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August 22, 2017
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Molly Blake

Ways to Get Started Budget Planning

It's here. The most wonderful time of the year. Oh, wait. It's just budget season. Fear not. There are tools you can use to make this process less painful. Break out the calculator and get to it. Start with a plan. And who better to ask than your residents. Use the voting booth function and get a handle on what people want in the coming year. Ask open ended questions so residents feel empowered to share ideas and thoughts about how to better their community. Then consider all the expenses associated with the possible suggestions and factor those into operating expenses.

Review the books for the HOA going back three to five years. Check for trends such as landscaping projects that have historically popped up in the fall or post-rainy season painting needs. Pay close attention to any unforeseen expenses that materialized. These costs need to be factored into the operating budget as well. Check with utility and service providers (pool cleaners, landscapers, etc.) and find out if their fees are changing. If they are, then put out a call for new contract services bids. While you're at it, review their performance and make sure your community is benefiting from the services they've pledged to deliver. Check the reserve fund amount. The fund should be robust enough so you can cover big costs that aren't budgeted. Review the amount of insurance coverage you need and have, too. 

Share the proposed budget with your board members and anyone else who needs to weigh in on the financials. Property Managers can use global reporting to share finances, and get interactive feedback from their designated managers. 

Consider security going forward. Are break ins or property crimes an issue? Is your neighborhood turning into the Autobahn? Maintain the highest level of security with access control and visitor management software.

Fiduciary responsibility is no joke. As a property manager or HOA manager, you've taken on great responsibility. Being 100% transparent is going to minimize resistance from residents and stakeholders and ultimately make your community more informed, engaged, and safe.

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