2020 is finally coming to an end, and with the end of a year comes the budget season. For most property managers budget season can feel overwhelming, but with the right preparations, it can become very manageable, and give you a great opportunity to learn more about your association. Here are a few of our best tips for property managers on how to prepare for budget season.
Get Started Early
One of the best tips for budget season is to get started early. That means starting in mid-summer instead of mid-fall. By starting early, you give yourself more time to handle unexpected issues and distractions that may arise with your association. It’s much more manageable to handle a budget crisis when you have 3 months, rather than 3 weeks to prepare for it. You also allow yourself more time to look at the small details of a budget that would otherwise get missed.
Set Clears Goals and Timeline
As the old saying goes, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. A great way to keep from being overwhelmed by budget season is by setting small timelines and goals. Set aside an hour or two a day that is strictly for reviewing the budget and nothing else. You should also prioritize specific tasks in the budget, for example, start tasks that will require multiple parties to be involved first so that it gives time for others to respond. That way you are not rushing to get answers when the deadline is a week away.
Conduct a Maintenance Review & Property Walk
Life is busy, and sometimes you just do not have the time to leave the office. A great place to start budget season is by conducting a detailed property walk. Keep a lookout for any current or upcoming maintenance issues that will need to be accounted for in the new year’s budget. A property walk also gives you a chance to talk with unit owners to see if they have any concerns regarding the association that may otherwise be overlooked.
Review Your Insurance
Insurance is one of the most important expenses in an annual budget, and on top of that, the insurance industry is changing constantly. It is especially important to review your association’s insurance each year with a licensed agent. Make sure your agent is aware of any additions, extra liabilities, or claims that have occurred during the year. Your agent should also be asking you these questions. If your agent does not review the association’s insurance each year, it might be time to consider a new agent. It is also a great idea to discuss changes in insurance trends with your agent to give yourself the most accurate insurance estimate to add to your budget.
We hope these tips help make the 2020 budget season a little more manageable for you. On top of some great tips, we have created a comprehensive document about changes in the 2020 property insurance market. This PDF will be a great starting point when reviewing your association’s insurance budget for next year. Click here to view PDF.