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Making Sense of Association Loans

Posted By Chris Bruffey, CommunityPLUS, A Division of North State Bank, Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Does your association have deferred maintenance, repairs or projects that need to be done?  Couple that with an increasing number of owners working from home who have more time to peruse their community and you may see the number of projects being considered by homeowner association boards has increased dramatically!  


Some projects that were viewed a few years ago as “nice to do’s” have now become “must do’s”.  These projects could include:

  • Roof replacement
  • Siding replacement
  • Painting
  • Paving
  • Structural repairs
  • Balcony/porch/deck replacement
  • HVAC replacement
  • Amenity repairs/refurbishments (i.e. pool repairs, clubhouse construction/refurbishment, playground construction/refurbishment)

If you are an association that does not have the reserves to pay for these types of projects, should your association consider a loan to finance this type of work?  The answer is yes – so long as you are working with a bank that specializes in Homeowner Association financing.  Most banks do not understand the nuances involved in Association Lending so it is important to work with a bank that has experience in dealing with association loans.  That is where your local CommunityPLUS team at North State Bank comes in!


Some of the benefits of an Association Loan could include expedited project completion (i.e. everyone gets new siding as opposed to one building per year for the next 7 years), lower per unit project costs due to the discounted cost for bulk purchases of construction material, increased property values, increased safety for the residents, and improved homeowner satisfaction.  


Association Loan terms can vary based on the life expectancy of the work being performed.  A good rule of thumb is to limit the loan term to no more than half the life expectancy of the improvements.  That way, by the time the painting loan is paid off, the association should have sufficient time to reserve the funds for the next painting project and avoid taking out another loan.  We generally recommend a loan term no greater than 10 years. 


We take several aspects of the association into consideration for association loans.  The most important aspect is the association’s historical and current delinquency percentages.  A unit is considered delinquent if it is past due for dues and/or assessments.  Banks typically do not want to see the number of delinquent units at or above 10% of the total number of units.  Delinquency percentages of 10% or more indicate that the association is already struggling to collect their current assessments.  Increasing dues or implementing a special assessment to repay a loan will only exacerbate the problem.


Other aspects considered include but are not limited to:  owner composition (does the investor ownership exceed 25%?), owner concentration (does one owner own more than 10% of the units and/or do all multiple unit owners comprise more than 20% of the units?), the size of the dues increase or special assessment used to repay the loan relative to their current dues (is the increase greater than 50%?)


If your association does not fall within some of the above guidelines, it does not necessarily mean that you may not qualify for the loan.  However, it may require additional loan structuring to mitigate the risk factors. 


Some associations may consider using funds that are budgeted for reserves to repay the loan.  In most cases, we caution associations against that strategy.  Not having sufficient reserves is often times the reason they are taking out a loan.  Continuing to underfund reserves will likely continue the cycle. 


Collateral for Association Loans is typically a first lien on the association’s dues and assessments.  Banks rarely take a lien on common areas or a lien on the units within the association.  The owners do not sign personal guarantees for the loan – the association is borrower. 


Budget season is a great time to discuss your association’s loan request with us!  A loan is an important option allowing your association to complete much-needed capital improvements without completely draining their reserves AND providing owners a more economical way to pay for their portion of the project over time.        


Call us today! 


Chris Bruffey, SVP, CMCA

Senior Commercial Officer

919-645-4980 (Office)


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Don't Forget: North Carolina Annual Action Items

Posted By Cynthia Jones, Sellers Ayers Dortch & Lyons PA, Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Updated: Monday, September 21, 2020

Sometimes, we all need a reminder to handle recurring action items that might be overlooked. That is particularly true this year when we are wrestling with a pandemic and other unexpected challenges. This is your reminder of the items that must be addressed annually in North Carolina so that you can take steps to ensure that they are not overlooked. The provisions that apply only to "new" condominium associations (formed after October 1, 1986) or "new" planned community associations (formed after January 1, 1999) are so marked.


1.         An annual meeting of the association must be held every year. N.C.G.S. § 47C-3-108; N.C.G.S. § 47F-3-108. The annual meeting must be held even if the association remains under declarant control.


2.         A meeting must be noticed and held for the ratification of the annual budget. N.C.G.S. § 47C-3-103(c); N.C.G.S. § 47F-3-103(c). This is a unique meeting for the sole purpose of allowing the membership to reject the budget. Due to a drafting oversight, the statutory requirement for this meeting applies to all condominium associations, but only "new" planned community associations. Within thirty (30) days after a budget is adopted, a meeting must be scheduled and noticed, at which time the membership can reject the budget. The budget is ratified and approved unless a majority of the total membership votes to reject the budget, in which case the budget for the previous year continues in effect. A quorum need not be present at this meeting and the meeting notice must specifically indicate that a quorum is not required. This special budget meeting is often combined with the annual meeting if the timing of those meetings coincides to make that possible.


3.         The names and addresses of the officers and directors of the association must be published within thirty (30) days of their election. N.C.G.S. § 47C-3-103(f); N.C.G.S. § 47F-3-103(f). In our opinion, this requirement applies whether officers and directors are elected or are subsequently appointed to fill vacancies that may be created for one reason or another.


4.         Within seventy-five (75) days after the close of the association's fiscal year, a statement of income and expenses must be available to members of the association at no charge. N.C.G.S. § 47C-3-118(a); N.C.G.S. § 47F-3-118(a). The law does not require that this statement be distributed, but only that it be available without cost.


5.         Members of the association must be given the opportunity to appear before the executive board of the association "at regular intervals" to speak about issues and concerns. N.C.G.S. § 47C-3-108(b); N.C.G.S. § 47F-3-108(b). The executive board may place reasonable time limitations on those who appear to speak. In our opinion, such an opportunity should be provided not less frequently than once per calendar quarter. The board may provide this opportunity as part of a regularly scheduled board meeting or schedule a special board meeting for this purpose. By scheduling a separate board meeting for this purpose, the board avoids the problem of having to "close" the meeting after the open forum portion is concluded. Members should be given reasonable notification of when and where the meeting will be held where they will be given the opportunity to speak. This statutory requirement for a "membership forum" does not supersede any requirement contained in the bylaws requiring that all meetings be open or more frequent opportunities for members to appear and be heard by the board.


6.         Except as otherwise provided in the association's bylaws, meetings of the association and the executive board must be conducted in accordance with the most recent edition of Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised. N.C.G.S. § 47C-3-108(c); N.C.G.S. § 47F-3-108(c).


7.         Each year, the members must be notified that they may initiate mediation under N.C.G.S. §7A-38.3F to try to resolve a dispute with the association (excluding disputes related to the payment of assessments, fines, or fees). The Association must publish this notice on its website, or if it does not have a website, the Association must publish the notice at the same time and in the same manner as the names and addresses of all officers and board members. See 3 above. While the Association is not required to participate in mediation if initiated, it is required to give this notice each year.

Tags:  cai-nc  cai-nc minute  community association law  community association management  community associations  community managers 

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NC Executive Order Again Extends Electronic Membership Meetings

Posted By Jim Slaughter, Law Firm Carolinas, Tuesday, September 1, 2020

NC Executive Order Again Extends Electronic Membership Meetings

Membership meetings of North Carolina nonprofits, including homeowner and condominium associations, can continue to be held virtually/electronically for at least the next 60 days.

Since May 20, North Carolina Phase 2 restrictions have limited indoor meeting attendance to 10 and outdoor attendance to 25, which makes it rather hard to hold an in-person association membership meeting. (It can be done, it just requires certain physical arrangements, numerous proxies, or both.)

Executive Order #136 issued by the Governor on April 24, 2020, allowed for nonprofit membership meetings to be held virtually under certain conditions. That Executive Order expired on June 23, but was extended by Executive Order #149 through August 31. We have been in communications with the Governor’s Office this week and have learned that the ability to hold virtual nonprofit membership meetings has again been extended yet again, this time by Executive Order #161 through Friday, October 30.

Here are a few reminders on what the Executive Order provides:

  • A board “in its sole discretion” can determine that all or any part of a member meeting may be conducted by remote communication and remote balloting.
  • Association members may participate in the membership meeting by remote communication.
  • Although virtual, members do not vote during the meeting by voice or hand (like at an in-person meeting), but can vote on matters through “action by written ballot,” which can include electronic means, including e-mail, so long as the “electronic transmission … [sets forth or is submitted] with information from which it can be determined that the electronic transmission was authorized by the member or the member’s proxy.” That means that so long as there is an an appropriate verification process, ballots can be mailed back, emailed back as an attachment, or a more sophisticated electronic voting platform can be used.

Remote meetings and “ballots submitted by electronic transmission” can be complicated. For advice as to your specific situation or association membership meeting, feel free to contact one of our association attorneys. You may also find useful information in these prior articles: 

How to Hold a North Carolina HOA or Condo Virtual Membership Meeting, and

How to Hold a North Carolina HOA or Condo Virtual Membership Meeting, and

The Coronavirus, Flu, and HOA/Condo Association Meetings.

The full Executive Orders can be found at Executive Order # 161Executive Order #149, and Executive Order #136.

Tags:  cai-nc  cai-nc minute  community management  electronic membership meetings  executive order  hoa  hoa law  hoa management 

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Cybersecurity - How do we protect ourselves?

Posted By Carolyn Moscoso, Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Cybersecurity – How do we protect ourselves?


In 2019, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center recorded 23,775 complaints about business email compromise (BEC), which resulted in more than $1.7 billion in losses. In the wake of COVID-19, fraudulent cybercrimes and email schemes are on the rise.

It's vital to learn about the different ways cybercriminals attempt to infiltrate your organization. This knowledge can help your organization to proactively spot different types of cybercrimes and ultimately guard your confidential information against cybercriminals.





Phishing is a type of cybercrime that uses emails disguised as coming from a person or organization you trust, in order to lure you into clicking a fraudulent link or providing access to sensitive information. It is so important that you stay vigilant and keep an eye out for these red flags:


  • The email includes a request for your username and password, either by replying directly to the email or by clicking on the link that takes you to a site where you’re asked to input your information. DON’T DO IT! NO ONE IN YOUR ORGANIZATION SHOULD EVER ASK YOU FOR YOUR PASSWORD.
  • The email appears to be sent to you by HR or IT, but something doesn’t quite look right.
  • There are grammatical errors in the email or subject line.
  • You do not know the sender and the email has an unexpected attachment.
  • The email contains email addresses that don’t match between the header and the body, may be misspelled (like, or have unusual formats (
  • The email includes links or email addresses that, when you hover over them, list a different destination than described.
  • They try to create a sense of urgency in order to get you to respond.


Here is an example of a phishing email:


If you suspect that an email is a phishing email, DO NOT open any links or attachments in the email. Delete it, or notify your IT or information Security department immediately.




These days we are overloaded with online accounts that require credentials and memorizing them is impossible. While it may be tempting to reuse the same password across different accounts, this is not a safe solution. Compromised passwords are a leading cause of data breaches, and reusing passwords can increase the damage in what would otherwise have been a relatively small incident. Cybercriminals know that people reuse login credentials and often test compromised passwords on commonly used sites in order to expand the number of accounts they can access. So before you reuse a password, consider all of the data that could be at risk both personally and professioally. Here are some tips to help keep your information safe:


  • Use separate passwords for work and personal accounts.
  • Any words that can be easily guessed by attackers like “password” or “september2017” or predictable keyboard combinations like “1234567”, “qwerty” or “1q2w3e4r5t”.
  • Longer is stronger. Use passphrases rather than passwords. Passphrases could include several random words like “Highway owl purple elephant” or could be from a favorite song lyric or book.
  • Add complexity with capitalization or special characters. “Fido!sanAnAwesomeDog” is a stronger password than your pet’s name.
  • Adding numbers or special characters at the end of a word does little to increase security, because they’re easy for software to guess.
  • Avoid words like your kids’ names that could be revealed by a few minutes of online research.
  • Answers to security questions are often easily found – your mother’s maiden name is public record – so pick another word to use whenever that question comes up.




Out-of-band authentication is a process where authentication of an account requires two signals from two different channels. Out-of-band authentication makes hacking an account much harder for attackers because they would have to compromise two separate and unconnected authentication channels, rather than one.


For instance, if you get an email from a vendor, you should call them using the number you previously had on file and confirm that they sent the email. This is especially true if they are giving you new account information, for example, asking you to send money to a different account than one you’ve used in the past. Similarly, if you get an email from a co-worker that asks you to send money to a new vendor or changes to the account information for an existing vendor, confirm it is real. Walk over to their workplace or call them on their extension to confirm. It’s better to ask questions first than to authorize the payment and regret it. Three common scenarios are listed below:


Scenario 1 – Your system has been breached and someone’s email account has been hacked. In this scenario, a hacker has gained access to your systems in order to hijack your email accounts. This means that they have an employee’s login credentials and can communicate with you without the employee knowing. The hacker can also make it appear as if an actual employee is sending an email with instructions on how to distribute funds. Oftentimes, the attackers will monitor your communications, and use the information they gather to send a more convincing email.


Scenario 2 – The vendor’s system has been hacked. In this scenario, one of your vendors has been hacked and the attacker sends you an email from the vendor’s account asking for you to make a payment. As in the first scenario, the email will be from a legitimate account of someone you have communicated with in the past. The attacker will also likely monitor communications and jump in after legitimate emails have been sent back and forth, so that it looks like a continuation of a real conversation with the vendor.


Scenario 3 – Vendor’s email is spoofed. This scenario is different from the first two because no one has actually been “hacked”. Instead, the attacker makes it appear as if they are one of your vendors. These attackers are smart, so the email will look similar to a real email from your vendor. They may copy the logo and the email address will likely be off by only one or two characters. An example is vs.


Anyone who is tasked with purchasing supplies or making payments to vendors could be at risk of receiving falsified payment instructions. These fraudsters are smart; it is important to stay vigilant and cautious to avoid sending money to someone who is attempting to trick you in order to receive funds through fraudulent methods.


We hope you have learned a few tips on preventing cybercriminals from stealing your personal and business information. This information was excerpted from Alliance Association Bank’s promotional collateral.


Alliance Association Bank is a division of Western Alliance Bank. Member FDIC.


For more information about Alliance Association Bank or to receive these cybersecurity resources electronically to share with your organization, please contact Carolyn Moscoso, Vice President of Alliance Association Bank at  Carolyn represents the North/South Carolina and Georgia Markets and is an active member of Community Associations Institute (CAI).

Tags:  cai-nc  cai-nc business parnter  cai-nc minute  cyber security 

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Lake & Pond Hurricane Preparation Tips

Posted By Grant Todd, Dragonfly Pond Works, Monday, August 10, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Lake and pond hurricane preparation tips from Dragonfly Pond Works.
Jared Beard- Client Service Manager, Wilmington, NC and Myrtle Beach, SC


Lake and pond hurricane preparation helps minimize risk to your system. Keep your aquatic space safe and healthy.

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. However, the National Hurricane Center identifies Mid-August through late October as peak hurricane season. With the height of the season upon us, it is important to understand the proper steps to take to prepare your lake or pond BEFORE a storm hits.

Lakes and ponds, especially stormwater systems, are designed to handle large storms. Lake and pond hurricane preparation starts with ensuring nothing is inhibiting your system from doing its job. Big storms, such as Hurricane Florence in 2018, carry the potential to impact all systems. Here are Dragonfly Pond Works' expert tips to help minimize that risk.

Lake and Pond Hurricane Preparation Tips:

  • Inlets and outlets must be clear in order to control water flow and mitigate flooding. Remove trash, sediment, vegetation, and any other debris. This must be done BEFORE a storm!

  • Clear spillways of any debris.

  • Clear storm drains and ditches.

  • Regularly have trash and debris removed from your pond.

  • Bag yard waste so that it does not end up in nearby ponds or covering storm drains.

  • Just prior to a storm remove or secure yard items that can be blown away and/or carried away by water flow.


It is extremely dangerous to unclog drains or do any work around lakes and ponds once water is flowing. Water pressure builds up behind blockages and can suck people into risers and pipes if the blockage is removed. This is why it is of utmost importance to take these lake and pond hurricane preparation steps BEFORE a storm hits! Due to this danger and the possibility of dams failing, damage assessments should not be completed until the storm passes and the water recedes.


This large constructed wetland contains several risers and inlet/outlet pipes throughout its system. These features, as long as clear, help control water flow and mitigate flooding.

One community pond with a blockage has the potential to flood a neighborhood. Residents can also help by following our tips of bagging yard waste and removing and/or securing loose yard items. Everyone can help minimize the risk of flooding in their neighborhood. It is never too early to start your lake and pond hurricane preparation!

Tags:  business partner  cai-nc  cai-nc minute  hurricane season  nc hurricane preparedness  nc hurricanes 

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How to Hold a NC HOA or Condo Virtual Membership Meeting

Posted By Leslie C. Blum, Monday, July 27, 2020
Updated: Thursday, August 20, 2020

Jim SlaughterNormally (not during a pandemic), virtual membership meetings of homeowner and condominium associations are not permitted. As noted in this Coronavirus, Flu, and HOA/Condo Association Meetings article, members usually have two options for making decisions outside of meetings: (1) “action by written (unanimous) consent” and (2) “action by written ballot.” In addition, for declaration amendments the NC Planned Community Act and Condominium Act allow adoption by “written agreement” from members, which is a different no-meeting process. But recognize that none of these count as a “meeting.” They are all methods of making decisions without a meeting.

So, if you want to have your annual or special membership meeting and can’t do it in person, what options are there? As summarized in this New NC Executive Order Again Allows Electronic Nonprofit Membership Meetings article, Governor Cooper has reauthorized virtual nonprofit corporation membership meetings through August 31, 2020. Depending on the course of COVID-19, that Executive Order may be extended again. However, the Executive Order makes clear that voting at a virtual membership meeting does not occur by hands or voice. So exactly how is the meeting noticed and held?

CAVEAT: Like all of our blogs, this article is not legal advice. The facts of any situation and the governing documents for an association could change the advice given. State statute allows the articles of incorporation or bylaws to prohibit or limit the type of voting, so these options may not be available to a particular association. For advice on what meeting options are available for your particular HOA/condo or a specific issue, contact one of the community association attorneys at any of our offices.

That said, the process we most often see for a virtual HOA or condo member meeting is as follows:

  • Notice of the meeting must be sent in accordance with the governing documents and state statute. (FYI, notice provisions for condo meetings were changed in July 2020; see Updated NC Condominium Act). The meeting notice should be clear that the meeting will be held virtually by specific method (e.g., Zoom, GoToMeetings, Microsoft Teams, phone, etc.) and the day, time, and any necessary login information, such as URL.
  • The notice should include the agenda and make clear there will be discussion of issues. FYI, NC state statute provides that the notice of a meeting must “state the time and place of the meeting and the items on the agenda, including the general nature of any proposed amendment to the declaration or bylaws, any budget changes, and any proposal to remove a director or officer.” To avoid confusion, it may be best to include in the notice that voting and results will not be during the meeting, but by written ballot.
  • If elections are to be held, follow any governing document provisions for nominations. In the current state of emergency, this process may need to be reasonably modified to allow for the virtual setting. For instance, many governing documents and Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised allow nominations from the floor at the meeting. That’s not practical if ballots have already been sent out. As an alternative, nominations may need to be required earlier (before any ballot goes out) and then have blank lines on the ballot for “write-in votes.”
  • Virtual meeting is held with discussion of issues (e.g., community concerns, nominations and elections, bylaws amendment). Depending on the meeting, special rules of order may be necessary for getting recognized, how long and many times an owner may speak, etc.
  • Remember—no virtual “live” meeting votes by voice, hand, or Zoom poll. Those don’t meet the statutory requirements of a “written ballot.” Action by written ballot can include a written or electronic ballot (or both) sent to all members. If electronic, the electronic transmission must set forth or be submitted “with information from which it can be determined that the electronic transmission was authorized by the member or the member’s proxy.”
  • Sophisticated platforms are available for online voting. While such a service may be appropriate for larger associations, we often see less sophisticated methods. Most often, ballots are mailed and/or emailed to all members setting forth the proposed actions and providing an opportunity to vote “For” or “Against” the action or election. Owners print out, cast their votes, sign, date and return the ballots by US Mail or email with a scanned ballot or even photograph of the ballot. The owner’s actual signature/date can serve as proof “that the electronic transmission was authorized,” just as if at a meeting. More complicated processes can be followed if ballots are to remain secret. The usual concern with an email only (no attached ballot) is that it is more difficult to verify the accuracy of the sender.
  • Written ballot votes have to include a “drop-dead” return date by which the ballot, whether sent by US Mail or e-mail, must be received or will not be counted. The date should be set far enough out to ensure sufficient votes. For a written ballot vote to count, enough votes must be cast to equal or exceed the quorum required at a meeting.


FYI, the Governor’s Executive Order makes clear that the calling and holding of a virtual membership meeting is in the sole discretion of the Board. That is, members can’t “demand” a special virtual membership meeting against the Board’s wishes.

If properly noticed and held, a virtual meeting along with a written ballot vote will both adopt the actions taken AND count as holding the annual or special meeting. How long will this emergency process for virtual membership meetings and voting be available? As of right now, through August 31. After that, who knows? Keep in mind, though, that the “written ballot” method of making decisions is a North Carolina statute that existed before the current crisis. Even without an Executive Order, there may be nothing to prevent your association from holding a virtual gathering/“town hall” to discuss issues, and then to vote by written ballot. Decisions will have been made, there just won’t have been a “meeting” for purposes of holding any required annual meeting.

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An Update from the CAI-NC Board of Directors

Posted By Cynthia Jones, Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A quick update from CAI-NC Board of Directors member Cynthia Jones (Sellers, Ayers, Dortch & Lyons PA). 



Tags:  cai-nc  cai-nc board  cai-nc minute  community association management  community associations institute 

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Soil is ALIVE... and it's Hungry!

Posted By Basil Camu, Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Updated: Thursday, June 18, 2020

Did you know that soil is alive?

That’s right – the healthy soil we find on the forest floor and in well-tended gardens is actually a living, breathing, eating organism.
Before you picture a giant soil monster living underground, let’s take a closer look at what is right under your feet.

Why do we talk about soil so often if our goal is to care for trees?

Just like humans, healthy trees need a wide variety of nutrients to thrive. Since we can’t just give trees a hearty salad or gummy vitamins, where do these nutrients come from? They come from rotting stuff like leaves or compost or wood chips that are the foundation of healthy soil.


So what is healthy soil? 
Let’s look at the basics:

  • Healthy soil starts with material like leaves or compost or wood chips.
  • This material rots and is broken down into food for microscopic creatures.
  • Those tiny creatures are food for larger creatues, such as earthworms.
  • Each of these interactions unlock nutrients for the tree. For example, after earthworms eat, they leave waste behind, called worm castings. Worm castings are full of amazing nutrients that can be easily absorbed by tree roots.

When this process is complete, tree roots can access the nutrients found in leaves, compost, or wood chips. But this only works if your soil includes all of the components needed to break down the whole material.


This is why it is so important to feed your soil.

Without all the rotting stuff and the tiny little creatures working together, your tree doesn’t get the necessary nutrients.


If you want to think about this process another way, think about your favorite meal. Then think about how inedible it would be if it were just the raw ingredients. Just like soil, we need to have a specific list of ingredients, processed in a certain way for food to be edible.

For example, let’s swap out rich, healthy soil with a rich, healthy lasagna. Close your eyes and imagine a homemade veggie lasagna hot out of the oven complete with gooey cheese and buttery pasta. That lasagna is delicious, healthy, and full of nutrients.

What would it be like if that soil -- I mean -- lasagna, was unprocessed? Now close your eyes and imagine the raw ingredients that go into lasagna. A plate piled with stalks of wheat, an unripe tomato, and a raw egg is not edible. We can only get nutrients out of the cooked lasagna in the same way that trees can only get nutrients out of healthy soil.

Trees are only as healthy as their soil. If you don’t feed the soil, your trees won’t be healthy. Healthy soil, happy trees.

Tags:  cai-nc  cai-nc minute  community association management  community associations  community managers 

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Budgeting for Capital Repairs

Posted By Kevin Giles, Giles Flythe Engineers, Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Updated: Thursday, June 4, 2020

Is your association considering some capital repairs and needs guidance for planning? Kevin Giles (Giles Flythe Engineers) talks you through it in today's CAI-NC Minute.


Kevin Giles - CAI-Minute Giles Flythe Engineers from Amy Morrison on Vimeo.

Tags:  cai-nc  cai-nc minute  capital repairs  community association management  community associations  community associations institute  community managers  condominium associations  hoa  homeowners associations  reserve studies 

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Using Technology to ACTUALLY Make Your Life Easier

Posted By Tyler Graybeal, Co-Owner Southern Outdoor Restoration, Wednesday, April 8, 2020
The world of technology and software is changing every day.  The volume of options and the rate of change can be overwhelming.  
At SOR, we're not just pressure washers.  We're also nerds.  Nerds who love efficiency, consistency, and happy community managers.
Our team pressure washed over 16,000 townhome units last year and we'd like to share with you two pieces of the technology/software used to deliver smooth projects that you can easily apply to other services and projects in your communities.
For everyone that has worked with us, you know that we LOVE and rely heavily on Google Maps.
1) Use Google Maps when on the Google Chrome browser (other browser options are not optimized to run the mapping software).
2) Use Google StreetView, the 3D options, and the 360 rotation tools 
3) Build your own maps by going to "Google Maps > Menu > Your Places > Maps > Create a Map."  Then use the "Share" feature for internal and external use.
- Creating a scope map for your vendors (such as a map of the trees that need pruning) to ensure apples-to-apples bids
- Checking which units might need gutter cleaning more often based on tree lines
- Confirming unit counts
- Creating a color-coded schedule map for the annual termite inspection
- Showing new residents where amenities such as playground and walking trails/bridges are
- Creating paint phases in a platform that everyone can access (manager, board, residents, current vendor, future vendor)

Digital communication is great.  It can be easily searched, copied/pasted, compiled, analyzed, and reported on.

1) Find a platform that has a spreadsheet export or integration option.  Having data is very different from using data.  Google Forms, Wufoo, and TypeForm are all great options here.
2) Use specific "Field Types" such as address, phone number, count, multiple choice, and checkboxes whenever possible.  Doing so will allow you to more easily use the data from your submissions.
3) Be consistent with your method of delivery.  Whether it's email, TownSq, Nabor, a Community Website through CINC, or texting, make sure your residents are used to getting info from you the same way every time.  
- Highest and best use here is to get a Resident Question/Comment form built for every large project and have it routed to the vendor!  You are already going to forward the resident email you get to the vendor and say "See below.  Please advise."  Save everyone the extra time and headache.  Trust good vendors to handle the communication promptly and professionally.
- Board Member nominations
- ARC Requests
- Anything where you are sending a paper form that you have to transcribe into a different system later!
In the world where Amazon and Uber are essentially public utilities, there is a growing expectation for real-time transparency during the fulfillment of any project or service.  The innovation work has already been done by the software developers in Silicon Valley.  The burden of implementation is on us.
"The best way to predict the future is to create it."
- Peter Drucker 

Tags:  cai-nc  cai-nc minute  comm  community association management 

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