DO YOU KNOW WHO has access to your funds and what steps to take to protect your assets? Over the last couple of years, we have seen fraud and the attempt at fraud nearly double. Following are tips on how to be a good steward of association funds and fulfill your fiduciary duty.
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BY NOW IT’S NO SECRET that most associations within Washington State are required to do annual reserve study updates, with a site visit performed by a reserve study professional every 3rd year. But did you know the ways that the site visit helps make your reserve study that much more useful? You might be surprised!
THERE ARE FOUR RULES OF RESERVES that associations should know. Our company has pioneered foundational concepts & principles and provided extensive educational materials to the industry for over 35 years, but all can be distilled down to the rules below as the heart of planning for reserve projects at your association. Fundamental education is key to all of our success, as board members and professionals come and go over time.
THE CONSUMER PRICE INDEX IS at a 40-year high of ~ 7% as of this writing. As we all know, that’s a big deal. Our data and research show inflation of the goods and services relating to the typical association reserve components (roof, paint, siding, windows, decks..) to have been compounding ~25% annually since 2020 – that’s a Really Big Deal.
You may have been noticing an increase in the frequency of plumbing system replacement, at very high costs. Now that a significant portion of the housing stock we serve within Washington Community Associations has reached or is near the 50-year mark of life, expect that trend to continue. But what do you plan for in terms of timing, and cost? Why isn’t total replacement typically in your reserve study?
CASH! Everyone likes cash! Associations are no different. Without enough cash, association management and community property can become neglected, often leading to future major repairs requiring loans and special assessments. Understanding what activities have the most impact on cash balances is vital to the future success of an association’s operations.
What is a Community Association’s strongest hedge against inflation? A strong reserve fund! As of the end of April, 2021, increases in the pricing of lumber, asphalt binder , and other materials have risen well into the double digits when compared to the previous year. Costs for the “Big 9” projects (painting, roofing, asphalt, siding, windows, decks, plumbing, elevators, HVAC) are simply wild and unpredictable right now.
Last month, Jeremy Newman of Newman CPA had an excellent article on accounting for special assessments. This blog will discuss other important considerations should an association consider financing its remediation project.
Year after year, many associations struggle with the same concern: staying on budget. While there are certainly times where unforeseen expenses arise that send your budget into a tail spin no matter how proactive you were, there are a few steps your association can take to help your budget stay in the black by the end of the year.
A reserve study is a budget and disclosure document, supplementing operating & maintenance budgets for the large expenses that don’t occur each year. In this busy world, focusing on a handful of key items in your reserve study may keep you out of costly trouble.