Community Living:

 

 

Community Living—home owner communities and condominiums—are one of the fastest growing types of living arrangements in the United States. There are several hundred thousand different communities across the country with tens of millions of people who’ve chosen this way of life. Is there any problem with that?

Community living offers people the opportunity to increase their standard of living by sharing amenities in common with their neighbors like sports and recreation facilities, landscape improvements, clubhouses, as well as shared expenses like grounds maintenance, snow removal, etc. Is there any problem with that?

For most people there’s no problem whatsoever. According to First Community Management in Chicago, most owners are happy living in an association Click for the article.  Community living has been a great improvement in their lifestyle and they wouldn’t ever go back to single home ownership. But, not everyone is cut out for shared living space.

Individualism is a long established, deeply entrenched part of American culture. Our homes are our castles, aren’t they; and, we can do whatever we like with them, right?

No—not if you live in a community. A community is more of a tribe with norms of behavior which are enforced by its members. Wise Management of Tampa says this about rule enforcement in an association  Click for the article . If you don’t want to fit in, you’d be happier living somewhere else. Let me put it differently. In a community, you put your neighbors desires above your own. If some behavior bothers your neighbors, you don’t do it.

If you are willing to fit in, prioritize your own personal desires to fit in with everyone else’s, then community living is a great choice for you. If you want to do things your own way, and believe you have a right to do that, you should by a house by yourself.

Is that American or un-American? Does it really matter after all? It’s a big country and there’s a place for everyone—it’s just that shared communities aren’t the best place for everyone.

Professional vs. Amateur Community Management

Professional vs. Amateur Community Management

 

Communities are self-governed once the initial developer has transitioned out. Is that a good thing? It’s certainly a good thing that the people who live in the community and have the financial responsibility to maintain it, get to make the decisions about how it is governed. On the other hand, do the owners really know what they’re doing? The Chicago Tribune weighed in on this topic Click for Article

Even the smallest community is a multi-million dollar real estate asset. Larger communities easily can be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. How many owners who live in these communities really have direct experience managing a multi-million dollar real estate business? Sure, many owners are educated, and have decades of professional or business experience, but does that mean their expertise translates to community management? Maybe, but maybe not.

Just because you are a lawyer, doctor, engineer, accountant, business owner doesn’t mean you have the skills or experience to manage a real estate asset. The best board members understand that it is not their job to be real estate manager “know it alls.” It’s their job to hire and manage the best professional “know it alls.”

Every community, certainly those of moderate to large size, require legal, accounting, engineering, and especially community management advice from professionals who specialize in this work. Community law has its own peculiarities, as does community accounting. The physical condition of community assets requires engineering expertise to assess potential problems, estimate useful lives, and replacement costs. Every professional who specializes in community work has valuable experience with contractors, sub-contractors, and other resources which no group of well intentioned amateurs can match. Here is a list

The issue isn’t one or the other—professional vs. amateur management. The smart move is to “eat your cake and have it too.” Owner board members have great value to bring to their community, but not by pretending to expertise they don’t have. Smart communities will take advantage of the many professional resources available to them to get the best advice for governing themselves. Here is a list of things to consider for owners thinking of managing their own neighborhood by Community Association Management in North Carolina Click for article