Reducing Port St Lucie HOA Fees
There are many ways an HOA can reduce their monthly HOA fees. First, the budget committee would need to look at the previous years budget and analyze where savings can be realized. Below are some areas to consider when looking at the financials.
- Get your own bids for work to be performed. Read your contracts very carefully and if you have questions or something does not seem right such as an automatic renewal, a one-way indemnity clause or the services are not written in detail ask your attorney for advice. This will save you money in the long run. You may always counter the contract as well.
- Check your Annual Budget and ensure the maintenance of your property is being properly budgeted. For example, what are the reserves for your building? Did they include plumbing, roof, pool, club house etc… Has your Board of Directors obtained regular bids for rising costs? Ask other Association Directors what they are paying for services and who they are utilizing for different services. In other words, share information. Usually, there is a current property appraisal to compare these costs as well. Roads are a large expense, is this in the budget as a reserve item if the HOA has to maintain the roads? Think of any areas that may not be in the reserves that could be a large expense other than those listed.
- If your HOA and Condo Associations pays water bills they should be analyzed on a regular basis to monitor whether bills are fluctuating more than normal. For example, you may have a pool leak. If this is on a separate meter you will notice the bill suddenly go up due to the pool leak.
- Each unit should check for leaks. Silent toilet and faucet leaks can definitely have an impact on the water bill.
- If your community has many Northerners for the winter that leave during the summer you can reduce the size of your dumpsters. Be aware of change out fees and decide accordingly. Also, consider when you sign contracts such as Comcast and you have a majority of seasonal homeowners. They may not need cable/phone/internet year round.
- Make sure all the timers for the lights are operating properly and shut off during daytime hours
- Very important to get up-to-date bids on your maintenance services and ensure no one is adding on a finder fee. It would be a good idea to have anyone obtaining bids on behalf of the Association sign a non-kickback agreement that they are not receiving any compensation whatsoever including gifts. This would include hired vendors as well signing the anti kick back policy form.
- Get an FPL survey for energy savings on the Condo Property. If your pool has a heater make sure it is shut off for the Summer Months
- From time to time call different insurance companies for new quotes. This is not to say every year but if you notice a substantial increase it may be time to get another insurance quote. Insurance policies should be according to your Condominium Documents and you can check the Statutes for any insurance updates that are mandatory for Condo’s to carry on behalf of the unit owners.
- Make sure the services are outlined in each contract and ensure that the Vendors are fulfilling those services. For example, if your Property Management is supposed to walk the property and look for necessary repairs or violations that this is being documented properly and reported to the Board Members. If the lawn service provider is supposed to perform a sprinkler or fertilization check, find out is this being done in a timely manner. There needs to be constant communication with the vendors to ensure that the services are being performed according to contract. If no one is checking it is possible you are not getting the services you are paying for to maintain your community.
- When comparing bids be sure to compare apples to apples. For example on painting bids, you may contact one of the large paint companies such as UCI Paints or Sherwin Williams and a Representative will write painting specs for your condo building. The Painting Company rep will provide your condo board several local painting contractors to bid on your painting project. There is generally a warranty and for very little money you may be able to increase the number of years for the warranty. Or perhaps the painting contractor will throw in extras such as painting the utility doors, trash room or other community shared area.
- If you have a large-scale project for the building make sure someone is qualified to manage the project and stay within budget. Someone needs to be on top of each process such as permitting, certificates of insurance, sub-contractors and make sure the services contracted are according to the contract signed by the Board of Directors.
Lastly, if your Board of Directors is monitoring the daily account payables and analyzing the increases or areas that are over budget then they can follow-up to see how they can improve this line item on the General Ledger. By obtaining proper bids and ensuring the contracts are being fulfilled by the vendors, then you should be on your way to an efficiently run property. As a community member and staying involved in the financials and community projects you will ensure your condominium is being properly operated.