Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Gain Peace of Mind by Having the Right Condo Insurance

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Imagine coming home from work and finding your condo’s front door broken and your new television missing. Once you recover from the shock, you’ll probably think to call your condominium association about replacing the door and lock, but what about your personal property and any damage inside the condo? Typically, the condo association’s policy will cover external areas and, depending on the association, may help with the interior damage. Personal property, however, must be insured by the condo owner. 

Some condominium associations offer coverage  referred to as “all-in”, which covers not only the exterior of the unit, but also some of the things inside the condo, such as carpeting, appliances, and fixtures. Other associations offer coverage for only the exterior, which means that the condo owner is responsible for essentially everything within the unit. It’s critical to know what type of insurance coverage your condo association offers before you speak with your insurance agent. 

Not only will condo owners’ insurance cover loss or damage to your property, it should also cover damages in the event that someone is injured in your condominium. This would include someone slipping and injuring himself on a wet floor, for example, including resulting medical bills and possible legal actions. 

When purchasing a condo policy, first determine the value of your belongings. The best place to start is to make an itemized list of those belongings that would need to be replaced. Keeping serial numbers and photos of items will make things much easier if you ever need to make a claim. Bear in mind that most policies will pay “Actual Cash Value” (or ACV) for your belongings, which means that depreciation is taken into consideration. Replacement cost coverage is also available, typically at a somewhat higher cost. If you have items of very high value, like jewelry or artwork, you may need to purchase additional coverage. Insurance will cover loss or damage to your property for some weather events, with the exception of natural disasters like earthquakes, floods and landslides. If your area is in a zone that is prone to these events, you may need to purchase extra coverage.

Condo ownership is different from traditional home ownership in many ways, including insurance requirements. Your insurance agent can help you select the right policy and give you the peace of mind so that you can enjoy your condo. 

For over 35 years, Alaska Management Group has been meeting the property management needs of associations and planned communities throughout Alaska, including Anchorage, Palmer, Eagle River, Wasilla, and more. To learn more about us, please visit http://www.bonanzarealty.net/ or call (907) 333-1244. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Water Conservation In and Around Your Property

Each year, we hear about ongoing droughts in various regions of the United States and around the world. Even if you live in an area where water still seems abundant, inefficient water usage can rack up large costs to your household budget as well as to your community. Taking steps to reduce water consumption protects an increasingly scarce resource.

Water conservation in the home

According to Eartheasy, three-fourths of the average American’s indoor water consumption took place in the bathroom, with toilet usage accounting for a large share of the total, at 28%. That’s why it is especially important to check for leaks in bathroom plumbing - one of the most common sources of water waste in the home. A leaky faucet or toilet can waste anywhere between 20-150 gallons of water per day.

  • Test your toilet.
    • Use food dye to color the water in your tank. Check back within an hour. If you see colored water in the toilet bowl, you have a leak that should be repaired.
  • Fix leaky showerheads and faucets.
  • Install low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators to reduce the number of gallons per minute. These do not require hiring a plumber, and oftentimes can be done without having to break out the toolbox.
  • Only run the dishwasher when full.
  • Don’t let the water run while brushing teeth, shaving, or rinsing dishes.

Yard conservation tips

Depending on you water your yard, green-space, or garden, these spaces can account for 60% of a household’s water usage.

  • Keeping pools covered when not in use saves hundreds of gallons of water per month from evaporating.
  • Consider replacing grass with native plants that need less water.
  • Planting more trees, tall plants, and bushes increases shade and reduces the need to water as often.
  • Grass cut too short dries out much more quickly and requires more frequent watering.
  • Water your lawn only once per week when needed, using a deep soak method in the early morning.

Doing the math: it all adds up  

Maximizing efficient water usage can cut the gallons of water you use by tens or hundreds per day. When a community commits to water efficiency, it can avoid sewage spills that pollute local lakes and streams, as well as ease the burden of your local water infrastructure system. Treating used water takes a good amount of electricity, so when you reduce water waste, you can reduce your community’s electricity usage.
To learn more water usage facts, such as how many gallons it takes to produce a cup of coffee,do laundry, or even fly across the country, see here.

For over 35 years, Alaska Management Group has been meeting the property management needs of associations and planned communities throughout Alaska, including Anchorage, Palmer, Eagle River, Wasilla, and more. To learn more about us, please visit http://www.bonanzarealty.net/ or call (907) 333-1244.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Alaskan Earthquakes: They’re Denali’s Fault

Did you know over 7 million earthquakes occur in the world each year? Many of these earthquakes are so small they go undetected. A few may knock over knickknacks or cause a picture to go crooked. According to USGS, only 152 of these 7 million earthquakes are considered “large” earthquakes. The Unites States has some of the strictest building standards and quickest emergency response times in the world. What you choose to do with the interior of your home is up to you. There are plenty of precautions that must be made to ensure a safe environment for your family. With 16 states in the earthquake danger zone, it is important to do this before a tragedy occurs.

Preparing your home for an earthquake is not something we always think of as homeowners. The biggest risk during an earthquake is being struck by a falling or broken object. This can be prevented with some simple precautions like

  • Securing the water heater with an anchor kit
  • Installing flexible pipe fitting so they will bend, not break
  • Don’t skimp on latches! A good latch will keep your cabinets closed

Create an earthquake survival kit. These are items are in addition to the typical home safety kit:
  • A shovel
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Rope
  • A whistle
  • Compass

The safest place to be during an earthquake? Outside! Unfortunately, earthquakes tend to happen with no warning. This means you may only have mere seconds to get to your established safe spot. Pick a place in your home without windows, glass, tall unsecured furniture, or overhead fixtures. Look for an area near interior walls with a nice sturdy table or desk to hide under. Being under this will keep you and your family safe from debris should the home crumble. If you feel the ground shake, get to your safety spot, drop, cover, and hold on!

What is the most earthquake prone state? Alaska. From all of us at Alaska Management Group, stay safe when you are in your home! Since 1978, we have strived to provide exceptional management services. It has always been our goal to ensure a safe and comfortable lifestyle in the community. To find out more, give us a call at (907) 333-1244 today.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ward Against Winter Burglars

“Oh the weather outside is frightful…”  Winter weather can conjure up images of cozying up indoors with a hot bowl of soup, a mug of hot chocolate, and a warm blanket.  Braving the cold can be a daunting task.  While crime decreases overall during the winter months, certain factors such as increased utility costs and seasonal unemployment can engender a different kind of desperation. 

Time Your Lights: With darkness falling long before most people get home from work, set some of your home lights to a timer.  Keep your blinds closed so burglars can’t notice the ruse.
Close Your Blinds: This one is worth repeating.  With the increased darkness, open blinds when you are home is an advertisement to anyone passing by.  You can’t see out, but they can see in to your new plasma screen TV, expensive laptop, or pricey portable coffee maker.
Secure All Doors and Windows: While leaving a window open in sub-freezing temperatures isn’t a risk, forgetting to lock them is.  Lock your windows and doors, including the interior door from the garage to your home.  Reinforce the security of sliding doors by laying a wooden dowel or two-by-four in the groove.
Don’t Hide a Key: This is a golden ticket for burglars.  It’s a risky enough measure during the warmer months, but what about after snowfall?  If you need to dig around for the spare key even once, the conspicuous patterns in the snow is a give-away.
Secure Your Yard: Avoid giving burglars extra coverage.  If you notice overgrown shrubs and trees now, add it to your maintenance list for the warmer months.  Keep things well-lit during all seasons and consider installing a motion-sensitive floodlight.
Know Your Neighbors: Neighborhoods that are closer-knit are more likely to keep an eye out for one another and notice suspicious persons.  If you don’t know your neighbors yet, fight cabin fever by hosting an indoor block party!
Report Anything Suspicious: Odd footprints in the snow at your neighbor’s house?  Give them a call.  At your own home?  Let the police know.  Police are more likely to drive through neighborhoods with reported crimes, but alert them to suspicious actions  and they’d be happy to drive through the neighborhood to keep an eye on things.
From your friends at Alaska Management Group, stay warm and stay safe during this winter season!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Home Security During the Holiday Season

home security for the holidaysThe holidays present a festive season full of giving and gratitude, but unfortunately many people fall victim to giving more than they bargained for through home burglary. The holiday season presents such an increased risk of experiencing a breach in home security that the popular comedic film Home Alone was based around it. At Alaskan Management Group, we take the work out of maintaining your external community and it is our mission to ensure that you and your family have the most pleasant experience possible.

Below are some tips to ensure that you have the safest and most secure holiday season possible this year and every year to come.

  • Be home, even when you aren’t: Kevin from Home Alone wasn’t playing around by taking measures such as turning lights on and playing films to make it appear as if the house was crowded. Statistics show that most burglaries occur when thieves believe that a house is unoccupied. To make it seem like someone is home, leave lights and a radio or television on while you are absent. If you have the ability, set your Christmas lights on an automatic timer.

  • Ask your neighbor: If you have a trustworthy neighbor, inform them if you are leaving for any extended length of time and ask them to notify you (or the police) if they notice any conspicuous activity occurring around your home. It is also worth asking them to collect newspapers, mail and other deliveries so they do not accumulate. They can also relocate yard items such as trash cans to make the premise appear more occupied.

  • Don’t vocalize absence: For reasoning such as that listed above, do not make announcements that you will be leaving and make certain that your family does not either. It may be tempting to post a Facebook status such as, “Visiting the family,” or changing your voicemail so loved ones are aware of your absence, but avoid doing so. It is easy for burglars to attain access to this information and know that they have a prime opportunity to take your valuables.

  • Out of sight, out of mind: Be mindful of what you leave out, especially if it is visible through your windows. Items such as Christmas gifts, elaborate decorations or electronics can be incredibly tempting for potential thieves. Also, do your best to avoid leaving opened boxes outside for your trash collector to pick up. Potential burglars could see the new laptop box or drone package that a family member received and will know that the item is most likely in the house.

  • Consider installing layers: If you have the additional money, it is worth investing in some additional security measures such as a camera, solid locks, security door braces, longer door hinges, heavy doors, light timers, reinforced window glass and polycarbonate or Plexiglas windows.

Although Kevin from Home Alone deserves a lot of credit for his creativity, as you can see it is not actually necessary to devise elaborate contraptions to protect your home. The holidays can remain a safe and joyous time of year simply by taking some simple safety measures. For more tips or information, please visit our website and have a safe and secure holiday season! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Thanksgiving Home Safety Tips

This Thanksgiving, you plan to host friends, family, and their children for the annual feast. Your to-do list includes keeping your guests happy, staying on top of the mess, and cooking up a feast with all the fixings. You might feel overwhelmed and forget a few tasks that can put your guests in danger. Follow these tips to keep your family and home safe this Thanksgiving. 

Cooking a turkey is a science. This big bird can take up to 5 days to thaw so make sure you are prepared! Keep the turkey in the refrigerator until it is time to place in the oven. A turkey should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees to ensure the meal is safe from bacteria. Once dinner is over, make sure to put all leftovers in the refrigerator. All leftovers must be refrigerated within two hours of serving. 

The number of kitchen fires triples on Thanksgiving Day. Take some simple precautions to make sure your home doesn’t become part of this statistic. “Stand by your pan” encourages homeowners to never leave food, especially grease, cooking on the stove top unattended. Keep all pets and children away from hot stoves and pans. Make sure all handles are facing inwards so they are not knocked over by guests. If you have a grease fire, do NOT use water or a fire extinguisher to put it out. Turn off the heat source, cover the flames with a pot or pan if possible, and dump baking soda and/or salt on the flames. 

Clogged drains can be expensive, time consuming, and stinky for you and your guests! Once a drain is clogged, homeowners can either call a plumber or run to the store for a bottle of Drano. Proper 
drain maintenance can avoid clogs, here are a few easy steps! 

1.     Lift any pop-up stoppers in sinks, remove gunk that has collected around the stopper and place it in the trash. Rinse the stopper and place it back in the drain.
2.     Remove the shower drain and use a wire, a croquet hook, or a Zip-it to remove hair and other waste. Place the waste in the trash and rinse with hot water.
3.     Grind up a combination of ice and salt in your garbage disposal. This will help remove grease.  Once finished, rinse with cold water and grind up half a lemon or lime to leave it smelling fresh and clean.

Alaska Management Group provides management services and solutions as well as association-specific websites that can help companies share information and communicate effectively. Complete our management request form to find out how Alaska Management Group can assist you in maintaining the value and comfort of your home association. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Neon Pink House on the Block: The Benefits of Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) vs. Restrictions

“Why can’t I raise goats in my backyard?” “Turn the rooms of my home into an inn?” “Paint neon pink murals on my siding?” Homeowners’ associations (HOAs) can sometimes be viewed by the individual homeowner as stifling expression and creativity. In reality, the main goal of an HOA is to maximize property values and create a positive neighborhood environment based upon shared understanding.

An HOA is a community association that serves the greater interests of a neighborhood and its residents. As such, having an HOA can give a community more political advocacy and power, as well as be a collective force for maintaining stability in resale value, community, and structural integrity. Alaska Management Group has been working with and managing homeowners’ associations in the Anchorage area for decades, and as we say in our mission statement, the goal is to “ensure a safe and comfortable lifestyle while maintaining the value of the community for all residents.”

HOAs will have agreed-upon CC&R’s (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) to meet their goal of maintaining home values, neighborhood amenities, and property stability among their residents. These will usually include:

- Fees and membership dues.
- Ordinances and rules, such as architectural, usage, parking, and noise restrictions.
- Responsibilities of the homeowner and the association.

Although HOA’s will most likely put an added layer of restrictions on the individual homeowner, on top of the local government’s zoning and neighborhood ordinances, an HOA serves the collective interests of its community. HOAs can be a powerful voice for the greater interests of their residents, and allow homeowners to have access to amenities as a group that they would not be able to afford individually. Many homeowners appreciate the added stability and the financial protection of assets that an HOA provides. Finally, HOAs can create an added sense of community and neighborhood identity. For more benefits of an HOA, visit here.   

Alaska Management Group is the longest-running association management company serving communities in Anchorage, as well as surrounding cities such as Palmer, Wasilla, and Eagle River. We provide exceptional management services and association-specific websites that facilitate shared information, communication, and access between residents, Board members, and our team. We provide both full service and financial management as well as Board of Directors consultation services. Let us know if we can assist you in maintaining the value and comfort of your home and association by completing our management request form.