Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Community Safety While School is Out for the Summer

The warm weather and longer daylight hours are with us now. For the children in your community that means sleeping in late and the freedom to play outside from sun up to sun down (or at least until mom or dad calls them back inside).

While homeowners associations want families to enjoy their communities, they also want everyone to stay safe. There are so many ways your HOA board can help members enjoy a happy, healthy and safe summer with school being out.

Summer is a great time for kids to enjoy different indoor and outdoor activities in an HOA community. Whether they are young children or teens, learn ways to keep your kids safe and healthy while they enjoy the summer fun.

Association Management Group would like to offer residents and HOA boards these 5 tips to keep summertime safe and stress-free for you, your family and your HOA.

1.  Involve and Educate Children in Safety Measures

Make sure your children are educated and on board with their safety. Children may be playing in the community park, swimming at the community pool or riding their bikes around the neighborhood during the summer off school season. Helping kids understand and become involved in their own safety is important and gives them a sense of responsibility.  Educate kids about what types of accidents or injuries could occur during the summer activities and safety measures to help avoid them. Educate children on what to do if an injury does occur. Kids need to know what actions to take—such as alerting an adult or, having proper contact numbers or in the case of a true emergency, calling 911.

HOA TIP: Your board may want to offer a spring pre-summer family safety class at the clubhouse or at a home and get parents and kids onboard with what to expect. Your HOA may want to set up a committee to help with this. It's a great way to get adult residents involved in the community.

2.  Pool Safety

The pool is a wonderful form of exercise and fun for people of all ages, and it is probably one of the most dangerous forms of enjoyment if not properly managed. In an HOA community pool, always have an adult life guard or pool monitor present during open pool hours. No community should have a pool without this because of the potential for incident and liability.

Make sure children know how to swim or make sure they are wearing the proper life jacket for their size and weight. Help prevent water related illnesses caused by germs and chemicals found in the water. Keep the pee and other body elimination bacterial causing things out of the water. The community pool should have bathrooms. Make sure kids take bathroom breaks and if toddlers or infants are in the pool, check diapers frequently and change them regularly.

Community Associations should make sure they provide pool maintenance to keep pools clean and chemicals monitored for the correct levels. The pool decks should also be cleaned and free from algae that can cause slip and fall accidents.

Parents should have a reliable sitter at home with children if they work during the day and the sitter should be of adult age (not a pre-teen) responsible and know CPR. Whether parent or sitter never leave children alone in or near the pool or spa, even for a moment; close supervision by a responsible adult is the best way to prevent drowning in children.

HOA TIP: Your HOA board may want to consider offering a spring or pre-summer pool safety class at the community pool before summer arrives. Contact a local high school or college swim club, athletic club, aquatic club or formal swim instructor to come to your community pool. You can offer this class for free or offer swim safety class for parents who may want to pay for them.

3.  Bicycle Riding Safety

Every kid loves to be mobile and speed around the streets of their community on their bike. Bicycle safety is often overlooked and minimized. There are a few things that can help reduce bicycle injuries during the summer when this activity is at its peak. Parents make sure your child has the proper bike riding gear such as a properly-fitted helmet, closed toe shoes or sneakers and most of all a little sunscreen if they are outdoors wearing shorts, short sleeve shirts or swim suits. 

Bicycle riding is best done in the day, but when a family is riding together at dusk, make sure each bike has reflectors that can be seen by passing cars.  Be on the lookout for hazards such as potholes, broken glass, sidewalk cracks, gravel, puddles, leaves, and dogs. All these hazards can cause a crash. It is a good idea to not to ride alone. Ride with other kids or parents. Adult residents should also be vigilant and be on the lookout for kids on bicycles during the summer months. This is the best way to prevent head injuries and death.

HOA TIP: Your HOA board may want to consider asking the local police department to come on a Saturday and conduct a bicycle safety class and a bicycle safety check. Kids love when the police visit and the local police department has a community service officer for such programs.

3.  Safety Tips in Traffic

Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Then remind them to continue looking until safely across. Teach kids to put phones, headphones and devices down when crossing the street. It is particularly important to reinforce this message with teenagers. It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.

Adult or teen driving residents should take extra precaution with children out in full-force during the warm days and evenings. Distracted kids dash out into the street chasing after a run-away baseball or Frisbee, or may be skateboarding on the streets.

Slow down when driving through the community, be aware of your surroundings, and be prepared to make sudden stops if a child runs out into the road. Parents should remind kids that they have a responsibility to be aware of oncoming cars as well, and to be extra careful when they are on the street.

HOA TIP: Make sure your streets are well lit at dusk or evening. Make sure "Caution: Children At Play",  "Watch Out For Children" and speed limit signs are properly posted and visible.

4.  Plan Community Summer Fun

It is a fact that well organized and managed events are always safer. Organized events keep kids in one place, busy and they are less likely to get involved in mischief.  Kids are always safer when doing activities with a group or with the whole family.  Playing family outdoor games in an HOA community can be fun for the whole community. Hosting an afternoon event for kids to run off their energy is a great idea. Your HOA committee can come up with some clever ideas such as picnics, cookouts fun games such as hide and seek, hopscotch and races.  You can hire children's entertainment inexpensively such as; clowns, face painting etc.. Getting children outdoors and away from electronics will also be good for their health, giving them needed exercise.

HOA TIP: Your committee may want to contact the local YMCA and pay for a bus or YMCA workers to come and plan activities for children or offer parent the opportunity to pay the Y to take their kids by bus on day trips and activities.

AMG would like to provide your HOA board and parents with this valuable resource from The Center For Disease Control And Prevention: Keep Kids Safe In The Summer: https://www.cdc.gov/features/KidsSafety/

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Five Important Outdoor Spring Maintenance Tasks

Nothing like getting outside after a long winter. It’s so invigorating, even household chores are refreshing. So while you’re reveling in clean spring air, get after these simple maintenance jobs that fend off potential moisture problems, prevent costly repairs, and pave the way for a trouble-free summer.

Clean Out Gutters and Downspouts

It is really important to make sure gutters and downspouts remain bonded to the home. Every spring it is necessary to check for loose downspouts and sagging gutters.

Inspect Your Roof

It’s always a good idea to inspect your roof annually for wear and damage. Winters are often hard on roofs. Check to make sure that shingles are all in good condition. Look for areas where moisture may have crept in. Be on the lookout for algae, fungi and mold, all of which can cause serious damage if not removed. Certain types of mold also cause health problems. Be especially vigilant for wear near your pipes.

Clean Your Siding

Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting.

Inspect Your Windows

Leakage around windows will admit warm summer air and let cooled indoor air escape, so be sure to check that any caulking and weather stripping you have in place has remained intact. “A tight seal is the first line of defense against air and water,” says Marty Davis, marketing manager, Simonton Windows, Columbus, OH. If you experienced condensation inside the glass on double- or triple-glazed windows during the winter months, the weather seal has been compromised, and either the glass or the window will need to be replaced.

Inspect Driveways and Paths

Freezing and thawing is rough on concrete, asphalt and other hardscaping materials. Take a walk around your property to look for damage to walkways, paths and driveways, and schedule repairs as needed. Asphalt can often be patched, but damaged concrete may need to be replaced entirely.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Don’t Forget Your Outdoor Patio When It Comes To Homeowners Insurance

While the majority of people do realize the importance of having contents insurance to safeguard their possessions from theft and other disasters, very often the contents of the outdoor patio are sometimes forgotten and, if you have expensive patio furniture or such like, then this could be a huge mistake.

In a recent study it was found that  we spend millions on garden furniture, plants and equipment to enjoy what little summer we have. With theft of garden and patio furniture on the increase it is essential that you make sure if you are covered for these in your home insurance policy.

Another fact that came to light was the fact that while people protected their homes with security features very few people gave much thought about enhancing the security in the garden or patio. This has left them wide open to the rising figures of garden and patio thefts which are thought to be around the 1.4 million mark.

However there are many simple ways that you can help to protect your home and garden. One way is to make sure that you get into the habit of insuring  that you put all expensive garden equipment in a locked shed. One of the best precautions that you can take when it comes to securing your garden is to make sure there is plenty of good protection to stop thieves from even getting close; a simple sturdy fence is all that is needed to keep prying eyes out.

However, even with the best of intentions and added security, thieves can still strike and invariably do, so it is essential that you make sure that your current policy covers the extras such as furniture, garden equipment and even such things as bicycles if they are stored outside.

Very often such things will need to have a separate policy in order to cover them; while some policies will have this clearly outlined, more often than not it is in the small print.

When shopping for insurance for your home, the quickest and easiest way to do so is to use a specialist broker, not only can you find excellent advice but you can also get the cheapest premiums. If the cover of the policy doesn’t extend to cover your garden equipment then some companies will give you huge savings if you take extra cover at the same time as your home contents insurance.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Ideas For Spring Community Gatherings

Spring community gatherings can bring in front a lot of excitement and fun, but at the same time, they can also be time-consuming. This does bring in the question, though, how can you bring the community together and how can the HOA create some great community gatherings? Here are some great ideas to keep in mind!
Community dog walk
If your neighborhood is full of dog owners, it can be a very good idea to opt for this type of event. It’s a pleasant experience for sure, and it will impress you with the great results that it can deliver. Everyone will be able to enjoy the time off, not to mention that all dogs can have tons of fun. So, it can be a great bonding experience for everyone.
Spring themed porch flags
You can organize workshops that will help create and install porch flags. This can be a nice way to showcase the strength of your community. If possible, you can also add the neighborhood name or logo on these flags. It’s an exciting and delightful experience that you can try out!
You can organize a local musical talent event that consists of performers which are assigned to different porches. You can invite the local talent to walk around the neighborhood and showcase their musical talent to the entire community.
Gardening contests
These contests are always fun because they encourage residents to increase the curb appeal of their home. Each resident has 1-2 days to prepare their garden, and then a jury selected by the HOA will select the winner. It’s a nice initiative and one that perfectly matches spring and its unique appeal.
Cook-offs are amazing; the idea is to pick a type of meal that anyone will be able to enjoy. Some opt for chili cook-offs, while other people want something simpler. No matter what you pick to cook, make sure that, each contestant has fair chances. Plus, each person that attends this event has to be from your community.
Evening bonfires are great since they allow the community to share stories and have fun. It’s by far one of the best options that you can focus on if you want to connect with people in your neighborhood and find out more about them.
Outdoor movie night
You don’t need that much for this activity, just chairs, a computer, projector and lots of time. The result is magical, and it can be a delightful way for the community to spend time together. It’s certainly worth a shot!
As you can see, there are many great activities that you can focus on during the spring community gatherings. If you want to make community gatherings stand out, you should consider giving them a shot; you will not regret it. Plus, these are one of a kind activities that everyone can join, so they can quickly bring joy, happiness, and fun to everyone. It’s a good idea to put all these ideas into effect, as they can easily pay off.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Volunteering in a Homeowners Association

If you care about the value of your house, you need to take good care of it regularly and properly. Making some improvements to the house or tackle any necessary repair quickly will make your house a decent place to live in. In addition to that, it is advised that you take part in the association dedicated to maintaining the value of your neighboring buildings or Homeowner's Association. Almost everyone thinks that becoming a Homeowner's Association volunteer would eat up your energy and time. Well, most of them tend to forget that volunteering for their Homeowner's Association can be very rewarding as well. When the Homeowner's Association in your neighborhood has no enough volunteers, it would be hard for them to perform their main functions. In shorts, this association will start to fall apart without enough individuals to volunteer.
Everyone in your neighborhood has their own role in preserving the value of their properties and the best way to do it is to put their names in the Homeowner's Association volunteers. When you get yourself involved in this important association, you can play a bigger role in maintaining the quality of life that you always expect. 

When you live in a certain community, it is very common that some issues has to arise and need to be resolved quickly before causing some conflicts. When you join the Homeowner's Association as a volunteer, it would be a lot easier to bring up the issue and find the best solution together with other homeowners in the neighborhood. Joining this association should be seen as a great way to give back to your community as well.

Living in a busy neighborhood makes us a lot harder to meet our neighbors or make some friends. This is where your Homeowner's Association steps in. The meeting held by the association will be a great opportunity for you to get to know your neighbors. This is a great event for you to grow your social life. More interestingly, volunteering for this association will also improve your personal resume. Little that you know, it can also be beneficial to your efforts to build up your career. The association seems like a good place for you to build up your community volunteer service and leadership capacity. Obviously, there are many other benefits that come from becoming a Homeowner's Association volunteer. Thus, no matter how busy your life is, you should no longer hesitate yourself from taking part in this important association.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Ways HOA Assesments & Dues Benefit The Community

Residents often ask how their assessment dollars benefit their community.  Here are just a few ways assessment funds are used to enhance and maintain a community.

Congratulations on your new home!  You have selected the right home that is perfect for your family. Your new home is part of a homeowners’ association (HOA), so the landscaping and common areas always look beautiful and well-maintained.  It even has great amenities, like a clubhouse and fitness center. Your community association is working hard to provide homeowners with wonderful amenities to enjoy and add to a happy lifestyle.

Here are a few places assessment dollars are spent in the community:

1. Community landscaping and common area upkeep
2. Community walking trails and parks for walking to promote healthy living
3. Inside the clubhouse residents enjoy pool tables, fitness rooms and indoor entertainment
4. Community swimming pools
5. Community golf course
6. Community neighborhood watch, security system and gates
7. Community playgrounds for children
8. Maintenance and repairs to common areas: Equipment, lawns, landscaping, snow removal, water, plumbing and sewage systems, A/C and heating systems, cleaning, painting and upkeep of exteriors, hallway walls, carpeting, clubhouse, etc.
9. Insurance policies
10. Reserve funds for emergencies.

At Association Management Group (AMG), customer satisfaction is our #1 Priority. Our professional community association management company is dedicated to providing superior service and cutting-edge solutions, supporting condominiums and homeowners association (HOA) communities with a broad range of services that can be tailored to individual community needs.