Lifestyle Blog

Duane McPherson, CMCA, PCAM®

Over 30 years experience in property and community association management Professional Community Association Manager through the Community Association Institute (CAI) Former GM/CEO of a large-scale association: mixed-use commercial, residential and recreational Contributor to HOALeader.com National industry experience

Recent Posts

Six DIY Projects to Scale Up Your Curb Appeal This Spring

Posted by Duane McPherson, CMCA, PCAM® on May 12, 2021 7:59:00 AM

Spring is here, which means more time outside, but it also means looking at what the fall and winter did to the outside of your home. Whether you are planning on selling or love the look of a beautifully decorated outdoor space, there are many ways you can boost your curb appeal. Most projects are easy and can be done in a day with a relatively small budget. Before you get started with one of these small projects that will make a big impact, check with your community association to ensure that these changes are in the community guidelines. 

Tighten the Edge

Edging is one of the easiest ways to give your curb appeal a facelift in a day. Tightening the edging around your landscaping gives a crisp, clear definition between the yard and the house's landscaping, which gives a clean look. There are various edging materials available at your local home improvement store, so if you feel like you need something new, it is easy to switch up the materials and give your landscaping a fresh new look. 

Facade Facelift

DaVinci suggests giving your home a makeover with decorative siding and moldings that accentuate the home's period. If that doesn't sound appealing, there are other ways you can give your facade a facelift, like adding a fresh coat of paint or replacing worn-out shutters with something new. While bigger projects may require professionals — and will definitely need HOA approval — smaller projects like the shutters are a great introductory DIY project. 

Give Your Mailbox Love

Something that most homeowners wouldn't think of is to give their mailbox a touch-up. Sometimes a fresh coat of paint or a new stand will make a world of difference on the part of our home that is often seen as utilitarian and not decorative. Check the HOA guidelines to see what types of mailboxes are permitted; it's possible that you can replace your current box with something that has a bit more flair. 

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Topics: HOA | Condo Planning and Projects, HOA | Condo Amenity and Common Areas, HOA | Condo Maintenance

3 Considerations When Using Group Text for Your Community Association

Posted by Duane McPherson, CMCA, PCAM® on Jan 27, 2021 9:45:00 AM

Group or Mass Texting features have existed for a while, but the service hasn't always been popular. Many people recall a 2018 news story about residents in Hawaii getting a false Emergency Alert Text that showed just how integral this service is but also how important it is to get it right.

There are plenty of single-service providers out there who offer a group text platform, but if you're interested in using this technology for your community, talk to your community manager to see if your community management software offers texting capabilities. It's also important to discuss any state and local laws that may affect how group texting can be used for your association.

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Topics: HOA | Condo Planning and Projects, HOA | Condo Board Responsibilities and Education, HOA | Condo Communication

The Value of High Membership Dues in a Luxury Condominium

Posted by Duane McPherson, CMCA, PCAM® on Jan 13, 2021 9:30:00 AM

If you're in the market to purchase a luxury condominium and are wondering whether the high membership fees associated with ownership are actually worth it, we're here to tell you... well that depends on what you value as a homeowner. We wish it were more concise but the truth is that every owner has to decide for themselves if the investment in their lifestyle is worth the value presented by the community. Some luxury communities may have more moderate dues and fees, while other community fees may run in the thousands per month.

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Topics: HOA | Condo Amenity and Common Areas

The Right Way to Raise Assessments

Posted by Duane McPherson, CMCA, PCAM® on Dec 16, 2020 8:45:00 AM

The cost of living continues to skyrocket across the World. In this case, the financial burden incurred in operations across various sectors remains a thorny issue. Your HOA is no exception. The association has to maintain a delicate balancing act between increasing assessments and keeping the fee to a nominal amount that homeowners are comfortable with but will pay the bills.

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Topics: HOA | Condo Management Services, HOA | Condo Board Responsibilities and Education

Benefits and Setbacks of Hiring A Security Service for Your Community Association

Posted by Duane McPherson, CMCA, PCAM® on Oct 21, 2020 8:16:00 AM

Security is a priority for individuals living in a community. For that reason, community associations or HOAs adopt various approaches when it comes to securing their properties, including the use of intercom systems and video surveillance. Other community associations opt to hire security personnel. The process of hiring security staff is no mean task.

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Topics: HOA | Condo Board Responsibilities and Education, HOA | Condo Emergency and Safety

5 Tips: Service Animal Classifications and HOA Pet Restriction Enforcement

Posted by Duane McPherson, CMCA, PCAM® on Oct 7, 2020 7:58:00 AM

An HOA Board has the duty to adopt rules known as covenants and restrictions. Those restrictions often include restrictions on HOA members owning pets.  As an HOA Board member, you may wonder what is permissible especially with regard to service animal classifications and HOA Pet Restriction Enforcement.  The following paragraphs explain what the classifications are and how the Board can fit those classifications into your HOA's pet restriction enforcement rule.

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Topics: HOA | Condo Board Responsibilities and Education, HOA | Condo Rules & Regulations and Enforcement

Is Your Community Prepared for Snowbird Season?

Posted by Duane McPherson, CMCA, PCAM® on Sep 9, 2020 8:16:00 AM

It's a classic, long understood joke... When the weather gets cooler many northern residents "fly south" for the winter. Some people call them Snowbirds, which is a term colloquially used to refer to those who spend the chilly months in temperate climates like those of California or Florida. The impact of these travelling residents can be difficult to measure but we know that they can cause complications for some HOA or COA communities so it's important to be prepared in the event that your community experiences a "Snowbird Season."

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Topics: HOA | Condo Communication, HOA | Condo Homeowner Responsibilities & Education, HOA | Condo Seasonal and Holiday

Are Political Rallies and Signs Legal in Your Community Association?

Posted by Duane McPherson, CMCA, PCAM® on Aug 19, 2020 8:41:00 AM

During an election year, it's not unusual for community associations to grapple with issues related to the legality of displaying political signs. Yet, these are unusual times. The nation is experiencing a time of increased interest in political activism. Not long ago a video of dueling protesters at a political rally in a Florida community association went viral and made national news. That video made many homeowners and boards aware of the necessity of knowing what political activities are legal in their community association.

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Topics: HOA | Condo Board Responsibilities and Education, HOA | Condo Homeowner Responsibilities & Education, HOA | Condo Rules & Regulations and Enforcement

7 Ways of Helping Aging Owners in Your Community Association

Posted by Duane McPherson, CMCA, PCAM® on Aug 5, 2020 7:49:00 AM

Most times people above the age of 65 usually leave their homes and move into assisted living facilities. However, that trend is slowing down and more and more elderly people choose to age while still in their homes. This poses a new challenge to homeowners and condo associations everywhere. As boards are partially responsible for ensuring that residents are satisfied with their community, including considerations for elderly residents is important to a happy community. Especially in the wake of this pandemic, creating a conducive environment is key to protecting such vulnerable communities.

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Topics: HOA | Condo Community Events and Programs

6 HOA Board Member Best Practices

Posted by Duane McPherson, CMCA, PCAM® on Jul 29, 2020 8:06:00 AM

As the elected members tasked with making decisions that affect the whole community and all owners, it is imperative that every HOA board is fully conversant with the fundamental rules that facilitate effective leadership. Typically, a board is responsible for solving disagreements, managing finances, and generally enforcing rules that seek to make the community a better place. However, without the knowledge of HOA best practices, achieving excellent results can be difficult. Here we discuss some of the best practices that board members should always adhere to.

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Topics: HOA | Condo Board Responsibilities and Education

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