Monday, December 21, 2015

ACM wishes everyone a very happy holiday season!

Please note our holiday Customer Service Support Hours:

December 22: 9:00am-11:30am
December 24: Closed
December 25: Closed
December 31: 9:00am-3:00pm
January 1: Closed

If you are experiencing maintenance issues related to your community’s common elements please call our office and follow the prompt for emergency service. If you are a resident and wish to file a maintenance request you can do so on your community website at:  www.acmhome.com. And of course, you can still email us at: staff@communitymanagers.net while we're away, and we will get back to you as soon as we return.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

American Community Management now offers FHA and VA Certification services!  




In today’s marketplace, FHA and VA certifications have become excellent ways to improve the overall marketability of condominium communities. Obtaining FHA and VA certifications ensures buyers and owners have access to all financing options, provides broader purchasing and refinancing options, and establishes a precedent for ongoing compliance with current lending standards.

American Community Management is pleased to announce that we are now offering FHA and VA application processing services to our communities! By hiring ACM, communities will save time and energy accessing and organizing the numerous pieces of documentation required during the application process. This service includes prescreening eligibility, procuring all required documentation, reviewing and organizing all materials per HUD specifications, and submitting the completed package to HUD for final approval.

The average turn around time for FHA certification approval is typically 60-90 days, depending on how quickly the application is processed by HUD. ACM makes no guarantees regarding timeframes or approvals.

Service Rates are as follows:

FHA Certification - Pertains to communities that have never been FHA Certified or whose certification expired more than six months after the HUD listed expiration date.
Fee: $1,000.00
FHA Recertification - Applies to communities currently FHA certified or whose certification has expired less than six months after the HUD listed expiration date.
Fee: $850.00
VA Certification - This certification is good for the lifetime of a community; once it has been obtained, it never expires.
Fee: $650.00

Please direct questions and processing inquiries to the contact listed below:

Chrystie Reif
American Community Management
410-771-0600 ext. 301

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New Employee Spotlight


ACM is excited to welcome Tony Franquiz, joining our team supporting ACM's Regional Community Association Managers and Senior Staff members. Tony has earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park. Welcome, Tony!

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Top 10 Association Insurance Questions - Final Installment!

Today we discuss the 10th and final installment of  "The Top 10 Questions asked by Board Members and Community Managers Regarding HOA and Condo Association Insurance." 

We thank Brian J. Finnerty (CIC), Area Sr. Vice President, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, for providing us this article and allowing ACM to share with our clients and followers on our ACM News Blog!

Question 10:
What does the fidelity bond do?   

Answer:
In short this crime insurance coverage protects against the loss or theft of association property or money by an “employee” or other covered person. For example, if you found out a board member embezzled money from the association this bond would protect against that loss.

What is important to note with this coverage is who is covered. You want to make sure that your “manager” is covered under the policy. The management company may have their own insurance but you want to make sure you cover all sides. The Maryland statute also requires that the manager be covered so it is best to make sure they are covered by your policy regardless it they may have their own protection.

It is also important to note for Maryland associations that this is a requirement and not a suggestion for most associations depending on size. The limit suggested to meet the minimum requirement is the less of:
  • Three months’ worth of gross annual assessments and the total of all investment accounts; or
  • $3,000,000
Other items to consider under the crime form are computer fraud, money and securities, forgery and dishonesty.  


We hope everyone found the insurance series to be informative and helpful! Please contact us with any other topics of interest you have and would like discussed on ACM's News Blog! You can reach our Marketing Coordinator by email - srolf@communitymanagers.net - with comments or suggestions. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

ACM Offices Closed on Friday, July 3, 2015


ACM offices will be closing at 4:00 PM on Thursday, July 2, 2015 and will be closed on Friday, July 3, 2015 in observance of the 4th of July holiday. Should you have an emergency, please call (410) 997-7767 for emergency services. You can also view association information online 24/7 by visiting us at www.acmhome.com. 

We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

ACM Welcomes New Association in July, 2015!

We are excited to welcome a new community association beginning Full Community Administrative Management services this July:

Deer Ridge Terrace Condominium, located in Baltimore City

We look forward to working with the Board members and unit owners in the management of your community! 

New Employee Spotlight


ACM is excited to welcome Victoria Gibson (Tori), joining our Accounting Department as our Accounts Payable Assistant. Tori comes to us with Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable experience and attended Longwood University as a Liberal Studies Major with a Minor in English. Welcome, Tori! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Top 10 Association Insurance Questions - Part 9

We are nearing the end of "The Top 10 Questions asked by Board Members and Community Managers Regarding HOA and Condo Association Insurance." Today, we discuss the ninth installment.

By: Brian J. Finnerty (CIC), Area Sr. Vice President, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services

Question 9:
What is Ordinance or Law coverage? 

Answer:
This is coverage provided under a property insurance policy that if elected can provide protection to the insured for increased repair cost that can be triggered by building codes and ordinances.  In many municipalities when substantial building damage occurs, those buildings must be rebuilt and rebuilt to current code.  These building code updates are often not covered by the standard property policy because they are looked at as putting the insured in a better position than they were before a claim which is not the intent of insurance.  The insured must rely on “Ordinance or Law” coverage to help pay to reconstruct back to current code.

The three components of this coverage are:
  • Coverage A: Loss of Value to the Undamaged Portion of the Building-Can cover the cost to rebuild the undamaged portion of the insured building.
  • Coverage B: Demolition coverage-covers the cost of demolition of the undamaged portions of the building in an effort to bring the building back to code.
  • Coverage C: Increased Cost of Construction-This provides for the increased cost to build back to code. 
So who needs this coverage?  The obvious answer is any association where the buildings are older would have more exposure to these types of claims.  However, as a general rule of thumb this is not an expensive line item on the property insurance policy and I suggest that all associations at least entertain this coverage. 

Make sure to check back next Monday for the final installment of this insurance series!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

ACM Summer Office Hours

ACM's Summer Office Hours begin this week! From Friday, June 26, 2015 through Friday, September 4, 2015, our offices will be closing at 1:00 PM on Friday's. 

If you have an emergency during that time, please call (410) 997-7767 and follow the prompts for emergency services. You can also visit us online at www.acmhome.com, to view association and account information.

New Employee Spotlight


ACM is excited to welcome Melissa Ramsey, joining our Accounting Department as a Regional Accounting Analyst. Melissa comes to ACM with over 15 years experience in Accounting; 10 of those years were spent working with Jenark - the Accounting system utilized by ACM! Welcome, Melissa! 

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Top 10 Association Insurance Questions - Part 8

Today we discuss the eighth installment of "The Top 10 Questions asked by Board Members and Community Managers Regarding HOA and Condo Association Insurance." 

By: Brian J. Finnerty (CIC), Area Sr. Vice President, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services

Question 8:
Does my association need work comp?

Answer:
Work Comp is a statutory coverage and whether or not you have to carry work comp is typically outlined by your state. It provides protection to “Covered” employees for on the job injuries. In any association where there are paid W2 employees we always recommend this coverage. We also recommend as general risk management that any subcontract labor working directly for the association be mandated to have workers comp and general liability.  

Next week we discuss question nine! Be sure to check back on Monday.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Employee Spotlight - Community Management Department

ACM is excited to welcome two new additions to our Community Management Department!


Dawn Beeker

Dawn is the newest Community Association Manager assigned to the Howard County region of ACM's Community Management Department. Dawn comes to ACM with experience in apartment management, on-site management and community association management. She has earned her CMCA designation through CAI. Welcome, Dawn!



Esther Robinson

Esther is the newest Community Association Manager assigned to the Anne Arundel/Prince George's/Montgomery County region of ACM's Community Management Department. Esther comes to us with property management experience and an ARM designation from IREM. Welcome, Esther!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

ACM Names New Chief Operating Officer



ACM is proud to announce the naming of our new Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Theresa Edwards! Ms. Edwards joined ACM as Vice President of Accounting in 2009 to support ACM’s growth, implementing new and innovative concepts to streamline the accounting systems and procedures.

 As a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with over 15 years of experience, Edwards' background includes having served as an Assistant Controller with an international hotel chain, Senior Finance Officer with two multi-million dollar Washington DC non-profit organizations, and Senior Development Accountant – lending real estate development support to the CFO – with an Arlington based real estate developer/management company. She earned a full academic scholarship to the esteemed George Washington University, where she received her degree in Business Administration. She was honored as a National Scholar of the Horatio Alger Association for Distinguished Americans. In her spare time, she has served as a mentor for underprivileged youths. 

Excited for the challenge of her new position, Ms. Edwards states, “I am honored to follow a rich legacy of seasoned professionals, taking every opportunity to catapult ACM to a place of optimal success, by focusing on education, financial integrity and customer service.”


ACM President Mel Herzberger with Theresa Edwards, ACM's new Chief Operating Officer



Monday, June 15, 2015

New Employee Spotlight - Community Manager Trainees

From left to right - Marnita Davis, Sandra Vann and Christian Klarner


ACM is excited to welcome three new Community Manager Trainees! Our Regional Community Association Managers have developed a Community Association Management training program for our Trainees to participate in to learn the industry and progress to the role of Community Association Manager. We are thrilled to introduce:

Marnita Davis
Ms. Davis joins ACM with 28 years of banking experience, 19 of which were involed with Commercial and Real Estate banking. Welcome, Marnita!

Sandra Vann
Ms. Vann joins ACM with rental and leasing management experience along with a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Baltimore in Business. Welcome, Sandra!

Christian Klarner
Mr. Klarner joins ACM with editing, writing and disputer experience along with being an English major at Loyola University, Maryland. Welcome, Christian!

Welcome to ACM!

The Top 10 Association Insurance Questions - Part 7

Today we discuss the seventh installment of "The Top 10 Questions asked by Board Members and Community Managers Regarding HOA and Condo Association Insurance." 

By: Brian J. Finnerty (CIC), Area Sr. Vice President, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services

Question 7:
What are non-monetary claims?

Answer:
In the context of an association’s insurance policy these are claims that are typically made under a Directors and Officers Liability Policy (D&O).  These are the claims that make up a majority of the claims filed against homeowner association D&O policies.  They are not demanding monetary compensation but rather are looking for a change in a decision that the board has made. 

For, example a lot owner is upset at a recent architectural review committee decision to not allow certain types of fencing and the lot owner sues the board.  If your D&O policy does not have coverage for non-monetary claims the association is left footing the bill for the defense.

Not all D&O policies are the same.  Some limit coverage for non-monetary claims or don’t cover them at all.  Make sure your policy has this coverage.  

Stay tuned for next week for Question 8! 

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Top 10 Association Insurance Questions - Part 6

Today we discuss the sixth installment of "The Top 10 Questions asked by Board Members and Community Managers Regarding HOA and Condo Association Insurance." 

By: Brian J. Finnerty (CIC), Area Sr. Vice President, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services

Question 6:
What is an Umbrella Policy?  

Answer:
An umbrella policy is a policy that provides excess liability limits above and beyond what they have on their general liability policy, auto liability, directors and officer’s liability, employers’ liability, or any other liability policy the carrier has approved to have the umbrella extend over. 

I like to call this “sleep at night” coverage.  Everyone has a different opinion of what the right limit is to carry.  In some cases your governing documents will suggest what limits you must carry and in other cases the discretion of the board is the driver of what is the right limit to carry.  My suggestion is always to at least get a quote.  These policies are more affordable than you might think.  If you have a pool or other amenities that make your association more prone to a large claim then you may want to look at getting higher limits of liability.  When there is the potential of a large claim this is the policy that can protect you.


Be sure to check back next week for Question 7! 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

New Employee Spotlight


ACM extends a warm welcome to Emily Lutz, joining our Accounting and Administrative Department as the Administrative Portfolio Specialist. Emily comes to us with administrative and receptionist experience and will be providing administrative support to our growing Accounting and Administrative portfolio of clients. Welcome, Emily!

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Top 10 Association Insurance Questions - Part 5

Today marks the half way point of "The Top 10 Questions asked by Board Members and Community Managers Regarding HOA and Condo Association Insurance." 

By: Brian J. Finnerty (CIC), Area Sr. Vice President, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services

Question 5:
What is Hired Non-Owned Auto and why do I need it?   

Answer:
“Our association does not have any autos so why do we need this coverage?” is the question I get asked at least once a week. The question is not a bad one since the associations usually don’t have any owned autos. The term “vicarious liability” is why you need and want this coverage.

For example, if you have a board member that has an offsite meeting with a vendor, contractor, etc. and on the way to the meeting has a major accident that was deemed to be their fault they will get asked the details of their trip. When they mention doing work for the association we often see the association get named in the lawsuit as well. Without some form of auto liability coverage the association could be left bare and have to defend and pay this claim on their own. Insurance companies recognize this is a limited exposure for associations and the premium represents that.   


Be sure to check in next week for the next question and answer! 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

New Employee Spotlight

ACM is excited to welcome David Boyce, joining our firm as the newest Property Manager! David comes to us with almost 30 years experience in the Property Management industry and a B.S. degree in Psychology and Business as well as a Masters degree in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University.

Welcome, David!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New Employee Spotlight

ACM extends a warm welcome to Michelle Nicholson joining our team as a Community Association Manager! Michelle comes to us with 10 years of community association management experience within various positions. She is from Maryland and joins many of the fellow employees in cheering for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens!

Welcome, Michelle!

Congratulations!



Congratulations to the following ACM team members who have successfully completed the M-100 “Essentials of Community Association Management” course and exam!

Mariah Connolly, Administrative Team
Amber Courtock, Administrative and Accounting Portfolio Team
Melody Flippo, Community Manager
Nicole Metz, Community Manager

This achievement is the first step toward earning a professional designation
in community association management!

The Top 10 Association Insurance Questions Continues!

We are up to question 4 of "The Top 10 Questions asked by Board Members and Community Managers Regarding HOA and Condo Association Insurance."

By: Brian J. Finnerty (CIC), Area Sr. Vice President, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services

Question 4:
What do I need to have on my HO6 policy?

Answer:
What I suggest to most people is to have the association documents available when you talk to your personal insurance agent.  The state of Maryland makes it easier than a lot of other states because of the condominium law that governs the master policy and what it should cover.

So your personal agent should be familiar with the basics of what limits you need to carry on your HO6 policy.  Here are some items to consider however:
  •  How much in improvements and betterments have been made to your unit since original purchase?
  • How much in value do you have in furnishings and personal belongings
  • Have you considered a personal umbrella?
    • This policy can extend your liability limits above what you have on your auto and your homeowner liability
  • Do you have a personal articles floater?
    • Many items like jewelry have limitations on what the base property policy will pay.  By asking about a personal articles floater you can protect the full value of your more valuable items.
  • Have you considered “loss assessment” coverage?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

ACM Staff Apple Training




In ACM’s ongoing effort to transition to Mac computers, we sent our first group of employees to a training session at an Apple store. The Training Specialist at Apple reviewed Mac basics and answered questions from our staff. The Creative Specialist from the Apple Team said that our people were energetic, positive and eager to learn. Here’s what a few of our team members had to say:

The training today was excellent . This was a great opportunity to learn about key features and shortcuts that I was totally unaware of . The instruction was excellent and I left knowing that I can create and organize my files easier and have better overall access to information as I need it. Looking forward to more. 
Regional Manager, Charlene Pindell

Training was great. One of my biggest issues was getting my files and emails organized and now I know how. Sharing, air drop, drop box and so on. If you ever want to sign me up for another class I'm all in.
Community Manager, Michelle Alexander

Training was great! Very informative, showed us short cuts to navigate though systems, as well and filing and organizational techniques. I was very impressed. 
Administrative Assistant, Ashlee Miller


Next up - IPad training and more Mac training for new users.

ACM Welcomes Cynthia Hitt Kent and Ursula K. Burgess Special Guest Seminar Presenters



One week ago today, ACM hosted our first Board member training seminar of 2015. Our goal was helping Board members to better understand and navigate their association’s governing documents. Record attendance numbers proved the topic is one of great importance and even greater challenge among Association Board members. In order to tackle this complex subject area, ACM welcomed two expert attorneys in the field:  Cynthia Hitt Kent of the Law Offices of Cynthia Hitt Kent, and Ursula K. Burgess of Rees Broome PC.

Seminar Speaker Cynthia Hitt Kent

Nearly 70 Board members chose to attend one of three learning opportunities: two on-site sessions on May 14th, led by Ms. Kent, and an afternoon webinar on May 15th, led by Ms. Burgess. Guest feedback was compellingly positive; both speakers presented engaging and immensely helpful sessions. Board members came away with a practical understanding of the document hierarchy and the why’s and how’s of the purpose behind the creation of the documents themselves. 


Webinar recording link available by request.

ACM is grateful to our speakers and to our sponsors, American Bank and Atlantic Maintenance Group, who partnered with us to host this event for our Association Board members.
If you missed last week's sessions, you can still benefit by requesting an electronic copy of the seminar reference materials or a link to view the webinar recording. Email ACM Marketing Coordinator Sara Rolf at srolf@communitymanagers.net to take advantage of these learning opportunities!


Thanks American Bank for sponsoring our mid-day session!


Thanks AMG for sponsoring our evening session!