5 Safety Tips For a Fun & Safe July 4th in Your Homeowners Association

At AMG we believe everyone  has the right to celebrate our country's freedom on the 4th of July with Joy & Enthusiasm. Keep in mind that your right to celebrate ends where the local noise ordinances, laws, your neighbor's rights and property begins.

Any fireworks that explode, emit a flame or spark, performs as a projectile, may be illegal and prohibited in many municipalities by Fire Prevention Codes. Violators could be subject to arrest,  fines, and could be liable for damages or injuries caused by those fireworks.

Here are 5 tips to help you have an enjoyable July 4th celebration if it involves fireworks:

1. Use only legally purchased, approved fireworks. Use them as directed, under supervision and clear of any combustible material and clear of all buildings.  Legal fireworks should be used or overseen by a responsible adult. No such fireworks may be thrown into, over, or around other homes, forested areas, or left in the common areas of the HOA. Residents who fail to comply with these restrictions will be held responsible for any damage and repairs. Review this  this infographic regarding fireworks injuries. 

 2. Local Code enforcement Laws - If you plan on using fireworks you should first check with the local law enforcement or city codes before setting off fireworks. There may be noise ordinances and fireworks may be illegal all together. This goes beyond the governing by your HOA.

 3. HOA Property rules and regulations - If you plan on using fireworks for a 4th of July celebration it is important to check your HOA documents,  Association’s CC&Rs regarding the use of fireworks. You could be in violation of HOA rules or safety rules.

4. Safety-Insurance - You need to fully understand your homeowners insurance policy regarding your own property damage, accidents or injuries as a result of using fireworks. If your fireworks go or land on another resident's property or on common areas, you may be responsible for damages to property and accidents or injuries that may occur.

People think sparklers are safe. Some sparklers can attain a temperature as high as 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and cause severe injuries. Whether a spectator or the user of malfunctioning fireworks, victims may be able to seek damages for their injuries.

5. Littering - Fireworks leave debris, paper shreds, fuses, powder residue and other materials that may leave a mess and be potentially harmful.   Be sure to clean up after your fireworks display. You could incur a fine for littering or damage to yards, sidewalks, streets or other common areas.

To ensure a safe 4th of July, we encourage residents to know and adhere to all policies by your community association and local laws before having a fireworks display.

It is reported that 200 people on average go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.

It’s the responsibility of the HOA board to uphold, enhance, and maintain the Association. Reminding residents of 4th of July safety lets them know you care about their safety.  This is why HOA 's must implement and enforce rule and regulations to protect the association, homeowners and the community.

It’s not too late to get patriotic and think about your HOA hosting its own July 4th celebration to let members know they live in a fun and safe HOA. 

Ways Neighbors Can Help Neighbors During a Hurricane

We have just entered the 2017 hurricane season. In past years the Carolinas have fallen victim to devastating storms. At AMG we want to help homeowners keep their homes safe and reduce injury from storms. Hurricanes and tropical systems can cause serious damage on both coastal and inland areas. Their hazards can come in many forms including: storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, high winds and tornadoes. To prepare for these powerful storms, AMG is encouraging families, businesses, and individuals to be aware of their risks; have a community preparedness plan; prepare your home, workplace and community.

When you live in an area where hurricanes are a risk, planning is essential. Here are some ways  you might be able to help your neighbors. If you live in a community, your neighbors can be a great help in case of an emergency, and you can also be of service to your neighbors. Working together can help keep everyone safe. A community working together during an emergency makes sense. 

Here are some ways you can help neighbors (and they can help you) in case of a hurricane:

Get to know your neighbors. Think about people in your neighborhood who may need your help, for example:
Older people living by themselves;
People with physical or sensory disabilities;
People with a chronic illness or with a mental illness; single parents with young children; large families; 
People newly arrived, including tourists, refugees or immigrants.
Talk to your neighbors to identify those who may need assistance

If you are an HOA board member or leader of your community association you may want to consider a community plan and getting the information out to the residents:

Where to go for community resources

How to prep your home, close and lock hurricane-proof windows, seal all openings, secure rooftops and yard items

Emergency phone numbers

Community associations can get residents involved and working together by holding safety and preparedness events. Use the space in your association newsletter to communicate preparedness information to the residents of the community. Here is a list of items that might be helpful in the event of a hurricane.

Batteries (in different sizes!)  
First aid kit
Duct tape
Rain gear
Battery operated radio
Clock (wind-up or battery-powered)
Plastic garbage bags
Fire extinguisher
Can Opener
Clean clothes
Extra blankets
Heavy gloves

If your community association becomes aware of impending storms, it is helpful to notify residents of some home preparedness items they can do to get ready. Here is a list to share with the residents of your community:

Remove outdoor items
Trim dead branches from trees
Board up windows
Fill gas tanks and extra containers
Get extra cash
Move furniture away from windows
Store important documents in waterproof containers
Extra supply of medicines
Prepare for the needs of pets
Another great way to get your residents involved is holding a canned food drive to collect items to distribute before the big storm arrives. Here is a list of items residents should have on hand during any emergency.

Bottled water (1 gallon/person/day) 
Bottled juice
Two coolers: One for drinks & one for food
Canned foods
Manual can opener
Dry pet food
Medic-alert tags
Insect-repellent sprays
Feminine hygiene items
First aid kit
Prescription medication
Over-the-counter medication
Children's medicine
Adhesive tape
Antiseptic solution

If you are having an actual emergency please dial 911 immediately. Please be aware and publish all emergency contact numbers.

For more information on how AMG helps serve community associations visit our website at http://www.amgworld.com

Five Key Factors To Operating A Successful HOA Meeting.

Great HOA boards hold efficient, productive meetings while still offering a platform for  homeowners to air opinions and board members to discuss, debate and take action on various issues. There are five key factors to operating a successful board meeting.

Having a set format or procedure for the meetings will help keep things running smoothly. Some associations abide by the Robert's Rules of Order and many simply have their own meeting procedure.

Having all board members in one mindset with one common goal is essential in running successful meetings.

Great boards with dedicated members will successfully handle all of these areas while conducting the meeting.

  • Keep the meeting running on time and according to the planned agenda.
  • Remain clear on priorities and keep them in order. (Don't get sidetracked)
  • Delegate responsibility for every action or implemented item voted on
  • Focus on the success of the overall meeting
  • Listen to and manage homeowners comments and complaints with professionalism.

Increase Your Home’s Value Up to 28% with These 5 Tips

Great curb appeal not only makes your home the star of the neighborhood, it can also improve its value and help you sell it for more. Whether you’re thinking of listing your home or just want to make your home the envy of your neighbors, here are several ways to increase your home’s curb appeal.

1. Make your home’s exterior look like new.

For many potential buyers, the condition of the exterior of a home can offer clues to the condition of the interior. The first place to start when boosting curb appeal is the exterior of your house.

Paint. Paint is the best way to make your home appear newer. While you can paint your home yourself, if it’s large or more than one story, consider hiring a professional. Painting is a fairly inexpensive improvement with between 60 to 100 percent return on investment.1

Maintain your siding. Over time, weather and the elements can make your home’s siding appear dull and dirty. Use a pressure washer to clean stains, spider webs and accumulated dirt and grime, or use a soft cloth and a household cleaner to get into those small nooks and spaces. Although the average life expectancy of siding ranges from 60 to 100 years, depending on the material, extreme weather may reduce this number. If you need to replace the siding, you’ll enjoy a 77 percent return on investment.1

Paint or replace garage doors. If your garage doors are in good condition, give them a new coat of paint. If they’re beginning to show their age, consider replacing them. Not only are new garage doors more energy efficient and better insulated than older models, they also have a 91.5 percent return on investment.1

Maintain your fence. Replace rotted or worn posts and panels and freshen it up with a coat of paint. If you have a hedge that serves as your property’s border, keep it trimmed and in good shape.

2. Pay attention to the small details.

The small details tie your home’s exterior together and help it stand out from others in the neighborhood.

Paint front door, trim and shutters. This inexpensive improvement adds brightness to a home, whether you choose a bold color, a neutral tone or classic white.

Install new door fixtures and be sure they match in style and finish and complement the style of your home.

Update your house numbers. Make sure potential buyers and guests can find your home. If the numbers have faded or need an update, replace them. If choosing a metallic finish, make sure it matches the finish of your exterior light fixtures.

3. Tend to your driveway and lawn.

Well-landscaped homes may sell for between 5.5% and 12.7% more than other similar homes and studies show it may also add up to 28 percent to your home’s overall value.5

Place a border along your driveway or walkway made of brick, stone, pavers or another hardscape element to add visual interest to a plain driveway.       

Maintain your green space. If you have grass, a well-maintained, green lawn makes your home look inviting and picturesque. However, in many parts of the country, water conservation is becoming more important. Xeriscaped landscapes incorporate drought-tolerant vegetation that thrives in warm, dry climates, such as lavender, sage, wisteria and agave, with water-saving drip irrigation and mulch. Xeriscaping has a cost savings of 36 cents per square foot annually through reduced irrigation and maintenance costs.3 Additionally, these landscapes are virtually maintenance free, which makes it an attractive option for busy buyers

Include trees and shrubs to create texture and add interest to your landscape. Planting a few types of trees and shrubs of varying heights, widths and flowering times boosts your home’s curb appeal year-round.

4. Make it feel inviting.

It’s no secret that emotions play a role in a person’s decision to purchase a home. Stage the outside of your home to evoke warm feelings.

Stage your porch. If you have a front porch, make it feel more inviting by including seating, such as a chair or loveseat, an outdoor rug and a small table. If space is an issue, incorporate small decorative touches, such as a festive wreath or potted plant.

Hang flower boxes on your front porch railings and/or below your windows. If you don’t want to affix flower boxes to your home, purchase nice planters and containers and place them around your porch or on your front steps.

Choose flowers and plants that bloom at different times of the year for year-round appeal. For example, bulbs not only bloom all spring, they also multiply and come up every year. Perennials often flower for most of the year and will prevent you from having to replant them every year.  

If you don’t have a green thumb, choose low maintenance plants and flowers. Flowers such as lavender, rosemary, and zinnias are a few low-maintenance and drought-tolerant options.        

5. Boost Your Online “Curb Appeal.”

For those interested in selling, it’s important to know the effect online curb appeal has on a home. The better impression your home gives online, the more likely buyers will want to see it in person. Here’s how to get your home ready for its listing debut.

Stage your home. Staging shows your home in its best light and helps potential buyers picture themselves living there.

Hire a professional to take photos. A photographer has the skills and equipment to shoot your home in the best light and make it look its best.

Include a short video tour of the home. Videos are becoming a popular way to give buyers a glimpse of the home before they step foot in it.

Before you start a home project, keep these four things in mind:

1.         Why are you renovating? In other words, is your intention to update your home and get it show-ready or do you want to sell it for more money? Don’t fall into the trap of undertaking major renovations that may not pay off when you sell. If your home is in good shape, a few inexpensive updates may be enough to make your home attractive to buyers.

2.         The style of the neighborhood. Whenever you renovate your home, make sure the project fits with the style of the neighborhood and rules of the homeowner association. For example, an HOA may limit the choice and number of trees you can plant on your property. Similarly, a tall hedge border may not fit in in a neighborhood of low, picket fences.

3.         Permits. If you’re planning an extensive exterior renovation, you may need a permit from your municipality or other authority.

4.         Budget. A budget keeps your project’s costs and scope in check. Make a list of the improvements you’d like to make, set a realistic budget and stick to it. If you’d like advice on improvements you can make to boost your home’s curb appeal, give us a call.

Are you thinking of boosting your home’s curb appeal or renovating your home before you list? Do you want help making your home more appealing to potential buyers online and in-person? Give us a call and we’ll help you present your home in its best light.

Sources: 1. Remodeling, 2016 Cost vs Value Report

                2. Realtor Mag, September 22, 2016

                3. REALTOR.com

                 4. Houzz, Houzz & Home-U.S., June 2016

                 5. Houselogic.com


What Security Measures Does Your HOA Take? 

What Security Measures Does Your HOA Take? 

When it comes to safety and security of a Homeowner's Association community, often times the best defense is good offense. Each state has different requirements connected to an association’s responsibilities when it comes to defending its dwellers, however, at some point, everyone needs to ask himself the simple question – what security measures does your HOA take? Warning alarms, advanced gates, guards — are great measures to keep the unwanted visitors away from our walls, however, there are other ways to prevent thieves and other uninvited individuals. 

1. Has your Homeowner's Association developed a safety policy? In this policy, HOA should create a process for annual revision of on-going security systems and find out what kind of security measures to consider in the future, and then tailor a budget accordingly. 

2. Has your HOA established a relationship with local police? Invite local police officers who protect your neighborhood to come and talk at board meetings. This is mainly because you wouldn't want your first interaction with law enforcement to be in the event of an accident. 

3. Has your HOA created a safety committee? This group of people would be in charge of  supervising the property on a regular basis, in order to recognize possible security flaws.

4. Has your HOA met all the neighbors? Developing the awareness of community will support everyone. Neighbors  who are on friendly terms with each other, are more likely to look out for one another and be more aware of what’s going on in their community. It's important to plan  occasional gatherings where neighbors can get acquainted with one another. 

5. Has your HOA reminded home owners about security? As simple as it may sound, this is one easy way to get everyone's needs met. If HOA goes into the trouble to publish at least a bi-monthly safety tips in homeowners association publication, this alone can raise the awareness and security at once. Demonstrating crime statistics of the community they live in  and talking about measures that are designed to keep your neighborhood safe. 

These are the questions everyone needs to ask themselves at some point, but whichever safety measures your Homeowners Association takes, make sure you understand your personal responsibility in your home's security.

Guidelines for the Homeowner Forum

Residents are encouraged to attend and observe association board meetings. If you’d like to bring an issue to the board’s attention, you’re welcome to speak during the homeowner forum—a time set aside just for you. So that everyone who attends has an opportunity for a meaningful exchange with the board, we ask that you observe the following guidelines:

  •  Although we’re all neighbors, this is a corporate business meeting. Please behave accordingly.
  •  If you’d like to address the board, please sign in when you arrive. You will be called in the order you entered. This allows the board to contact you if we need further information and to report back to you with an answer.
  • The homeowner forum is an exchange of ideas, not a gripe session. If you’re bringing a problem to our attention, we’d like to hear your ideas for a solution too.
  • To keep the meeting businesslike, please refrain from speaking if you’re particularly upset about an issue. Consider speaking later, speaking privately with a board member, or putting your concerns in writing and e-mailing them to the board.
  • Only one person may speak at a time. Please respect others’ opinions by remaining silent and still when someone else has the floor.
  • Each person will be allowed to speak no more than five minutes. Please respect the volunteers’ time by limiting your remarks.
  • If you need more than five minutes, please put your comments in writing. Include background information, causes, circumstances, desired solutions and other considerations you believe are important. The board will make your written summary an agenda item at the next meeting.
  • We may not be able to resolve your concerns on the spot, and we will not argue or debate an issue with you during the homeowner forum. We usually need to discuss and vote on the issue first. But we will answer you before—or at—the next board meeting.

Summer Home Decluttering

Spring and summer are a time to declutter and organize the home.  One way to eliminate unnecessary items in your home that have been accumulated over the years, and are rarely used, is to donate them.  Donating unused items will help declutter your home as your give clothing and household items to those in need.

When you donate goods to a charity, you can often get a tax donation receipt which can often be used as a tax deduction at the end of the year.  In some cases if you have large items, your local charity and thrift shop will come and pick them up.

Donating used items is a great option as long as you do a little homework to find out which local organizations and donation centers are most appropriate for the items you’d like to give away. You may want to begin with your local Goodwill, which is nationwide, or your local Salvation Army. There are also local veterans charities to help our veterans. 

Use the following tips as a guideline for determining what goes where and how to get it there:

·         Many items are eligible for donation. You might be surprised to learn exactly what items you can donate. In addition to clothing and furniture, cars, cell phones and other electronics, fitness equipment, home appliances—even art supplies and old towels—are widely accepted by specialized organizations. If you’re looking to donate a unique item, or several of the same items in bulk, do some further research about local organizations and donation centers in need of specific things.

·         Consider what shape your items are in to determine where you donate. If you’re planning to donate a broken refrigerator, make sure the organization is aware the item is in need of repair. Some donation centers accept broken items for parts; however, most organizations and donation centers prefer to accept gently used items in working condition. Be sure to communicate the item’s condition prior to arranging a donation.

·         After choosing where to donate, decide how you’ll get the items to the organization. Oftentimes large organizations and donation centers are able to arrange a day and time to pick up your unwanted items directly from your home or business. Smaller organizations in need might instead have certain days and times available for you to arrange a drop off at a specified location.

·         Make sure to get a donation receipt for tax purposes. Before donating, make a detailed list of the items you’ll be giving away along with the estimated values. Keep in mind that, since the items are used, price points might be lower than expected. When your items are picked up or dropped off, request a receipt from the organization or donation center to keep track of what to count as a tax deduction. Speaking with a tax professional for advice also is a good idea.


The importance of reading your HOA Documents before you close on a home

The importance of reading your HOA Documents before you close on a home

So you just bought a new home or condo in a great neighborhood and you're super excited about it. You got your set of keys, garage door opener, mail box key, and huge stack of paperwork. You know that the stack or paperwork is probably important, but of course like most new owners, you are so excited about your purchase that the documentation gets thrown into a drawer somewhere during the moving process.

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Keeping Our Children Safe - Tips for Summer Fun

Keeping Our Children Safe - Tips for Summer Fun

Summer fun can bring accidents. No matter how careful we are with our children, accidents will happen. When one happens, taking care of it quickly is vital. Having a First Aid kit handy can relieve the pain and worry for both the parent and the child. You can either purchase a kit and add things or make your own. Here are a list of items recommended to have on hand.

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How Your Homeowners Association Helps Your Community

How Your Homeowners Association Helps Your Community

Although we take lots of things for granted nowadays, the reality is that our homeowners association does have a major role to play in regards to our community. Not only is the Homeowner Association responsible for nurturing the local area, but it also helps repair public items in your area, and it delivers a wide array of other great benefits.

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Don’t Forget Your Outdoor Patio When It Comes To Homeowners Insurance

Don’t Forget Your Outdoor Patio When It Comes To Homeowners Insurance

While the majority of people do realize the importance of having contents insurance to safeguard their possessions from theft and other disasters, very often the contents of the outdoor patio are sometimes forgotten and, if you have expensive patio furniture or such like, then this could be a huge mistake.

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Ideas For Spring Community Gatherings

Ideas For Spring Community Gatherings

Spring community gatherings can bring in front a lot of excitement and fun, but at the same time, they can also be time-consuming. This does bring in the question, though, how can you bring the community together and how can the HOA create some great community gatherings? Here are some great ideas to keep in mind!

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Volunteering in a Homeowners Association

Volunteering in a Homeowners Association

If you care about the value of your house, you need to take good care of it regularly and properly. Making some improvements to the house or tackle any necessary repair quickly will make your house a decent place to live in. In addition to that, it is advised that you take part in the association dedicated to maintaining the value of your neighboring buildings or Homeowner's Association. 

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Winston-Salem Area HOA Management Company, Association Management Group, Wins New Customer

Winston-Salem Area HOA Management Company, Association Management Group, Wins New Customer

Association Management Group, one of the Carolinas’ largest professional homeowner association managers, with five offices in North and South Carolina, was recently selected to manage Reagan Point Subdivision. Reagan Point is one of the only new home communities in the area that is being developed and built by a local builder, R.S. Parker Homes, at this time.

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Association Management Group (AMG) Sponsors BIG HAIR Ball Benefiting Family Service of the Piedmont

Association Management Group (AMG) Sponsors BIG HAIR Ball Benefiting Family Service of the Piedmont

Association Management Group, Inc. (AMG) is one of the Carolinas’ largest professional homeowner association managers with five offices in North and South Carolina. Yet on Saturday night, Jan. 28, the company became part of the “fashion industry” with the sponsorship of the extremely well-attended 5th Annual BIG HAIR Ball benefitting the Family Service of the Piedmont, one of the largest non-profit organizations of its kind in Guildford County.

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Charlotte Area HOA Management Company, Association Management Group, Recruits Veteran Community Manager to Team

Charlotte Area HOA Management Company, Association Management Group, Recruits Veteran Community Manager to Team

AMG-Charlotte, Association Management Group, one of the Carolinas’ largest professional homeowner association managers, recently recruited Elaine Burgin of Charlotte as Senior Community Manager. A seasoned property manager since 1998, Burgin brings an extensive history in community management, as well as real estate sales and banking, to the AMG team. A graduate of Queens University in Charlotte, her areas of expertise include analytical analysis, board leader development and empowerment, coordinating legal affairs, budgeting and contracts, construction management and troubleshooting transportation and building defects.

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