Get ready for a new management platform.
At the PLEA Annual Meeting held in April of this year, we announced that we, as a Board of Directors, were having trouble keeping up with delinquent homeowners’ dues, lien filings, third party status requests, and maintenance contractor management of our community due to full-time work schedules and familial obligations of our volunteer board members, along with fewer fellow residents being able to swiftly and reliably assist in the management of our association’s needs. For instance, realtors and mortgagors need community information and status letters quickly, residents want quick answers on approvals of architectural changes, and contractors need to be engaged quickly for repairs of mailboxes and maintenance of our landscaped islands. These items expect more rapid attention in this digital age, and we volunteers cannot keep up.
As we mentioned at the 2019 Annual Meeting, starting in late 2018, we starting entering dialogues with four different management companies who provide help for HOAs like ours in the Detroit area. It was, at first, an exploratory measure to see what could be handled better and at what cost to our association. This was also done in conjunction with speaking with other homeowners in neighboring communities who utilize management companies themselves. We were pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction of those of you who attended the 2019 Annual Meeting regarding the prospect of bringing on a management company, despite the added cost.
Following this meeting, we continued to explore possibilities and were able to whittle the number down to one company that instilled a strong confidence in us current board members as a reliable and reputable HOA management company. From there, we were able to carefully create a reduced scope of work for what that company would do for our community, allowing us to cut the cost to one-half of the original quote. The Board of Directors carefully weighed the options before us and voted unanimously (7-0) to pass a motion to hire said management company to handle a variety of the functions that the association has been unable to handle on its own, including financial management, enforcement activities, and fielding maintenance requests.
Owners will soon receive via regular mail an introduction letter from Associa Kramer-Triad Management Group formally announcing their management services that will commence on November 1, 2019. With Associa Kramer-Triad’s management comes many other added features, such as access to a vetted group of contractors that can save the association money, an web/mobile application interface that allows owners/tenants like yourselves to ask and have questions answered, confidently report and have acted-upon behavior not approved by the township or association, and the ability to see your current dues balance in real time and pay it electronically.
It is very important to note that just because we have this management company under our employ that we DO NOT lose control as owners and residents. Our Board of Directors still calls the shots. The management company is there to provide options to our association, but the decisions are still all ours. The Board of Directors will lead Associa Kramer-Triad in their efforts and make adjustments where necessary.
As noted, there is a cost associated with having help such as this. From our discussions, that ranged anywhere from $55 to $100 per home per year; however, we were able to get the management company that we wanted at the scope that we needed at a much lower $30 per home per year. Because we preemptively raised the dues in 2018 by $20 per household and because we expect cost savings to come from suggestions on alternate contractors and options, we do not feel that the increase will be substantial. We are working on the budget and, in the meantime, we have extra savings that will fund the $700/month fee through the remainder of our fiscal year (July 1st to June 30th). We will likely present a modest increase to our dues structure at our to-be-scheduled Annual Meeting to take place in April 2020.
We hope that you discover this change to be well worth the effort. There are many homeowners associations in our area that utilize Associa Kramer-Triad and are very pleased that they do so. The added communication channels through their proprietary application, TownSq, will allow for much better communication, sharing of contact information and resources among neighbors, and direct access to our community managers (think NextDoor, but just for our neighborhood). Furthermore, Associa Kramer-Triad brings with it its own maintenance division and upgrade crew (Associa On-Call, or AOC) that can help individual homeowners like you with repairs and renovations to you own homes via separate agreement and payment. And there’s more — our association with Associa Kramer-Triad brings our members discounts from companies like Home Depot, Lowes, Sherwin-Williams Paints, Dell, Flowers.com, among more. You can learn more about these programs through their website at www.associaadvantage.com.
Our new management company representative will be at our 2020 Annual Meeting this coming spring for everyone to meet.
We hope that you share our excitement in bringing professional management to the Pine Lake Estates Association!
Your Board of Directors
Pine Lake Estates Association