FirstService Residential offers tips for capital improvements

FirstService Residential offers tips for capital improvements

FirstService Residential offers tips for capital improvementsOnce you’ve solicited resident feedback with their buy- in for any capital improvement project, you can move into planning. That starts with prioritizing the work you need to do versus the work you want to do.

Determine a general timeline. If your residents are seasonal, try to complete projects in the off-season so that residents return to an improved property. The off-season is also rainy season in Florida, so build in weather delays accordingly. If your residents are not seasonal, you may be better off completing work in the dry season.

Look at your reserves and other funding options. Your reserve fund should be the starting point for replacement of essential equipment. Hopefully, your reserve study and assessments have aligned so that you have the money to replace equipment without needing to seek a loan or levy an assessment. If your reserves aren’t sufficient, a quality property management company will have the relationships to help you identify possible funding sources.

Once you know what you want to do and how to pay for it, hire a project manager, usually a licensed engineer, who has the knowledge to inspect contractor work and keep the project on schedule.

As soon as your engineer is on board, start soliciting bids and vetting vendors. A quality property management company will have a slate of vendors to help get you started. Your project manager will also have the skill set and knowledge to help with the vetting process.

Be prepared for the unexpected. One change, installing a new elevator for example, may lead to another necessary change, such as upgrading the fire panel. Cosmetic changes rarely end up being cosmetic changes, and again, a professional engineer is the best person to guide your association through that process.

Capital improvements, large or small, are part of managing an association. They are costly but neglecting or delaying needed improvements will only cost more in the long run. A professional property management company should have the experience, depth of resources and knowledge to help your association get through a capital improvement project from planning to execution with as little trouble as possible.

For information, or George Sosa at

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