Whether you live in Brookline or Boston, Cambridge or Somerville, major capital improvement projects like façade restoration, elevator refurbishment or roof replacement can be a big problem for condo, co-op and HOA boards and managers—especially if they haven't been planned or budgeted for.
There's always the temptation to say, "There won't be any problem with the roof for another three years, at least," or "We'll look at the cost of replacing those old windows next year," or "We'll think about getting a special assessment in two years or so."
If you're not careful, it can only take one major problem, such as the roof developing a serious leak, to throw the board into a panic, and residents into mutiny.
And true, while every building board or condo association should use the services of a CPA or other financial professional to help them navigate the waters of funding, there are some things that informed board members and managers should know to make things go smoother.
Reserve, Reserve, Reserve
When it comes to major capital improvements, the phrases most important to know are "reserve study" and "reserve—or contingency—fund."