Pamela Dittmer McKuen writes about residential real estate, home design trends and community associations for the Chicago Tribune and ...
March 24, 2015
In the not-too-distant future, community associations could launch camera-equipped, unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, for many routine tasks. They will be able to examine buildings for leaks and damage, check on the performances of contractors and find illegal barbecue grills on upper balconies.
March 9, 2015
Community associations need two pots of money, an operating account and a reserve account. The first is for paying day-to-day bills, and the second is for occasional big-ticket items like roofs and boilers.
February 24, 2015
A common misconception about the community association lifestyle is you don't have to do anything. Taking care of the property is someone else's job, or so many buyers believe. It's not true.
February 10, 2015
The second stage of Chicago's Building Energy Use Benchmarking Ordinance has kicked in, and for the first time many residential buildings must comply. Residential buildings include condominiums, co-operatives and apartments.
January 26, 2015
Illinois community associations may now communicate electronically with their owners, but that doesn't mean they can cut their paper and postage budgets. Many practical details must be worked out before any savings are realized.
January 12, 2015
Choosing a manager is one of the most important decisions a community association will make. Because managers are closely involved in daily functions and future planning, their performance — or lack thereof — has a major effect on the association's financial stability and resident satisfaction.
November 17, 2014
Chicago's oldest high-rises are running out of time to comply with the Life Safety Evaluation Ordinance. Owners have until year's end to make their buildings safer in event of a fire.
November 6, 2014
Most board members at community associations are well-intended homeowners who want to do a good job. But few have expertise in property management, much less the legal and financial nuances of their decisions. Mistakes frequently occur.
October 21, 2014
When shopping for a condominium or town house, checking out living spaces is easy. But getting information about building maintenance or the inner workings of the association is much harder. Until now.
October 11, 2014
Get a bunch of community association homeowners in a room and what do they talk about? Money, money and snow.
September 26, 2014
For most community associations, cooler weather signals the start of budget season. It's the time of year when boards and finance committees hammer out the next year's expenses and income.
September 12, 2014
Condominium assessments continue to go up, and so do the bills for taking care of the buildings.
August 29, 2014
The Community Association Manager Licensing and Disciplinary Act is undergoing its first major revision.
August 4, 2014
The communications mainstay for community associations long has been the printed newsletter, either mailed to owners or slipped under doors.
July 20, 2014
An Illinois bill awaiting the governor's signature or veto has deeply divided a constituency with a shared goal: getting new owners into foreclosed condominiums.
July 6, 2014
Well-run community associations keep two pots of money. One is the operating account, used for the day-to-day costs of running the association and maintaining the property. The other is the reserve account, which is earmarked for the repair and replacement of big-ticket common elements.
June 20, 2014
A community association is a popular lifestyle choice for many people, but it has been difficult to determine just how many — until now.
June 6, 2014
Community associations hire dozens of contractors to perform myriad maintenance and administrative tasks.
May 27, 2014
Longtime board members can be a strong asset to a community association. They often are well-versed in the property's daily operations, policies, procedures, finances and building construction. They may know many, if not all, the residents by name and unit number, and perhaps even their pets.
May 14, 2014
With the harsh winter finally behind us, here's a refreshing thought: Outdoor swimming pools will open in a couple of weeks. Community associations and their crews are bustling to get facilities in tiptop shape for Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the season.
April 27, 2014
Asked for accommodations by owners who claim disabilities, community associations often respond in one of two ways: They take a hard line and deny all requests, or they always say yes for fear of lawsuits.
April 13, 2014
Got a question about how your community association should spend its money or run an election? Or what kinds of insurance you need?
March 30, 2014
Condominium owners cannot stop paying their assessments because they are unhappy about how the property is taken care of, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled March 20.