BOARD OF DIRECTORS EDUCATIONAL SERIES: UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS OF IMPORTANT PROVISIONS

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At HMC, we feel so lucky to work with industry professionals who share the common goal of educating Board Members and, in turn, creating stronger, more successful communities. We are very grateful to Zer Iyer from Angius & Terry for her presentation on important contract provisions.

Contracts are an essential aspect of ensuring the Board is meeting its fiduciary duty to protect the financial and legal interests of the Association. In this session, we discussed the most vital provisions:

  • Insurance
    • Worker’s Compensation must comply with statutory requirements.
    • Deductibles and self insured retentions: Must be declared to the Association, must be approved by the Association.
    • Additional Insured Endorsement: Must name the management company and board members (among others); must specify a particular form (2010 form 1985 or equal)
    • It is important to verify that all vendors working on your property provide certificates of insurance prior to beginning any work. HMC utilizes a third party, RMIS, to track and verify all insurance certificates of vendors who work on the properties we manage.
  • Indemnification
    • The contractor should agree to indemnify the Association under the contract
    • Indemnification should extend to the management company and board members (and others)
    • Indemnification should include the Association’s passive or contributory negligence
    • Indemnification may carve out those incidents when the Association was solely negligent or engaged in willful misconduct, which caused the harm
    • Mutual indemnification should only be agreed to if demanded by the contractor
  • Dispute Resolution
    • Binding arbitration is written into most contracts
    • Dispute resolution should be avoided if at all possible (Note: this may not be possible with all vendors)
    • Arbitration appears to be a trial, but without the protections of a trial
      • No right to appeal
      • No requirement that the arbitrator know or follow the law
      • Will be quicker, but is usually not cheaper because arbitrations are essentially “mini trials” and the lawyer fees will correspond
    • Should include mediation as the method of dispute resolution because it allows for the filing of a lawsuit if you don’t reach an agreement.
  • Attorneys’ Fees
    • Should apply if either party attempts to enforce the contract
    • Should include not just the filing of a lawsuit, but any involvement in dispute resolution (even mediation or other forms of ADR)
    • Should include witness/expert fees
    • Should include language allowing the court to grant more than what is provided for in a fee schedule
    • Levels the playing field and heightens the stakes for failing to work an issue out internally

Ensuring that the correct provisions are established in these sections of the contract will help protect the Association.

 

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Posted in HMC Blog

Meet Maureen Gonzales, Accounting Superstar!

IMG_20160614_093923374_HDRMaureen Gonzales has been with HMC for three years, and in the industry for seventeen years. Everyone in our office agrees that HMC would not be the same without her! Maureen helps make it possible for us to provide the level of service that we do.

 

What are 3 words you would use to describe HMC?

Integrity, Efficient, and Superior.

 

What aspect of your job do you enjoy most? Why?

I love to gather financial information and translate it into something Boards and Association Members can make sense of. I love that I can put out a product that is accurate and easily understood. I am a numbers person, and I love working with finances. It is a passion for me, and has been ever since I was a little kid playing school and pretending to be the math teacher.

 

What is your proudest moment at HMC?

My proudest moment would be when we took over two associations that had not been properly managed, and were missing years of accounting information. I took on the challenge, and was able to turn around the HOA’s finances to get them back on the right track. I worked closely with the associations’ manager, and together we were able to get the two HOAs financially stable. Now, they are looking good!

 

How has HMC helped you in your career development?

I have been a Supervisor, an Accounting Manager, and a Controller. Here at HMC, I don’t have to manage employees anymore, and I can focus on what I do best: Accounting. For me, the development is to be able to focus on what I love and do best.

 

What are your hopes for the industry?

I hope that we in the industry can help homeowners to better recognize their association manager as a necessity to their community, and dispel any notion that we are just taking their money. HOA management companies are important for any homeowner to raise the value of their most important asset, their home.

 

What is something that makes you unique that only a few people know about you?

I was a single mom, and at 27 bought my first condo in an HOA. I became Board President of my association. I worked full time, went to school full time, and had a baby.

I can also remember numbers as soon as someone tells them to me, like a phone number. If someone tells me a number, I can remember it forever. I can still remember my childhood friends’ telephone numbers.

 

What is your favorite way to relax and unwind?

I like to go camping in my RV with my husband, daughter, and our three dogs. I love to find a little spot on a river and just relax and watch the water flow by.

 

Do you have a favorite movie quote?

“Show me the money!”

Posted in HMC Blog

Answers to Your Questions About the New FHA/VA Disclosure

Per Civil Code 5300, beginning July 1, 2016,  all condominium associations must disclose their FHA/VA status in the annual budget disclosure.

The biggest question arising from this is, “Is the Association legally obligated to become FHA or VA Certified?” The answer is no, there is currently no legal requirement for a Board of Directors to seek FHA or VA Certification for their condominium project. It does, however, fall under the fiduciary duty of the Board to at least consider it.

Below, are some reasons to consider whether or not becoming FHA or VA approved:

Some Benefits of being FHA approved:

  • FHA approval increases the pool for potential new homebuyers.
  • Having a larger pool of prospective buyers increases competition for the demand of the product, potentially resulting in higher purchase prices and an increase in market value.
  • FHA certification is necessary to get a Reverse Mortgage.
  • FHA/VA approved communities tend to be more marketable. The units are easier to sell and often at a higher price.
  • Decreased rental ratio: buyers who use FHA loans are more likely to live within the unit, and not rent it out. Communities without FHA approval often attract investors who will rent out the property for a profit.

Some of the Misconceptions of being FHA approved:

While there are no “cons” to being FHA certified on which expects can agree, these are the two most misconceptions about FHA Condo Approval:

  • FHA and VA are lenders. This is false. The FHA and VA provide mortgage insurance to banks, credit unions, and other lenders.
  • Being FHA Certified will bring in “low-income” buyers. This is false. FHA Condo approval is unrelated to affordable housing programs.

Some other facts you should be aware of regarding FHA/VA Approval:

  • How much does it cost to become FHA/VA Approved? Anywhere from $765-850. This fee includes all condo plans, annexations, supplemental CC&Rs, and tract maps.
  • Who is responsible for paying for this? The Association is not legally obligated to pay for the Certifications. Many Associations will, however, cover the cost because it benefits the entire community. It is also common for a homeowner, realtor, lender, or other interested party to pay for the submission.
  • How long does the process take? Processing time can vary depending on the Regional HUD or VA office that is reviewing the project, usually between 2-4 weeks. The comprehensive eligibility review takes 2-3 business days.
  • Does FHA or VA certification require Board approval? No. The Board does not need to approve the process. Current owners have a legal right to all the documentation necessary and can proceed without approval from the Board. However, if you are a homeowner seeking FHA/VA approval, it is recommended to discuss this with the Board of Directors first.
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HMC in the Community–Project Night Night & Cupid’s Undie Run

PROJECT NIGHT NIGHT

HMC participated with the CAI CARES! Committee to donate to the Project Night Night organization. Project Night Night provides free “night night” packages to homeless children from birth to pre-teens. These children need childhood essentials to have a concrete and predictable source of security during this time of upheaval, including an increased exposure to high-quality literary materials. Each tote bag donated contains a new security blanket, an age-appropriate children’s book, and a stuffed animal. The kits were donated to Shelter, Inc. and STAND.

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CAI CUPID’S UNDIE RUN

We teamed up with CAI and Varsity Painting for the Cupid’s Undie Run as part of “Camille’s Tumor Fighting Super Heroes” to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, doing research on Neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2), characterized by multiple tumors on the cranial and spinal nerves, and by other lesions of the brain and spinal cord. Camille’s team won first place and raised over $11,000 for this great cause! 12744175_10156522432540371_6149972859810055815_n (1)

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Meet Laura Ravazza, CCAM Top 10 Manager of the Year!

As many of you are already aware, our very own Laura Ravazza made it into the Top 10 for Manager of the Year, 2016! It is no surprise to us that Laura made it to the Top 10. She is passionate about the industry, and takes an active role in the industry and her community. She demonstrates this regularly part of the CAI Cares Committee. As her profile says, “I believe in being involved in the community… I was taught that we as individuals cannot be fully happy unless we are helping those around us to be happy, too. Happiness can be contagious, and I want my enthusiasm to be infectious.” We thought this would be a perfect opportunity for you to get to know a little bit more about Laura so we asked her to answer a brief survey of questions.

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What are 3 words you would use to describe HMC?

Empowering, inspiring, exciting.

What aspect of your job do you enjoy most? Why?

Working with my associations, I love helping my associations grow into the communities everyone is proud to call home

What is your favorite part about working for HMC?

Working for a company whose morals, values, and goals align with mine. That is such a rare thing to find in a company and I cherish it! I have never worked for a true leader before; it is truly one of the most rewarding feelings I have ever felt.

What is your proudest moment at HMC?

Being nominated for Manager of the Year and making it to the Top 10 in the nation. This is not my proudest moment for the reasons most would think, but because I truly believe HMC is truly the best management company out there. I’m so proud to be able to share my experiences at HMC with the industry nationwide; this company is a rarity in this industry and I’m so proud to be a part of this amazing team!

What piece of advice would you give to a new portfolio manager?

You are here to solve problems, if you don’t have any problems to solve there is something wrong. So sit back and be grateful for every problem that comes your way because that means you are doing what you are supposed to be doing! Also, you can’t know everything. In moments when you don’t have the answer, don’t be afraid to tell the person that you need to do some research and get back to them. Sometimes it’s better to admit when we don’t know something, and show that we’re willing to put in the effort to find the answers; it’s appreciated more than you can ever imagine!

How has HMC helped you in your career development?

HMC has given me motivation, validation, and a healthy working environment. Being part of this team has helped me to find my strength to believe I can achieve all of my dreams. I think that is the MOST powerful gift any employee can be given. With these gifts all things are possible!!

How does it feel being the only person in California to get to the top 10 for MOY?

Indescribable! It is truly an honor and such a humbling experience, there are a lot of great managers in this state and even to be noticed is just out of this world!

What are your hopes for our industry?

I hope that we can all start working together to make our industry the best it can possibly be. When you really think about it, about the number of homeowners we work with, we can truly make a difference in many communities, cities, counties, and hopefully throughout the state. We need to inspire each other, learn from each other, and grow together. This industry is not a “job” that one just walks into, it’s a career, and it’s important to stay educated and motivated. I hope we start seeing more younger people in our industry so we can share all of our knowledge with them. A person’s home is one of the most emotional things in his or her life; I think it’s important that managers make sure we are keeping the personal touch so that we don’t turn into an outsourced, faceless industry.

What is something that makes you unique that only a few people may know about you?

I drove a semi truck cross-country for two years to save up enough money to move from Wisconsin to California. I knew there was more in this world for me than what I could achieve in Wisconsin. I wanted to find my dream career and grow my roots. It was all worth it when I came to HMC!

What is your favorite way to relax and unwind?

Going to our cabin in Twain Harte and sitting on the front porch surrounded by redwood trees. I love the time with my family, friends, and pets.

Do you have a favorite movie quote?

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Rhett Butler, “Gone with the Wind,” and “Get busy living, or get busy dying” Andy Dufresne, “The Shawshank Redemption.”

 

Posted in HMC Blog

HMC Zombie T.A.S.K. Force: Your Community. Our Commitment.

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On Wednesday, November 11, 2015, HMC staff loaded into a 15 passenger van for an excursion into San Francisco to embark on a unique team-building experience.

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Our assignment? Work together to escape a locked room with a member of the undead chained to the wall.

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That’s right, we were trapped in a room with San Francisco’s own brains-seeking zombie, Dr. Oxy. The only thing preventing her reaching us was the chain that limited her range of movement (and our dodging zombies skills). However, every 5 minutes the chain was extended and her ability to reach us increased.  It was important not to be touched by the zombie and, consequently infected.

The room was composed of a series of puzzles and riddles that would lead us to finding the key to unlock the door. We had 60 minutes to find the key and escape the room before getting eaten. Appropriately, we were instructed – “Use your brains before they’re eaten!”

The minute the door closed behind us, the T.A.S.K. force went to work enthusiastically gathering clues. Under the guidance of our fearless leader, Jason, we stayed on task, communicated well, and solved puzzle after puzzle.

There were, of course, difficult moments, but we never doubted our ability to survive. And in the end, we are happy to report the HMC Zombie T.A.S.K.’s mission was a success! We worked together to piece together the clues, solve the puzzles, and make it out brains intact (with time to spare!):

we won

 

Of course, we followed this harrowing experience with a lovely, celebratory lunch nearby at the Paragon gastro pub.

 

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The zombie challenge was not only an exciting way to spend an afternoon, but also a great opportunity for us to prove just how strong we are as a team. It was a unique experiment with how our team functions under pressure, and not only did we rise to the challenge, but we had a blast in the process.

Posted in HMC Blog

HMC Welcomes Laurie Martinez!

Laurie Martinez, Administrative Assistant

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HMC is thrilled to have Laurie, an accomplished professional with over 15 years of experience as an Executive Administrative Assistant, on the team. Laurie studied at Brandman University and achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice (Cum Laude) with a minor in Legal studies. Before joining our team, she worked in both the social services and healthcare professions where she supported high level management.

Laurie brings a lot of strengths to the team, including a strong ability to establish business connections, and to work with many different kinds of personalities. She is dedicated, enthusiastic, and eager to learn the ins and outs of HOA management.

When asked what drew her to HMC, Laurie said she was eager to be involved in a company that works directly with communities. She was drawn by HMC’s collaborative team that works together towards excellence.

 

Posted in HMC Blog

HMC’s First Annual Toy Drive

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This year, HMC has begun a new company tradition and enrolled as a local drop off center for Toys for Tots. We already have toys filling our bin, and we are thrilled to participate in this holiday tradition, helping to provide toys to less fortunate children in Contra Costa County.

About Toys for Tots: The Toys for Tots foundation was established in 1995. Their objective is simple: “The objectives of Toys for Tots are to help less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources – our children; to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future.” The program is designed to engender hope in children living in communities that may feel discouraged or left out during the holidays. Over its lifespan, Toys for Tots has distributed over 494 million toys to over 230 million less fortunate children. (http://bit.ly/1QsSOID).

How to Participate: Bring a new, unwrapped toy to our new office: 2151 Salvio Street, Suite 250, Concord, CA 94520. We will be collecting toys until December 15, 2015 at 5 p.m.

Posted in HMC Blog

Toy Drive Countdown

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HMC’s New Office Space!

As many of you are aware, we moved offices at the beginning of this month. We are so excited to be settling into our new office space! Being in a brand new office is rejuvenating, and we are loving the experience of getting to know our new neighborhood. We are now located right in the heart of downtown Concord across from the Todos Santos plaza, overlooking the park and weekly farmers’ markets.

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We know this new, larger space will provide fantastic new opportunities for us to grow our team, and be even more involved in the communities we manage. We look forward to expanding, taking on new associations, and new challenges.

 

Our New Address: 2151 Salvio Street, Suite 250, Concord, CA 94521.

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Posted in HMC Blog