January 1, 2017    Margo Crummack, CEO/Principal at Crummack Huseby, Inc.   

Raising assessments is arguably one of the most unfavorable acts a board can take in the eyes of many consumers. 

The discussion about the adequacy of your assessment rate should be held each year during the budgeting process and then monitored through the next operating year. Here are some factors to monitor and consider this operating year and in your next round of budget meetings…

1. Change in minimum wage

As this is implemented, maintenance contracts will be impacted.  Be prepared for increased proposals coming your way.

2. The Cost of Health Insurance

This topic is a bit of a roller coaster ride and something to keep a close eye on. Benefit packages are crucial to obtaining and retaining high quality employees and service provider partners.

3. Inflation

We haven’t seen a spike in inflation, but we will.  At minimum, boards should implement small incremental assessment increases to match the rate of inflation.  Also, close attention should be paid to the inflation rate factored into reserves.

4. Changes in Policy or Operating Guidelines

Each year bills are introduced to the Senate.  Some of these bills result in new policies and  procedures or safety guidelines, creating additional responsibilities for management and/or the contractors that service your communities, which could add additional costs.

5. Alternative Products

New products and innovations are always being introduced into the market.  Seeking out opportunities to identify products that may have a longer life or create an efficiency that can save dollars or reduce employee load should constantly be on the radar.

6. Staying Competitive

In order to stay relevant, think about ways and means to keep your infrastructure up-to-date with trends in order to compete with other communities in your area.  Don’t lose sight of the vast amount of new developments that are introducing facilities and lifestyle options that are driven by wants of consumer.  Older communities must compete with this market segment for buyers.

Making small incremental adjustments to your budget on an annual basis will:
  • Avoid large assessment increases that surprise and inflame your membership.
  • Avoid putting you in a position where you are looking to reduce services to save a dollar here and there, but do not meet membership expectations.
  • Avoid putting yourselves in a deferred maintenance position where you start to shift one component in favor of another. This can cause systems to fail and affect your curb appeal, which affects pride of ownership and can cause owner’s to begin it migrate out of the community.

So What’s the Goal?

The goal is and always has been to protect the assets for which the association was created to maintain, repair and replace.  It is the most important job of a board of directors. If you have not had a discussion about the above factors, it’s a good time to start with the new year upon us!  

Think about creating a strategic plan for your community.  What do you need or want to accomplish this year, next year and beyond?  Do you have adequate resources to achieve those goals?  If not, I hope the above will give you a filter to push your budget through.  Any adjustments that need to be made can be identified as you move through this year and put on agenda for your next round of budget discussions.

I wish you all continued success and applaud your volunteer spirit!



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Co-founders, Margo Crummack and Sandra Huseby saw a need for a more personal and personalized approach to property management. Since 1999, when Crummack Huseby, Inc. began, their mission was a breath of fresh air within their industry: to create an open dialogue with communities, to focus on the core of a community, and to customize management styles to suit what’s best for that particular community. 

Since 1988, Margo’s unique mission has inspired change within communities, and insightful contributions to the industry. “I teach our team members to work with the board, but more importantly, to seek and embrace the heartbeat and attitude of the communities they serve.” 

Always advocating for continued learning, Margo encourages an environment of “training, motivating, and innovating” for herself, Crummack Huseby’s employees, and their clients. She is also a well-respected speaker and educator within the industry, serving on the Education Committee for CAI-OC and authoring articles for CACM and CAI


Our team of HOA experts and community managers always puts people first. We know you’re not just a board of directors but you’re a part of the community, working together with your neighbors. Crummack Huseby Property Management, Inc., treats you like a neighbor too, respecting your decisions and collaborating to create a unique homeowner experiences all year long. Our unmistakable team and unparalleled approach to HOA management services sets us apart. Let us help your community stand out. When you’re ready for us, we’ll be here for you.  For more information, visit or call 888-399-9430 Toll Free

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