and, again, should be changed every ten years. Keeping our families safe is one of the most important priorities in everyone’s life and by following these simple steps, we can help ensure their safety.

Facts about fires and smoke alarms: 

If a fire is spreading, keeping doors closed may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.

Smoke alarms should be installed inside and outside every bedroom, on every level of the home and near every heat source.

All smoke alarms within the home should be interconnected meaning when one sounds, they all sound.

When a smoke alarm sounds, quickly get outside and stay outside until the fire department arrives.

In response to a recent, tragic house fire that killed five children in Greensboro, WFMY News 2 released an article stating that, according to Consumer Reports, a dual sensor smoke detector is highly recommended for homes. The Photoelectric sensor is designed to detect smoky and slow burning fires while the Ionization sensor is designed to detect fast, flaming fires. Together, dual senor detectors can better save lives as they are typically interconnected.

According to a 2015 NFPA report, between 2009-2013, smoke alarms sounded in more than 53% of reported home fires. Three out of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (38%) or non-working alarms (21%).

By ensuring smoke detectors are working properly, checked at least monthly and replaced every ten years, we can not only help reduce the number of home fire deaths but can help ensure the safety of our loved ones.




According to a survey by the Census Bureau, an American may move 11.4 times (on average) during his or her lifetime. This can be an inter-city, inter-county or inter-state relocation. There are also some people who choose to move outside the country.

American home owners sell and move, on average, every five to seven years. Why do home owners move?  There are many different reasons for moving from one place to another.

Here are a few major reasons people move.

1.    Going from renting to homeownership - Moving in with a partner or getting married can result in renters making the decision to purchase. Singles who are currently renting often find they would rather invest their rental dollars into the purchase of a home to gain equity.

2.    Career location – Whether across the state or across the country spending time commuting is a negative experience for people.  Relocation makes it necessary for many to pull up roots and move. If the commuting distance exceeds an hour, most people would prefer not to spend two hours in traffic every day. In many cases homeowners are forced to pack up and leave for a job transfer leaving their home behind to sell while they search for a new home in another state.

3.    To be closer to family members - Some people want to be closer to their family as they age and will move to be near relatives. Parents want to be near children and grand children. Adults with aging parents may decide to move closer to parents as they age so that they can care for them.

4.    Financial reasons upsizing or downsizing - Home is too small. First-time home buyers often outgrow their first home. As they start having children, increased family size is the main reason home owners say they need a larger home. Empty nesters or retirees who purchased a larger home now find they no longer need the additional space and costs that come with maintaining a large family home. As people earn more and their financial situation becomes better, they may decide to upsize. They want a bigger, more expensive and grander home. It's the American dream.

5.    Family illness or unforeseen life changing situation – Divorce, death of a spouse or family members, aging seniors, break-ups and a list of other personal life circumstances will force owners to sell. If a divorce happens one party may need to buy out the other. If one party retains the home, it may not be affordable to sustain on one person's income. 

April 26, 2018 — The U.S. Census Bureau announced the following residential vacancies and homeownership statistics for the first quarter 2018:

Approximately 87.5 percent of the housing units in the United States in the first quarter 2018 were occupied and 12.5 percent were vacant. Owner-occupied housing units made up 56.1 percent of total housing units, while renter-occupied units made up 31.4 percent of the inventory in the first quarter 2018.

Moving can cause emotional stress. The emotional impact of moving is in the top 5 most stressful situations we experience across a lifespan. It is a huge task for any family, especially when it involves uprooting children, packing years of family belongings, leaving behind a history and moving on to uncharted territory.

Everyone agrees that moving is stressful. Even if you and your family have moved too many times to count. Moving is also emotionally stressful when you add the extra burdens of a major life change, such as a divorce, death or a lost job.

In closing here are a few tips to help make your move easier.

1.    Plan ahead - Make all arrangements necessary to eliminate last minute surprises and chaos.

2.    Minimize and de-clutter – As you move forward minimizing is always a good practice.

3.    Look ahead for entertainment and places to meet people before the move. Check out your new community.

4.    Organize your packing so the transition is easier when you arrive in your new home. Have the movers or helpers in place and organize their efforts to make it less stressful on everyone.

5.    Save a little cash for the new place. Extra cash is great for purchasing things you may need in the new home or for enjoyment as you get situated. Moving into a new home strapped and broke can cause more stress.

Good luck with your move.

Happy National Moving Month.


Census Bureau


How Transforming Your Front Door Can Increase The Value of Your Home


The front door is the first thing visitors see when they arrive at your house. A beautiful entrance can transform the look of the entire home and is an essential component to creating curb appeal. Doors provide the opportunity for you to express your unique taste and style by allowing you to customize the entrance to your home.

Remodeling Projects With The Highest ROI

Even on a budget, you can give your entrance a makeover and transform an ordinary front door into something which welcomes guests from the moment they walk up.

The truth is, an entry door replacement is one of the most affordable and important investments you can make in your home — one that will pay for itself many times over throughout the life of the door.

• Replace – While certainly the most expensive option, an elegant front door can set the tone for the home. Options from beautiful wood to industrial steel doors compliment the home’s architecture.

• Use Color – A dark, dingy front door doesn’t create a welcoming feel. Feel free to experiment with color and don’t shy away from bright or bold colors.

• Frame the Entrance – Use planters and rugs to frame your front door. Spring blooms and bright accents freshen up any entrance.

• Light it up – Beautiful sconces or lanterns can add interest as well as provide lighting. These design elements may be thoughtfully added to any entrance to replace old, glaring lights.

• Accessorize – The front door is the perfect place to hang the seasonal decorations. Don’t neglect your door throughout the rest of the year. The front door sets the tone for the home. If your door is showing its age or just boring, a simple makeover can add interest to any home. From color to staging, this weekend project will make any home more inviting.

Check with your HOA as to permitted paint colors on doors and if there are any rules regarding types of doors.


To Paint or Not to Paint Before Selling Your Home. Consider Your HOA First


If you're planning some renovations before you sell your home, you're probably trying to determine what will boost its value best so you can get out the money you're putting in. Pulling out the paint for some touch-ups may be one of the most common things you'll hear about, but before taking on such a sizeable job, it's worth considering the needs of your home and what you'll have the ability to do before it goes on the market.

Here are 4 important factors to consider before painting you home.

Your HOA Approval

Some HOAs will require you to hire an approved, HOA-contracted painting company. Others give you a variety of acceptable color choices. If you desire a different color, like a creamy yellow, you must go through the proper approval channel: submit paint swatches, list manufacturer guarantees, attend board meetings, etc.

The State Of Your Paint

To brighten a room and instantly improve the look of a space, there are a few things that will do the trick like paint. Often, a poor paint job will be one of the first things potential buyers notice when they visit your home, whether the color is dull or there are cracks showing. If your home's paint job is neither impressive nor out-of-date, you may not want to take on such a big project. However, if these issues will negatively impact your home sale, it may be worth the effort.

What Is Your Timeline?

There are many easy home fix-ups that can improve your home, but painting is one of few things that can take a lot of time. It's unlikely you'll want to shell out for a professional painter if you've already decided on a renovations budget, but if you don't have the time you may want to decide on a few problematic areas to paint. If the bathroom or the kitchen are looking weathered, focus on those areas instead of taking on the whole house.

What Buyers Will Change

When potential homebuyers are looking at your home, they'll not only be thinking about what they love, they'll be considering what they want to upgrade down the road. Unfortunately, painting is not one of the projects that buyers will want to spend time on as soon as they move in. While it may not be worth their time to move into a house that needs to be painted right away, it just might be worth yours to get out the roller.

There are several home renovations that can improve your home's value, but painting may be a necessity if your walls are dull and showing signs of age. If you're currently preparing to put your home on the market.

Playground Safety In Your HOA - National Playground Safety Week 2018 is April 23-27.


National Playground Safety Week 2018 is April 23-27. National Playground Safety Week is a time to focus on children's outdoor play environments. 

State laws and regulations addressing playground safety. 

Nearly 80 percent of playground injuries are caused by falls. Some of the top equipment associated with injuries are climbers, swings, slides climbing bars and jungle gyms, according to the National Program for Playground Safety.

  • It is estimated that close to 220,000 children 14 or under went to the ER for injuries associated with playground equipment in 2011.
  • 57% of estimated playground-related injuries treated in ERs occurred at either schools or parks.
  • Falls account for over 75% of all playground-related injuries.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has come up with playground hazards you should watch out for when taking your kids to the park. SOURCE  Click here to see the details.

Summer is on the way and so is outdoor play activity.  The sound of children playing outside is one of the many joys of the warm weather months.

Many HOA's have community amenities and offer community playgrounds which can be a liability. Every HOA board should consult a professional equipment installer to ensure that playgrounds are built according to safety standards and maintained properly. Inspections should be scheduled yearly to keep your playground safe and free from equipment failures that can cause accidents. 

HOA's should have proper Liability insurance for amenities including playgrounds, covering construction, maintenance and liability issues.  It is important when there are accidents or injuries that occur on common property. For example, if playground equipment breaks and isn't repaired, resulting in a child getting hurt.

If you are in a community and see problems with playground equipment or if a playground is unsafe, report the equipment to the HOA so they can repair it quickly. And remember, there is no substitute for parental supervision.

From the smallest condominium to the largest lifestyle community, resident amenities are a fundamental advantage to living in a community Association. These amenities may be as grand as golf courses, lakes and pools or as humble as a unique sitting area. No matter how large or small the amenities, prompt, proper and cost-effective operations are vital to that community.


4 Tips To Keep Your HOA Community Safe For Residents



The safety and well being of community members is highly important to your HOA. Associations should take every measure possible to adhere to all procedures and policies that keep communities safe.

Every association wants to make sure that the best quality services are being provided to the residents to ensure maximum protection for them.  The safety and security of the homeowners’ community is in the hands of the HOA or the management company..

If your HOA is being managed by a management company there are procedures in place for the prevention of unplanned accidents on the property as well as procedures on how to respond to accidents, fires, adverse weather contitions and other unforeseen situations that may arise.  Here are a few steps to consider to ensure safety and security for the community.

Revise and update security procedures

Devise a comprehensive security policy in collaboration with board members and make it mandatory that the terms and procedures are followed to ensure maximum protection for residents. Perform an annual review of the current and past safety and security policies and identify the areas for improvement.

Investigate the areas that may be vulerable to danger or damage and take any necessary action on what needs to be changed.

Collaborate with law enforcement agencies

It is vital to have open lines of communication with local municipalities, law enforcement, fire and medical emergency personel. Communication with local municipalities is important when your association needs to report street light outages or road and sidewalk problems.

Your HOA may need local police and law enforcement agencies to provide security during threats, events or just patrolling the community. Each board member should know the procedures for contacting emergency personel in case of emergencies or security issues.

Establish a close-knit community

Encourage residents to look out for each other and develop a supportive community.  A friendly neighborhood learns to look after each other, and reports to the proper authorities whenever they notice any suspicious activity happening in the community.  Neighbors should be wary of whatever is happening in the community.

A well managed Neighborhood Watch program is an important part of maintaing a safe and secure community. Your Association should actively recruit volunteers and hold informational meetings and special events focusing on community safety.

Give tips to the community

This also comes with keeping the community informed about the latest procedures, devices and looming threats. A community nesletter is a great way to communicate. The use of technology, such as email is a fast way to notify residents on impending adverse weather threats, road closures, ice removal and other important notices that need to reach residents in an expedited manner. Regular monthly published updates along with security tips, such as securing  the doors and windows, not letting children walk out alone at night, not letting strangers into the house and not giving away their house security codes to others.

Here is a list of reminders your Association can publish to your community members to assist the board and management in keeping your community safe.

1.    Is the garage door closed?

2.    Are all car windows up?

3.    Are the car doors locked?

4.    If you have a garage remote in your car, remove it.

5.    Are all items in your car removed? Remember, it might be only an empty store bag, but the thief sees a bag that “might” contain something valuable. Those cheap sunglasses looked expensive in the dark through the car window.

6.    Is the door between your house and garage locked?

7.    Are all home windows closed and locked?

8.    Are all doors locked?  

As a community member know who is on your HOA Board and who should be contacted. In the event of a true emergency calling 911 as your first step.

Each Board Member should know the policies and procedures set up by the Association or managment company and they should be followed precisely to avoid liability on the part of the Association or management company.

Association Management Group handles all of this for communities as your HOA Management Company. AMG also provides training for HOA's.

Happy National Pet Day! Your Pets Living in Your HOA

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April 11 is National Pet Day. While loving our pets is something we do every day, National Pet Day encourages us to pay special attention to pets. It is also a day to commemorate everything that our pets do for us on a daily basis. So if you have a pet, you can do something special for them on this day.

Here are 5 things you can do for your pets:

1. Take them for a long walk.

2. Buy them a special treat or new toy.

3. Spend a little bit of extra time with them. 

4. Give them a back scratch or tummy rub.

5. Take them to the groomer and give them a bath or haircut. 

After all, don’t they deserve it?

Let's look at your pets living in an HOA

It has been proven by studies that most homeowners select a home with their pets in mind. They are seeking homes that are suitable for pets and having nearby dog parks are a highly sought after community amenity. If the community does not have a designated dog park, a local nearby dog park is desired.

If you live in an HOA community, you have rules pertaining to pets. Many community associations institute rules governing the size of dogs, and some even ban certain breeds for safety and liability.  Each HOA has different pet regulations. Some have designated pet walking areas to keep waste in  a confined common area. If your community has dog walking areas, you may notice a waste recepticle and plastic litter bags. 

If you are a pet owner or plan to get a pet after you move into an HOA community, it is wise to read the rules in your HOA documents regarding pet restrictions. Pet related issues such as barking dogs, permitting pets in other resident's yards and  owners not picking up after their pooches' are just some of the most common complaints with Homeowners Associations.

Reading your HOA documents regaring pet ownership may keep you out of an HOA related complaint issue and keep you from receiving notices, or worse, a fine for a violation. Associations often don't have to deal with the homeowner about pet pooping because angry homeowners feel free to  confront culprit owners themselves instead of reporting it. In either case, it should be common courtesy for responsible pet owners to pick up after their own pets.

If you are buying into an HOA community, you can ask your Real Estate agent to do the preliminary work for you. He or she may already know which communities will be best suited for you and your pet. Most realtors are well versed in homeowners’ association laws, so they can quickly detect an issue for you. Ask your realtor to contact each HOA to verify breed restriction laws beforehand. It’s not worth falling in love with a home where your dog isn’t welcome. Once you’ve selected a home, ask your realtor for a copy of the HOA bylaws. Read through your documents carefully, and clearly understand pet restrictions. Many HOAs have  leash laws.

For more information on pet rules, implementation and management, contacct AMG. Ask about our HOA board training.

    AMG NEWS: Postal Service Offering High-Tech Way To Preview Your Mail. Letters & Packages

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    At Association Management Group, the well-being and safety of community residents is a high priority. Additionally, technology and government services that provide tools can positively impact communities nationwide.

    Association Management group would like to share this new technology tool provided by the United State Postal Service (USPS).

    Recently, the USPS released an online software application called Informed Delivery.  Informed Delivery is a free and optional notification service that gives residential consumers the ability to digitally preview their letter-sized mailpieces and manage their packages scheduled to arrive soon. The feature is provided at no additional cost for all Informed Delivery users.

    Find more detail here:


    Homeowners: 3 DIY Projects That Will Keep You Busy Until the Weather Warms Up

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    Do you find yourself staring out the window, longing for an early sunrise, hot days and late evenings? With spring just around the corner, it might feel like summer is a lifetime away. However, the good news is that you can be productive around the home while you wait for summer to arrive. Let's take a quick look at three easy do-it-yourself projects that will keep you busy until the summer sun is shining.

    Add A Splash Of Spring-y Color

    As long as you are willing to do the prep work, painting is one of the most straightforward home improvement projects you can undertake. It is also the best way to put your own personal touch in each room in your home.

    If you haven't painted before, it is best to start with a single room. Spend an hour or two watching instructional videos on YouTube before you head out and begin buying supplies. The colors that you choose are up to you, but if you are going for a 'spring' look, consider pastel colors including soft greens, powder blues and creamy whites.

    New Planters For The Garden

    If you have a flower or vegetable garden, building new planters is a fun weekend DIY project. You can make planters out of wood, but a more durable option is to use granite, marble or another hard stone. Simply buy four slabs of stone and a tube or two of stone adhesive. Line up the slabs together and, using a ruler, ensure they are at 90-degree angles. Caulk or glue the slabs on the inside of where they meet and then tape them together on the outside to hold them until the glue cures.

    Bird Seed Rings For Your Feathered Friends

    Do you enjoy the sound of birds around your home? If so, bird seed rings are the perfect treat to attract them. Creating these delicious treats is easy. Combine gelatin, corn syrup and flour into a thick paste. Mix this paste with a bag of bird seed, ensuring that it is fully combined. Then mold the rings together using a donut pan. Hang these tasty treats outside for your feathered friends to enjoy.

    Investing your time in home improvement projects is an excellent way to wait out the sunny days of summer. If you decide that it's too much work to renovate and that you would rather explore a new home, give us a call. Our friendly real estate team is happy to show you some beautiful new homes in the local area.




    With freezing temps and burst pipes happening with regularity, it’s a good time to encourage owners to acquire a homeowner’s insurance policy (“HO6 policy”) which would cover their portion of the master policy deductible after a loss.  If your docs do not require owners to obtain HO6 policies, you should consider an insurance resolution to modernize the insurance provisions.  

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