Inflation is impacting community associations nationwide. Insurance rates, utility costs, payroll, and maintenance services are just a few of the areas where costs are increasing. There are a few ways community association board members and managers can budget, save, and work smarter to manage residents’ expectations in the coming years.
Scott Burka, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, executive vice president at EJF Real Estate Services in Washington, D.C., shares tips to help communities cope with inflation. “Having a reserve study for your community association is an essential starting point,” he says.
Burka explains that reserve studies are performed independently from a board and are based on a professional analysis of community infrastructure and common elements.
“Reserve studies are not subject to the whims of a board. They are great for budgeting and are a roadmap of maintenance planning for the future,” he explains.
Burka recommends boards share news about potential assessment increases early, which tends to alleviate some pain. Additionally, creating multiyear contracts with vendors can lead to saving, and you can even call for inflation adjustments within some contracts. Requesting bids from multiple vendors for services like lawn care and snow removal will allow communities to find the best deals possible in these challenging times.
“The value of these tactics will provide a better experience for current and future residents,” he says. “Although fees may increase now, a reserve will then be able to be maintained to combat the uncertainty of the future.”