Sunday, July 06, 2008

Condo Association Management: Landscaping

Our Ravenswood condo building association is small... 6 units. But we can not take managing the association lightly. I'm the President, but in reality the Treasurer and other good owners pull the strings... I'm just a figure head. Jill and I did throw a pretty good party for our turn-over meeting, which, probably clinched the presidency for me. Back to the subject...

We decided to landscape our front walk-way this season. Many factors came into play. Would we plant the walkway ourselves? What would we place there? Does anyone have a green thumb….and would that person take care of the finished product? How much would we spend? Seriously, a little decison like this can get out of hand in some associations. I've seen it.

So, we called a meeting in the winter to discuss upcoming spring improvements including the proposed landscape project. We decided that none of us had a particular expertise in landscaping required for the scope and scale of the project desired. We also decided we had a healthy budget for a two year old association and could contract out the work. We would pay half from reserves and half with a small special assessment. This was made possible by adequately funding the association with our monthly assessments. We set a budget that would allow a $3,000 a year surplus.

We hired a landscape architect (friend of a unit owner) to recommend a plan. Then, we received several recommendations for contractors to do the work. Pictured is the result.

Our Secretary on the Condo Board pretty much took responsibility of the project and we are all grateful of the much improved walk-way. But the short summary above is just one example that shows, even in a small condo building in Ravenswood, a lot of factors go into the management and care of maintaining and improving our homes and investments.
We have an “active” self managed condo association that communicates often and delegates responsibility well. I’ve seen first hand how tough it can be to sell units in problem buildings… we would rather bite the bullet and take care of our housekeeping as needed. And we have avoided the pitfalls of a small building where one individual gets stuck doing everything.

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