How to Make Your Investment Safer ($39.95; ISBN: 978-0-9822345-0-1), Hohman shares what he has learned about handling the ongoing challenges in shared expenses housing over his 20-plus years as the volunteer president of his Association board. He also offers insights and actions to help the more than 300,000 Associations across the country prevent financial disasters, from large, painful special assessments for emergency expenses to having their property condemned. The idea for the book originated in the fall of 2005, when Hohman created a non-credit class for a local university, called Condominium and Home Owner Association Best Practices. He expected four or five students to sign up. He got 231 eager enrollees.
Backed by a wealth of on-the-job experience and research, Hohman can let your audience in on:
* How to build a financially strong Association in five steps, starting with a Reserve Study, the year-by-year projection of major repair and replacement costs for the next 20 to 30 years; a detailed Preventative Maintenance Checklist; and a realistic Annual Budget, covering both the Operating and Reserve Expense projections for the upcoming year;
* Tips for choosing good volunteer board members, recognizing and getting rid of the bad ones, building consensus and trust among co-owner neighbors, and knowing when it pays to hire a paid Board of Directors and/or a part-time Property Manager;
* Realistic estimates of what to expect to pay and budget for major repairs and renovations, from roofing replacements to plumbing system upgradesand the surprising value of modest investments, from maintaining a propertys curb appeal to cultivating relationships with skilled service providers to taking the time to stop and listen to a co-owners questions; and
* The secrets to persuading owners to accept and support an increase in their monthly maintenance fee, even in these trying economic times.
Offering practical, proven solutions to problems faced by Community Associations across the board, Condos, Townhouses and Home Owner Associations: How to Make Your Investment Safer is an informative, reassuring resource for the 60 million (and counting) Americans living in Association housing, as well as a welcome leadership guide for the nations two million volunteer board members.
A former corporate advertising manager, Patrick Hohman has been a self-employed writer and advertising project manager for 12 years. He teaches about Community Association housing and runs a website, www.CondoHOAinfo.com. I look forward to discussing interview possibilities.
An Invaluable Resource for the 60-Plus Million Americans Invested in
Community Association Living
CONDOS, TOWNHOMES and
HOME OWNER ASSOCIATIONS
How to Make Your Investment Safer
Today, more than 60 million Americansnearly one in fivelive in Community Association housing, sharing common property with their co-owners. From busy professionals to baby boomers on the brink of retirement, from recent college grads to the recently divorced, all types of people buy into the convenience and security of a condo, townhouse, or planned development community. However, the sales claim of carefree, maintenance-free living comes with a price. Planning ahead for high-cost repairs and renovations is what separates a successful, attractive Association-managed neighborhood from an uninhabitable disaster and squandered investment.
Properties do not plan and run themselves, as Patrick Hohman, the volunteer president of his condo association for more than 20 years, knows from experience. He shares the wealth of what he has learned about financially sound and genuinely cooperative co-owner housing management in Condos, Townhouses and Home Owner Associations: How to Make Your Investment Safer ($39.95; ISBN: 978-0-9822345-0-1). In a quick-reading, user-friendly reference guide, Hohman arms Community Association leaders with the facts and figures to persuade their fellow owners to pay enough in fees each month to:
Protect property values;
Build consensus and trust among co-owner neighbors;
Significantly reduce the need for unexpected, emergency assessments; and
Gain peace of mind.
Unrealistically low monthly maintenance fees are as dangerous to consumers as an underfunded pension plan, Hohman contends. In Condos, Townhouses and Home Owner Associations: How to Make Your Investment Safer, he calls attention to the importance of the Reserve Study. As Hohman explains, in clear and jargon-free terms, a Reserve Study is an estimate of an Associations major repair and replacement expensessuch as roof replacement, foundation repairs, and parking area resurfacingfor each year for the next 20 to 30 years. It also includes a review of various funding plan options to pay for those repairs.
Confronting common Community Association problems, Condos, Townhouses and Home Owner Associations: How to Make Your Investment Safer offers practical ideas for solutions. Throughout, helpful icons highlight Best Scenariosreal-world examples with proven outcomes, Insights with useful background information, and Warnings! of possible dangers to avoid. Among the critical topics, Hohman covers:
Key financial questions to ask before buying into Community Association housing.
Prudent budgeting, well-planned monthly meetings, regular communication, and other factors that separate the financially strong Associations from the financially weak ones.
How to turn random neighbors into a unified Community Association Board of Directors, plus tips on choosing good volunteer board membersand getting rid of the bad ones.
Simple measures for ensuring a Community Associations financial survival during tough economic times (for instance: lower-cost curb appeal projects, like painting, can signal to owners and new buyers that this housing community is alive and thriving).
The pros and cons of investing in an outside, paid Board of Directors; compelling arguments for better pay for off-site, part-time property managersand more.
Thats only the first part of the book. Part two features samples, charts, photos, checklists, and financial planning tools. For starters, the section includes:
Five unique property examples with sample financial and maintenance planning data.
Major repair and renovation project summaries with concrete cost estimate ranges.
A sample businesslike Request for Proposal (RFP) for contracted lawn care and snow maintenance services.
A roundup of Frequently Asked Questions from co-owners, addressing concerns about raising monthly fees and reserving adequate funds for emergencies.
Lists of local resources to help Association leadersand more.
As Americas 78 million baby boomers move toward downsized dwellings and more people with less earning power consider a condo or townhouse as a realistic dream home, the growth of Community Association housing is here to stay. For current and future co-owners, Condos, Townhouses and Home Owner Associations: How to Make Your Investment Safer is an invaluable resource.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patrick Hohman bought his condominium unit as a starter home in 1982 and has been the volunteer president of his condo association for more than 20 years. He has a B.A. in journalism, is a former corporate advertising manager, and has been a self-employed writer and advertising project manager for 12 years. He created and teaches a popular course, Condominium and Home Owner Association Best Practices, and founded and runs an educational website, www.CondoHOAinfo.com. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky.
An Interview with Patrick Hohman, author of
CONDOS, TOWNHOUSES AND HOME OWNER ASSOCIATIONS: How to Make Your Investment Safer