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.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Time Management Tips for Community Association Managers

A community association manager takes on many roles. They deal with homeowners on a 24/7 basis, ensuring a community is properly maintained, disputes are handled and all financial matters are in order. With a long to-do list, it’s easy to see why the role of community association manager can become overwhelming. Here are some time saving tips and efficient tricks that will help you manage your community more efficiently. 

Organize Emails – It’s easy to get lost in emails but a community association manager’s main focus should be spending face-to-face time in the community. A great way to be email efficient is by having responses already written for common questions. This way you can copy and paste a reply rather than rewriting the response each time. If you manage several communities and have a hard time keeping track, organize your inbox with category tabs and folders.

Utilize Telecommunication Technology – Voicemail to email technology allows you to stay on top of incoming calls by receiving email and text notifications for missed calls. You have the ability listen to the voicemail as an audio file or read the message in an email. It’s a great tool for days when you are out of the office.

Go Paperless – Do you struggle to keep track of paperwork? Going paperless can help you save money and keep track of information more efficiently. This way you are able to immediately pull up copies of expenses, contracts, and homeowner information with the click of a button. The downside of going paperless is not every individual (specifically those over the age of 65) has access to modern technology. However, you can offer your community members the option for print mail or email.

Management Technology – New management tools can allow you to access all of the information you need across a variety of devices including smartphone and laptop. This means no more spreadsheets of homeowner information and no more sifting through cabinets for financial records. If you have a question from a homeowner, you can easily access the information at your fingertips.

At Alaska Management Group, we utilize the best industry technology and personalized service to assist your association with project oversight. We provide association specific websites that allow your residents to have access to their dues statements, association rules and documents. To learn more about what Alaska Management Group can do for you, contact our team today!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Hiring A Management Company

When hiring a management company for your condominium, townhouse, or other types of property in a planned unit development like a gated community or subdivision, a number of factors come into play. How big is your property? Are the duties a lot to take on? Do you have people within your elected board of officials who can handle certain aspects, like accounting? Property management companies provide a range of services, most are equipped to handle monthly collection of homeowners association (HOA) dues, fines and fees; management of HOA financials; creation of an annual budget; development of long-term capital improvement/replacement plan; ongoing maintenance; finding and managing contractors; and monthly reporting to the HOA board.

Are you unsure whether your HOA would benefit? Here’s a list of common situations that may make you want to consider hiring a management company:

●      Homeowners don’t have the time or experience necessary to serve on the HOA’s volunteer Board of Directors. Members of the Board should usually have some background in areas like finance, operations, law, vendor management, and conflict resolution.
●      The HOA is responsible for managing complex building systems, amenities, or multiple properties and facilities.
●      The HOA has a significant membership and routine billing, correspondence, enforcement of HOA rules, and management of complaints that is particularly time-consuming.
●      A property management company can leverage its existing relationships to get the HOA discounts on services like insurance or with contractors like lawn maintenance companies.

Hiring a property management company shouldn’t feel like a daunting task. Typically, both the HOA or community board and the management company want the same thing - a healthy working relationship that runs smoothly and leaves everyone happy. It’s important to keep in mind that hiring a management company doesn’t mean you give up any of the power over your property. The board still sets the policies and makes the rules, it’s just the management’s job to enforce them and handle the day-to-day operations of the building or community. As the owner or HOA, you also have the option to set the terms. If there are certain duties you want to stay within the board of directors’ responsibility, you can hash out which tasks you’ll be needing the management company to tackle.

A well-matched management company should understand the HOA’s values and long-term goals, and strive to meet them. At Alaska Management Group, our mission is to continually provide unsurpassed management services to ensure a safe and comfortable lifestyle while maintaining the value of the community for all residents. 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 here.