Imagineers Winter 2013 Newsletter

The 2013 CAI-CT Condominium / HOA Conference & Expo


The CAI-CT 2013 Condominium / HOA Conference & Expo will be held at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville on March 9th. CAI-CT is the state chapter of a national organization which serves to promote the best practices of community association operations for homeowner of condominiums and HOAs. CAI-CT provides educational programs, publications, and networking opportunities for the communities and the businesses that serve them. Each year CAI-CT runs this one-day Conference & Expo that draws over 400 registrants and 80 vendor booths.

I am currently serving as the Chair of the CAI-CT Conference & Expo Committee and wanted to share with our client board members information about this worthwhile event. This year's conference is focused on assisting board members and management professionals to consider ways to help their communities improve their appeal to potential buyers for when, at some point, the economy rebounds. Whether we share the same opinion of when the recovery will occur isn't necessarily important. Every association should be taking steps today to position itself to be a community that buyers will be interested in when it does happen. Equally valuable is having a leg up on competing communities during these rough economic times.

The success of every community is impacted by the quality and availability of service providers. The 80 vendor booth spaces on our Expo floor have been filling up faster this year than ever before. The committee has worked hard to attract a broad variety in the types of services offered by the companies. Board members and management professionals can expand their list of potential service providers while being able to ask questions and learn about new products, trends and approaches to solving problems specific to common interest communities.

Building strong, viable and desirable communities requires a broad approach into each facet of the association's operation. Just like any organization, everything starts at the top with the leadership. Our session on Building a Strong Team will delve into what makes a productive board. Learn ways to realize the diversity of leaders that exists within your association and how this diversity can provide balance and depth to your board. Outside of the diversity that typically comes to mind, help expand your goals to drawing upon the various skills, view points and personalities. Learn how to lead this diverse group to becoming a high functioning team that conducts productive meetings and makes sound decisions.

This year we are drawing from outside our ranks to seek the perspective of the real estate industry to better understand the factors that impact whether a community's units sell and sell for the prices we believe they are worth. Sometimes the truth hurts, but we can't expect our community to be marketable if we are blind to characteristics of our community that are either helping or hindering sales. From curb appeal to rules enforcement to the financial strength of the community, take the insight to evaluate areas where your community could improve or aspects that your community should be emphasizing. The economy isn't the only thing driving sales, gain a greater understanding of the impact that FHA approval and the FHA guidelines have on potential buyers' ability to obtain financing. Conventional loans are impacted as well as your current homeowners' ability to obtain a reverse mortgage. In the end, if your community is one that buyers are drawn to and eager to move to, it more than likely is a community that residents are happy to be a part of.

Diversity carries over into the wide variety of needs that exist for management of communities. A session this year will explore the different variations of self-managed communities. From communities going the distance solely on their own to communities with hired staff or professionals, we will examine the factors that should be considered when selecting the right fit for your community. we will also evaluate the costs that both directly and indirectly impact your budget while ensuring that the needs of your association are met.

A strong defense is a good offense. The financial security of your community is critical to your ability to provide for the current and future obligations. Embezzlement and fraud are not just issues for Wall Street. As board members and management professionals, learn ways to put in place financial best practices that provide checks and balances. Learn risk management techniques while understanding what responsibilities we each have in the oversight of the community's finances. Consider how an independent CPA can assist your community annually in understanding the true realities of your finances.

We will be expanding upon the popular "Ask the Experts" session this year with both a general session as well as one dedicated solely to rules enforcement. To keep the sessions flowing and most beneficial, this year we will be soliciting the questions in advance. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions through the CAI-CT website or by email to CAI-CT during the weeks leading up to the conference. We have assembled a skilled group of professionals covering the various areas of expertise.

Each community's president will have the opportunity to register for the Presidents' Breakfast. The topic for this year is assisting board presidents in providing the transparency in their community that has become the driving force behind much of the efforts of the State Legislature. Learn ways to effectively use communication tools such as email, texts and social media to help build a better community. Having well-informed communities helps boards govern and lead communities through the highs and lows. Being a community can be more that just the legal entity described in your governing documents, it can truly be that place that we look forward to returning home to each day.

We look to build on the great momentum from the attendance at last year's Managers Breakfast by bringing a nationally recognized speaker to address the topic of fostering professionalism in the role of the property manager. Property managers serve in a critical and wide reaching role in serving communities. Actions speak louder than words. Managers will consider how their actions can help communicate and convey to their client boards and communities the level of professionalism they provide. We will explore how the recently enacted manager licensing legislation will help promote professionalism within the industry. Draw upon the resources of CAI and the Code of Ethics to help elevate the manager.

Life is busy with competing priorities vying for our time. Investing in learning ways to help each of us in our varying roles serving our Connecticut common interest communities can serve to further our efforts to make sound decisions while effectively using each others time and energy. Plan to join us on March 9th! We are confident that even the most seasoned board member and management professional can benefit from the diverse session topics and networking. No other time during the year will there be an event that brings together so many of us that share the same goal of making our Connecticut common interest communities through best practices.

For additional information and to register, please visit the CAI-CT website at www.caict.org and click on the Events tab.

Karl Kuegler is Director of Property Management and a Partner at Imagineers, LLC. Karl serves as Chair of the CAI-CT Conference & Expo Committee. He is also a member of the Legislative Action Committee.




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