Contents Fall 2010
ON THE COVER
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
The Digital Print Store, Inc
Andy & Melissa Oldfield
Larry Holbrook, Gina Holbrook, Max Elson, Wendy Cummins, Warren Cohen, Manuel Vargas, Melissa Oldfield, Tara Barrett
The Digital Print Store, Inc.
David St. Pierre, PCNewb
ABOUT PREMIER LIVING MAGAZINE
Premier Living Magazine is distributed to homeowners and tenants by Premier Management. The magazine is produced quarterly and distributed throughout Lake, Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties.
QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS?
Please include your name, address and telephone number. Letters and articles may be edited for clarity and length. All submissions to Premier Living Magazine become the property of the magazine; they may be edited and published or otherwise used in any medium. Premier Living Magazine is published quarterly by The Digital Print Store, Inc. All contents, logos and articles are copyrighted material and all rights are reserved. Any reproduction in whole or in part without prior written permission of Premier Living Magazine is strictly prohibited. Premier Living Magazine reserves the right to refuse any advertising material for any reason deemed inappropriate by the publisher. ©2010 Premier Living Magazine
Welcome to the “Premier” edition of Premier Living magazine. Since starting Premier in 2004 my goal has always been to provide a friendly, personalized and professional management service that goes above and beyond for you - our clients, neighbors and friends. I have been fortunate to establish an incredible team of portfolio and on-site managers, realtors, office assistants, accountants and maintenance personnel. We have a “Premier” team and we are ready to always provide you with “Premier” customer service.
We are very excited about Premier Living magazine.We hope you will find our articles useful and full of valuable HOA/Realty information and legal updates. Florida statutes govern your community association board's actions and Premier Living will help to provide clarity and direction for homeowners and tenants, reducing or eliminating the resentment towards HOA boards and the “evil” management companies. We also hope you find it fun with some of our unique and fun articles. Introducing you to our many board members and highlighting our community's events is a great way to share ideas. And spotlighting a new local small business is a fun, and often delicious way, to introduce to you a place you may not be familiar with.
We are so fortunate and privileged to provide the management services to our many communities and we deeply value each homeowner. The Premier team has one goal in mind: to provide the most personalized and professional management services to you, not only to protect your financial investment but also to improve the quality of your community. We call this the “Premier Difference”.
Published quarterly, our next release of Premier Living will be after the new year.We are very proud to bring this magazine to you and would love to get your feedback. Let us hear from you! Until next time, here's wishing you and your family a “Premier” holiday.
Our mission is to exceed client expectations by providing professional and personalized services, innovative association management practices, and a strong commitment to excellence and company values while providing opportunities for our dedicated team members to achieve their professional goals.
If Gina Holbrook had planned to start Premier Property Management of Central Florida in June 2004 she sure went about it differently than most.
You see, Gina was burned out and had seen enough. Serving in the property management business for more than 15 years, Gina figured it was time to stay home and be a full-time Mom to her daughters Lauren and Valerie, and her son David. Playing soccer Mom and volunteering at the local school sounded like a great plan. However, as soon as she “retired” her phone started to ring. Several communities came calling for the manager they had grown to love for years of loyal service, immense HOA knowledge, and her personal charm.
Within a few days, and with only one piece of advice from her husband Larry, ‘always do things the right way and treat your staff like gold’ she had signed her first contract, with several more following in the ensuing weeks.
After realizing that sharing the home office with her husband was not going to work, Gina found a small office building in the downtown Sanford area and Premier was born. With new-found excitement, Gina and Premier quickly outgrew the downtown office and relocated to a historic home on Elm Avenue in Sanford. Gina continued to grow Premier and in 2007, in addition to the birth of her second son, Tyler, she began Premier Realty & Leasing Management, specializing in both sales and rentals, and hiring a great and knowledgeable broker and sales staff.
2008 was another huge year for Premier as they moved to their current offices located on Primera Blvd in Lake Mary. Gina also coerced Larry to leave his sales position with LeapFrog Enterprises and join her at Premier, and she launched the company’s maintenance division. Gina built Premier the old-fashioned way: Treat every client as if they are your only client; assemble and recognize the best and most talented staff in the industry (you’ll never hear Gina say “I” — it’s always “we”), and provide the best, most-professional and most-personalized service to your communities. It is obvious why Gina and the Premier team have been so successful and that their best days are still ahead. And with Gina Holbrook at the helm it is easy to see why Premier really is Premier.
Visit Premier Property Management of Central Florida on-line at www.PremierMgmtCFL.com and Premier Realty & Leasing Management on-line at www.PremierRealtyCFL.com
Submitted By: Max V. Elson, Jr., Financial Advisor Branch Name: Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Celebration, FL Phone Number: 407-566-4604
Wealth alone is no guarantee of a secure retirement. It’s time to start thinking about what you’ll need.
Even if you are doing well, plentiful assets and a good income are probably not enough to get rid of your worries about retirement—at least not according to new studies of high net worth investors. Thousands of affluent boomers and Gen Xers studied by Wharton and State Street Global Advisors expressed fears about outlasting their money. You may be worried about preserving your standard of living in the face of market downturns, inflation and health care costs during a retirement that may last 30 years. In fact, 57% of those surveyed cited rising health care costs as their number-one concern. And if you’re in the younger half of those surveyed, a lack of traditional pensions and Social Security and Medicare safety nets is probably also on your mind.
Experts agree that wealth alone is no guarantee of retirement security; saving too little “runs up and down the income scale and wealth scale,” says Olivia S. Mitchell, an insurance and risk-management professor at Wharton. Comfortable living inevitably translates to spending. Though the wealthy save, Mitchell explained in the Wharton study, “people with high earnings also spend a lot” to keep the lifestyle they enjoy going.
Reasons For Concern
Your retirement isn’t likely to be the same as it would have been 50 years ago. The old adage was that you needed 80% of your current income when you retire—but nearly half of the 1,800 millionaires surveyed by the 2007 Phoenix Wealth Survey said they will need more than 100%. You may even be thinking of working indefinitely, at least part-time, in order to stay engaged and support a comfortable lifestyle. Also, your life expectancy has increased, even from just a generation ago. Determining your retirement goals is a complex process—one that means taking the time to figure out what it is you really want now and down the road.
Worried as you may be, you may not have begun planning. 59% of high net worth investors have no formal written plan for their retirement goals—but a retirement analysis can help. We can run this analysis to assess your financial situation, your potential annual retirement income, your savings and investments and your tax situation.
Then, it’s time to analyze your retirement goals. Once you know what you want, we can determine ways to help you get there, whether that involves altering your investment strategy, changing the amounts you contribute or something else entirely. The retirement analysis will provide you with a full report, including savings recommendations and sources for retirement income.
Talk to your Financial Advisor about how a retirement analysis might benefit you.
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC and its affiliates do not provide tax or legal advice. To the extent that this material or any attachment concerns tax matters, it is not intended to be used and cannot be used by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Any such taxpayer should seek advice based on the taxpayer’s particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.
© 2010 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC.
“While posting the names of Homeowners that are delinquent in their payments may seem like a good idea to some, such action may not only be illegal, but may have an adverse impact on the Association as a whole.”
It’s no secret that in today’s economy Homeowners Associations are strapped for cash. Associations are thinking outside the box and looking for alternative ways to collect on past due assessments and monetary obligations of delinquent Homeowners. Frequently, Association Boards contemplate collection strategies by weighing the benefit of the action against any adverse effects of such action on the community. One strategy is whether to post (publish) delinquent Homeowners names for the “world to see”. While posting the names of Homeowners that are delinquent in their payments may seem like a good idea to some, such action may not only be illegal, but may have an adverse impact on the Association as a whole.
First, the posting of delinquent Homeowners “to the world” may be a practice that is illegal under the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.This law prohibits debt collectors from using certain tactics to collect debts. One prohibited tactic is publishing (or threatening to publish) before the general public a list of names of debtors for the purpose of collecting and enforcing the debt. Section 559.72, Florida Statutes. While the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act only regulates “debt collectors,” i.e, third party collectors such as a management company or an attorney’s office, and the Association itself might not be considered a debt collector or subject to said regulations; the Association should be mindful of such regulation. Also, note that there is a distinction between posting a list of delinquent Homeowners for the general public to view versus posting the list for only homeowners/members/parcels owners within the Association to view.
Further, while in a certain situation such posting may be valid, it does have some practical risks, i.e., the accuracy of the list. Suppose the Association posts the lists of delinquent Homeowners at the annual meeting for review by the Members, but twenty minutes before the meeting one of those delinquent Homeowners remits the amounts owed to the Association, or drops the payment in the mail. In this situation the Homeowner would then be current in his obligations, but the list would provide that he still maintains delinquent status.
The Homeowner may have a claim for libel (i.e., defamation) against the Association as the Association has the Homeowner listed as a delinquent owner when in fact he is no longer such.
Finally, taking such action is a business decision to be made by the Association with the question being, “At what expense/risk does the Association want to pursue the Homeowners within the Association?” Such a practice could likely turn Homeowners into enemies of the Association which could add fuel to the fire in all aspects of business which the Association undertakes. Posting the names of delinquent Homeowners can be shameful to such Homeowners, especially if they simply do not have the funds to pay.
Perhaps a better alternative would be to post the parcel number of the property, rather than the address or name of the Homeowner; however, this will likely still constitute some type of humiliation.
In summary, should the Association desire to post the names of delinquent Homeowners to the community it would likely increase the risk and liability of the Association. The Association should understand that posting the delinquent Homeowners names may also increase insurance costs and attorneys fees. Again, the question remains, what risk is the Association willing to take to capture such fees? And what is the probability that this will actually prompt payment? The reward may not outweigh the risks.
Tara Lyn Barrett is an associate attorney with Brown, Garganese, Weiss and D’Agresta P.A. She focuses her practice on Community Association Law and local government issues, and is admitted to practice in Florida and the United States Middle District Court of Florida. Ms. Barrett earned her law degree from Stetson University College of Law in 2007, where she was a Senior Associate of the Stetson Law Review and published in the Stetson Law Review, as well as in the University of Mississippi’s Environmental Law Journal. While at Stetson, Ms. Barrett clerked for the Honorable Judge Amy Williams, former Chief Justice David Demers in the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, and Pinellas County Attorney’s office. Additionally, she was a recipient of the William Blews Pro Bono Service Award and on the Dean’s List. She graduated Suma Cum Laude, from the University of Florida where she received her undergraduate degree in 2004.
Tara Barrett, Esq.
Pay Close Attention To Your Credit Score
If you’ve been thinking about buying a home, there may never be a better time than right now, as interest rates remain at or near historic lows.
Lenders consider many factors when reviewing mortgage applications, but one of the biggest is your credit score. Fortunately, this is also one of the factors that you probably can do something about. Many of the financial decisions you make during the crucial 30- to 60-day window before you apply can have a significant impact on your application and the mortgage interest rate. Consider these do’s and don’ts to help you boost your credit score before you approach your bank about financing:
- Do pay your bills on time. Most experts agree that this is the best way to improve your credit score. In fact, payment history accounts for more than a third of your score, and a single late payment can drop your score significantly.
- Do pay down large credit card balances. This is as important to improving your credit score as paying down installment debt like car and student loans. Specifically, you want to try to keep balances below 30 percent of each credit card’s limit. The balances on your last statement are typically reported to the credit bureaus, so it’s usually smart to use credit cards sparingly during this time.
- Do check your credit reports yourself. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax,TransUnion and Experian) by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Check your reports carefully for errors, especially with regard to incorrect credit limits, late payments, collections or any other negative items that are inaccurate.
- Don’t cancel multiple credit cards. Some people mistakenly believe this will help their credit score. However, it may actually hurt your score because it will lower your available credit. Keeping old accounts open, at least until after you have financed your mortgage, will help demonstrate that you have a long credit history.
- Don’t apply for new credit if you already have enough. New credit accounts will lower the average age of your credit history. Just as importantly, new applications will result in a “hard” credit inquiry appearing on your report, which can raise red flags if there are too many. A single credit inquiry can knock five points off of your credit score.
- Hold off on consolidating credit card balances. This may be a smart strategy for lowering your credit card interest rate, but it’s generally not advisable right before you apply for a mortgage loan. From a credit score perspective, it’s usually better to have lower balances on several different cards than a high balance on just one card.
The information in this article is for general educational purposes and should not be used as a substitute for professional credit counseling or financial advice. Please contact Regions Mortgage Banker Wendy Cummins at 407-246-8981 for more information or to discuss your mortgage needs.
© 2010 Regions Bank.
Reprinted with Permission from Regions Bank.
We exist in this time and in this space. But where are we when we dream? Before we are born? Or after we die? What if we exist in many times… in many spaces? Now…and forever.
England, 1919… A photographer commissioned to take a photograph of a British naval regiment notices, after developing the photograph, that in the back row, between the fourth and fifth soldier from the left, there is another man, wedged in rather tightly. Disgusted in himself for not having spaced the men apart more evenly, he finished his task and, after framing the photograph, he presented it to the regiment. To both his and their amazement, each soldier recognized the man standing in the back row as one of their own…who had died three days before the photograph was taken.
Ohio, 1976… A man poses his wife and two children for a family photo alongside their Buick parked in front of their house. When the photograph is developed, the couple noticed a man, quite familiar to them, standing behind the rear of the car. It was the woman's father…who had passed away two weeks earlier.
Illinois, 1995… Over a period of several weeks, a woman receives a series of casual telephone calls from her mother who had been dead for 20 years. Quite taken back by this, the woman began screening her calls, allowing her answering machine to pick up and record any conversations she may have. Her mother did not seem to realize what was happening and, in fact, believed that the time was still 20 years in the past. Only after the woman told her mother the gravity of the situation did the phone calls cease.
Since the beginning of time, mankind has had a fascination with the spirit world. Most cultures are molded, in part and, in some cases, entirely by their respective beliefs in an afterlife. But what truly happens when we die? Do our souls evolve to a higher level of existence? Or, are they perhaps trapped between this world and the next, searching aimlessly for an answer to what has befallen them or resolutions to matters that affected them before they left this Earthly plane. Do ghosts really exist? And, if so… why are they not at rest?
Science and religion have often been at opposite ends of the debate concerning life after death. While one side stands firm on matters of faith, the other maintains an equally fortified position with regard to matters of evidence. The overwhelming majority of people in the world subscribe to a religious doctrine that includes a belief in the existence of a supreme being. Throughout the history of virtually all religions, one will find stories of angels, demons, spirits, and a purgatorial domain where doomed or trapped souls dwell.
Yet, many scientists question the validity of this domain as it pertains to religion, choosing instead to focus less on divinity and more on plausible explanations for the seemingly endless accounts of encounters with ghosts.
The recent increase in the popularity of paranormal investigation, or ghost hunting, has resulted in a myriad of professional and amateur investigators across the world attempting to capture evidence of spectral beings or ghostly encounters through the implementation of a variety of methods. When it comes to such matters of evidence, spirit photography is the most intriguing and yet most criticized element.
In the eyes of virtually every photographer, any anomaly captured on film is absolute proof of the existence of ghosts, regardless of opinions to the contrary.
Perhaps the most famous ghost photo was captured in 1936 at Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England. Known as the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall, the image in the photo appears as a smoky, female form gliding down one of the Hall's great staircases.
Presumably, she is the ghost of Lady Dorothy Walpole who once lived at Raynham Hall and after being embroiled in a scandalous affair with another man, died in 1726 under mysterious circumstances. The photo was taken by Captain Provand and Indra Shira, both of whom actually witnessed the spirit prior to taking the photograph.
Another fascinating ghost photo was captured in 1995 during a fire that consumed Wem Town Hall in Shropshire, England. Tony O'Rahilly, a local resident, was one of many onlookers as the building collapsed and took photos of the event with a telephoto lens from across the street. One of his photos shows what clearly appears to be a small, ethereal girl standing in a burning doorway. In 1677, historical records note that a fire destroyed many of the town's old timber houses. Legend has it that a young girl named Jane Churm accidentally set fire to a thatched roof with a candle.
As human beings, we have a natural curiosity when it comes to life after death. We choose to either live in fear of, or are oblivious to, our own mortality. As a result, we seek ways to bring us closer to the answer to mankind's oldest question...What happens when we die? Perhaps the answer to that question lies in the spirit world, lodged somewhere between the worlds of science and faith.
Are you in the market to buy a house? How about one that comes with a few built-in residents that just may help your bottom line? According to AOL News, websites specializing in paranormal Real Estate are becoming more common. Included among the property’s features might be unexplained drawers opening, lights turning on and off, or ghostly sounds, voices or viewings. Prospective owners range from those seeking a ghastly thrill to those looking for a killer investment.
In an article published by David Moye, an AOL contributor, he writes that one such investor from Hastings, Minnesota has written two books on living with ghosts and hosts hundreds of spirit-lovers each year seeking to catch a glimpse of an apparition. In fact, she has even created a very successful haunted tea party business at her home.
David also cites two brothers who bought a Traverse City, Michigan Inn rumored to be haunted by a spirit. Instead of trying to keep the Inn’s spooky past a secret, they have embraced their “ghoul-friend” that resides there. They proudly play up the legend of “Genevieve” at the Inn’s restaurant and have turned their business into a ghost-hunters delight.
And in Longwood, Florida, David tells of a “haunted” hotel that was successfully converted to an office complex. The ghost, reportedly the man who built the hotel, hasn’t caused any tenants to call the GhostBusters. In fact, the owner states some businesses have opened because of the entity. “Mainly he just messes with the girls,” the owner states.
Current laws do not require sellers to disclose the presence of paranormal activity. However, as the number of buyers and investors looking for houses with ghostly activity increase the real estate industry may have to create what some nickname the “Casper Clause” to disclose any the presence of “permanent guests”.
We may be living with a scary economy, but if you are not bothered by an extra roommate, a ghost or two may be just the amenity you need for a “boo-tiful” business opportunity.
Manuel Vargas, Jr.
Licensed Real Estate Broker
Premier Realty & Leasing Management
Roy St. Pierre - former caterer to the stars - and his family-owned deli is rockin’ Lake Mary.
Fresh breads; vegetables and meats sliced on-site; sandwiches made to order -THAT DELI is truly a delicatessen throwback, and the ideal recipe for “retirement” for an iconic caterer to the music industry.
Recently voted the #1 “Lunch To Go” in Central Florida by Orlando Magazine, it will only take one trip to THAT DELI and you’ll agree. Try a “Beef Me Up Scotty” (hot roast beef, cheddar cheese, portabello and garlic mayo) or an I-4 Deluxe (sliced turkey, hot bacon, fresh avocado, tomato and tarragon mayo), or one of Roy’s many other colorful and delicious homemade sandwiches and you will see why his motto is “We Don’t Fake Fresh”.
Or try Roy’s real passion, one of his delicious soups. THAT DELI features four to six homemade soups daily, with New England Clam Chowda as the daily soup cornerstone. But come hungry, because these soups have more meat than most regular sandwiches!
Roy St Pierre, along with his wife Wendy, son Dave, future daughter in law Katie, and daughters Jenny and Rachel make up team THAT DELI. A self-taught chef, Roy spent the last 15 years in the chilly North East perfecting his catering company and for years could be seen back stage catering to some of the most famous performers in the world. However, years of feeding a “who’s who” of famous entertainers, often traveling to prepare and serve backstage meals, began to grind Roy down. “Many years on the road, sleeping in Red Roof Inns and Super 8 motels began to wear on me,” says Roy. “People thought I had the greatest job in the world but at times it would be grueling and the fun began to fade”.
In 2008 Roy left his home in Burlington, Vermont and set his sights on retirement in Central Florida. Once he arrived he saw a void for a truly fresh and unique cuisine. Roy opened THAT DELI in February 2009 and retirement is a memory. Roy and his family team still cater to weddings, corporations and private organizations, but he prefers for you to come in and talk recipes, music, or sports. While Roy has settled in to Central Florida don’t think his past is forgotten. As a tribute, Roy hangs signed pictures of Elton John, Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Rait, BB King, Willie Nelson, Bill Cosby, Bob Dylan, and a host of other famous former customers on his walls of THAT DELI.
You can visit THAT DELI and enjoy an incredible lunch with Roy and his family everyday at THAT DELI. No back stage pass required.3801 Lake Mary Blvd., 321-363-1394. www.thatdelifl.com
Enjoy all that beautiful downtown Winter Park has to offer at the Douglas Grand at Winter Park. A sophisticated and luxurious living and working experience located in Winter Park, Florida just minutes away from Orlando and Central Florida’s attractions. Winter Park’s beautiful Central Park is across the street, making a stroll to Park Avenue for an elegant shopping or dining experience just moments away. These unique residential single-story condominiums, town homes and office spaces are designed to be architecturally timeless. Capturing the elegance and sophistication of classic buildings in the U.S. and Europe, reminiscent of the renowned brownstone residences of Manhattan. The appointments within the residences feature premium finishes and appliances, including Wolf, Sub-Zero, Karastan Carpets, Kohler plumbing fixtures and Pella windows.
Opened in January of 2008, all residential units are 3-bedroom/3 baths or 3-bedroom/31/2 baths. There are 18 single-story condominiums and 24 town homes from 2,600 to 3,700 square feet. The commercial spaces are from approximately 3,000 to 38,000 square feet; professional office and retail spaces are available.
The Douglas Grand, elegant living in a sophisticated setting! For more information about Central Florida’s most elegant living option, please contact Premier Realty at 407.333.7787 to schedule a visit to the Preview Center, or browse through floor plans..
Stoneybrook Hills is a deed restricted community nestled in the hills just outside of the Mount Dora city limits, within Orange County. This beautiful community is surrounded by natural beauty and abundant local wildlife that is enjoyed by all who live here. The community boasts terrific recreation facilities available for use by the residents, such as tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball /softball field, resort style swimming pool with children's wade pool and splash fountain, and fitness center. This community knows how to have fun!
For special occasions our beautifully decorated clubhouse is equipped with a full kitchen, as well as a banquet hall that can accommodate up to 220 people. The entrance gate to the community is professionally attended 24/7 for our residents' piece of mind. For your convenience the onsite community association management office is located in the clubhouse. They are available 7 days a week. Whether currently residing in the community or looking to make Stoneybrook Hills a place you can call home, this gated recreation community has something for everyone. For more information about Stoneybrook Hills please visit stoneybrookhills.org.
This year Stoneybrook Hills is a proud sponsor of the American Cancer Society / Relay For Life. In April of this year, Stoneybrook Hills hosted a 5K Walk to raise money to help cure Cancer. All proceeds went towards the American Cancer Society's / Relay for Life of the Golden Triangle. The event was open to the public and we had a great turn out. The participants walked through the lovely streets of Stoneybrook Hills and finished on the baseball field.
Stoneybrook Hills is honored to be hosting the 2nd Annual 5K Walk/Run on March 12, 2011. Registration will start at 7:00AM and the 5K Walk/Run will begin at 8:00AM.
The registration fee is $15.00 if you register on or before February 18, 2011. After February 18th the registration fee will be $20.00. The registration fee includes the cost of your commemorative 5K Walk/Run shirt. Please note there is an additional charge for shirts size XL or larger. To ensure you receive the correct shirt size, please submit your registration form no later than February 18, 2011. Although registration forms will still be accepted on the day of the 5K Walk/Run, we will be unable to guarantee your shirt size.
Stoneybrook Hills is hosting a Fall Festival to raise money for the American Cancer Society / Relay For Life on November 6, 2010 from 4:00PM - 9:00PM. There will be food, live music, crafts, a rock climbing wall, games and a Movie Under the Stars. The movie will be a new release that has yet to be determined. Please come join the fun while donating to a wonderful cause. If you would like to have a booth to advertise your business please contact Teri at 352-385-9189.
We encourage you to come early to view the beautiful homes built by Lennar Homes. We are sure you will find Stoneybrook Hills will be your choice for your next home purchase. For sales information please call the Lennar Sales team - Tamika Mills at 407-625-3869 or May Menefee at 352-255-5815.
Please visit www.stoneybrookhillshoa.org for more information on the 5K Walk/Run. Any and all donations will be welcomed.
the HOA President
Becoming the HOA President is a big responsibility. It is often called "The most thankless job". It requires a lot of time, patience, and the ability to communicate and work well with your Board Members, the management team, as well as the homeowners. You will spend a lot of time sending and responding to Emails and phone calls.
To be a President of an HOA you must also have a clear vision of your community's needs and homeowner desires. As the person that chairs the Board meetings you must ensure the items on the agenda are addressed and resolved by the Board. You do not want to leave things unresolved and drag on from meeting to meeting. The HOA Board and the President in particular must be strong to make tough decisions and resolve often unpopular issues. Sometimes this includes decisions like raising the HOA dues or getting tougher with collections or violations.
The management company is a crucial part of the success of an HOA Board. The association manager is the person you work with on a regular basis. The association manager ensures our communities run smoothly by coordinating the Board Meetings, obtaining vendors needed for the community, working with the budget, and obtaining the best Legal council when needed. The manager's ability to deal with homeowner issues and the Board requests will greatly assist with the success of any community.
People often ask me, “Why would you want to be President of an HOA"? Simple: I live in this community. My home is my biggest investment. I want to help make sure the covenants of our community are enforced, that our properties are well maintained, and that the value of all our homes continue to increase. This is why people moved into a deed-restricted community in the first place. A strong and positive relationship between the HOA President and Board and the Management team will help to accomplish this.
Despite an occasional e-mail or phone call from an upset homeowner, being an HOA President has been very rewarding. Lucky for me I have very thick skin and an incredibly proactive management team. I know our community looks better than it ever has; our budget is stronger than ever; and the vast majority of our community appreciate our efforts to make Tuscany at Lake Mary a wonderful place to live.
Finally, to make a difference in your community you must get involved. We've all seen those who are content to sit by and complain things are not done to their satisfaction but never choose to serve on the board or a committee. However, this helps no one. I encourage all homeowners to step up and help get things accomplished in your community. It really is a good feeling to help make your community a better place to live.
HOA President, Tuscany at Lake Mary
Everyone Can Win
The two biggest complaints we hear from prospective clients are the lack of timely collections of assessments from homeowners and the challenge of collecting large sums of outstanding assessments once the homeowner can’t, or sometimes, refuses to pay their assessments. These problems can often be prevented with the right collection policies and open communication and cooperation between the
HOA Board, management team and the homeowner. HOA Boards are charged with the responsibility of enforcing the association’s covenants and the statutes established by the State of Florida. The board responsibilities are broad and include the preservation of the subdivision’s common elements and contracting with private vendors to ensure these elements are properly cared for. They also have a fiduciary responsibility to each homeowner, ensuring the HOA can and does pay their bills; that their budget is accurate and transparent; and that the collection of the established assessments is aggressive and non-prejudicial. Without the collection of these assessments the board could not function on behalf of the homeowners and home values would subsequently decrease.
Boards also realize that many homeowners are financially struggling to make ends meet and are often willing to work out a detailed payment plan to keep the homeowner in good standing. Communication with your management company is the key. Homeowners receive ample notification of the HOA’s scheduled assessments and need to budget for this cost. In the unfortunate event that the homeowner cannot pay their assessments on time they need to immediately communicate with the Management Company to avoid compounding the issue with additional late fees and costs. If the account is still not brought current it could subsequently be turned over to the HOA’s attorney for legal action. On those rare occasions where a homeowner refuses to work with the association and pay their assessments a new Florida Statute was passed in July 2010 that gives HOA Boards a strong avenue to pursue these collections. HOA attorneys and boards are employing this new law and collecting arrears from homeowners, unfortunately at a substantial cost to the homeowner as well as the entire association.
At Premier, we take the collection process very seriously. We understand those who pay their assessments on time are penalized and pay extra for those who do not pay. Therefore, we have an entire team of proactive and dedicated collection specialists who continually work with homeowners to help keep their accounts current. Our goal is to work with homeowners struggling to stay current on the HOA assessments so that the association receives the funds necessary to conduct association business, the homeowner stays in good standing, and the association’s legal costs are kept as low as possible.
Premier is proud to serve your community with the most professional and personalized service in the industry and with your assistance we can help keep your community a beautiful place to call home.