Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The 3 Biggest Deferred Maintenance Mistakes That Condominiums Make

We all know that supplemental fees and increasing condo fees are the last thing owners want to consider, especially when it’s for something that doesn’t typically impact your day-to-day life in your home.  However, preserving your building envelope can be the best proactive investment your association makes…just ask any owner that has paid a special assessment for an annoying leak that turned in to a major building facade job.

Want to get the maximum number of years from your building’s exterior and not lose your wallet or wage war with your fellow neighbors?  You need a maintenance plan that the association must stay devoted to and in addition to that, here are the 3 biggest property maintenance and construction mistakes you should try to avoid:

1) Neglecting your roof until it leaks or endlessly patching to avoid a replacement

property maintenance and construction company roof leak fixAside from being a money pit, a constantly leaking roof can lead to a civil war among affected unit owners and the Board.  Also, what may seem like a minor drip, could be the tip of an iceberg: things like mold and wood rot could be hiding behind painted walls, causing illness to those with sensitivities and also an attractive breeding ground for certain types of insects. What’s more, insurers these days typically do not cover mold and remediation is very costly.

Avoidance will turn in to more money spent than just addressing the issue head-on. A proactive tip is to schedule annual inspections by your roofing vendor.  They will survey the structure, clean out gutters, clear drains, and patch or repair vulnerable areas. They will also inspect and repair copper downspouts and detailing, roof flashing, and other metal finishes that may deteriorate or leak over time. Regular visits from the same vendor will become an excellent resource for planning out the expected life span of your roofing materials.

If you already have a leak and can’t seem to chase it down, a structural engineer will be your next best resource.  They will pinpoint a targeted approach and can also help create a scope of work to ascertain bids from multiple vendors.  That way money isn’t wasted on guesswork and a clear plan can be made.

2) Neglecting your masonry and not making regular annual inspections

Masonry and brownstone deterioration can be major sources of water infiltration in a building.  With New England’s extreme weather conditions, it’s especially important to put forth a little preventative maintenance to avoid any surprises. Each year the freeze and thaw that occurs will break open cracks in deteriorating brownstone and masonry, allowing water to enter your building and cause damage to interior infrastructures.  Often times buildings will go through cycles of chasing elusive leaks year after year, patching and repainting the interiors of units only to find that they have wasted time, money, and patience on a leak that was coming from masonry and has now damaged interior wooden structures.

Most roofers may even note masonry issues on chimneys when they are doing a roof inspection, however it’s best to have a structural study performed every 5-years by an engineering firm.  These envelope studies include a thorough exterior review by a structural engineer that explores each surface of your building.  They will let you know areas of weakness, targeted advice for immediate repairs, and expectations over the coming years.  This tool will allow your association to plan appropriately and fund future projects for re-pointing masonry or performing brownstone patches.

3) Neglecting paint and exterior wood repairs

Boston property management client propertyIn addition to roofs and masonry, the last important area that should always be maintained on a regular cycle is exterior wood and paint. Performing an annual visual inspection each spring on window sills, dormers, siding, and any other painted surface will ensure that wood rot or decay doesn’t go unnoticed.  Rotten sills can contribute to masonry damage, since water will filter down past the sills in to exterior walls and freeze during the winter.  This will cause the cracks and damages noted earlier.

Every Association should build a 5-year painting plan that rotates the annual maintenance and painting of the building’s exterior.  This will ensure that each area is tended to and repaired as necessary, preventing a larger and more formidable project down the road that could require assessments and financing.  The exterior envelope study performed every 5-years can be a good tool for planning your starting point.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

5 Tips For Maintaining A Self-Managed Community

When it comes to routine maintenance, self-managed communities are at a disadvantage. Large Boston property management companies like ours are able to use their size to reduce costs and attract vendors to each individual community, but a self-managed community doesn’t have that kind of leverage. Large management companies also have more resources in place to learn about vendors and minimize risks. To help even the score, self-managed communities should consider the tips below.

Compliance compliant property management companies in Boston MA

One of the most important aspects of self-managing a community involves making sure that the community is abiding by all relevant laws. When it comes to vendors, this includes paying payroll taxes when applicable. In general, each vendor may be considered either an independent contractor or an employee. If the vendor earns more than 50 percent of his income from your association, he may be considered an employee, and you must pay the applicable payroll taxes. Conversely, if the vendor earns less than 50 percent of his income from your association, you can consider him and independent contractor and simply issue a 1099.

Vendor Selection

Shop carefully for your vendors and always remember to choose someone who isn’t involved with the association. For example, agreeing to hire a board member’s uncle to perform maintenance work may be a recipe for disaster, as the vendor may expect special treatment because of his relationship with the association. To ensure that you get the best possible vendors, try to network with other associations and make connections with some of their vendors.


Clear, frequent communication is absolutely essential to the success of your projects. When dealing with vendors, make sure that you clearly explain the project through the use of diagrams and written specifications. You should also make sure that each vendor is providing you with a detailed proposal that includes information about the cost to the association, the type of materials they would use and the amount of time it would take to complete the project. After you choose a vendor and allow him to begin work, continue to communicate with him about the status of the project as it progresses.


Never hire a vendor who doesn’t have sufficient insurance. If something goes wrong during a project, the vendor should have an insurance policy capable of fixing the problem and repairing any damages your property sustained. Before hiring a vendor, ask for proof of insurance. The certificate he provides should show that he possesses automobile insurance, non-owned automobile insurance and general liability coverage. The policy should also name your association as an insured party. For more information, consult your insurance agent.


Finding good vendors can be challenging. After you enter into a relationship with a respectable vendor, take good care of him. Pay all of your bills on time, keep the lines of communication open and treat him with respect at all times. If a vendor completes emergency and routine repairs to your specifications, show your appreciation to that vendor by allowing him a priority bid on your larger project. A vendor who feels a sense of loyalty to your association will be more likely to complete jobs accurately and efficiently, even when you’re in a bind.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Mediate Management Company Boston Superb Five Star Review by Candys H.

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The Crucial Responsibility: Stepping Up To Serve On The Board Of Trustees

As the community’s primary source of guidance and leadership, a condo association’s board of trustees carries a great deal of responsibility. The board must learn how to deal with complaints from residents, enforce the association’s rules, work with third party companies like Boston condominium management  and continuously work to improve the association as a whole. To be effective, the members of this board must be willing to dedicate both their time and energy to the betterment of their community on a daily basis.

Because of its demanding nature, running for a position on the condo association’s board is not to be taken lightly by any resident. However, stepping up to serve the community in this way can also be rewarding. Members of the board are highly involved in the association’s day-to-day activities. Unlike other residents, board members have unique influence over the way the community operates, and they have the power necessary to make a positive difference in their surroundings.

Why Some Residents Won’t (or Shouldn’t) Run for the Board

mediate management companyUnfortunately, many residents avoid running for the condo board even when they believe that they would be good at the job. Participating in board meetings and other activities requires dedication, and few people are willing to give up their free time in favor of extra work. Many residents also avoid the condo board because they are afraid to take on the responsibility that comes with a position of leadership. Furthermore, dealing with complaints from residents can be aggravating, and enforcing association rules has the potential to affect the reputations and social lives of the board members involved.

Perhaps more upsetting is the fact that some residents who do lobby for a position on the board of trustees are doing so for the wrong reasons. For example, the resident who lives beneath a rambunctious neighbor may be tempted to run for the board simply so he can enforce stricter noise regulations. This individual doesn’t care about the good of the community; he is only concerned with his own agenda. Once he has accomplished his goal, he will “coast” until his term is complete. Such an individual is not an asset to any board of trustees.

When Residents Should Run

In spite of the potential drawbacks, residents who do favor the greater good of the community should still consider running for the board of trustees. Without a strong board, maintenance suffers, regulations are ignored and communities lose their cohesiveness over time. Although it may not be the most popular position, someone still has to fill it.

The best board members are those residents who aren’t afraid to appropriately express their opinions and take a stand. Board members should also be ambitious, strongly dedicated to the continuous improvement of the community and unafraid of hard work. Finally, any resident considering running for the condo board should make sure that he or she has the time required to fulfill all of the duties that accompany the position.

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