This blog category is for information relating to Condominium Associations/ Home Owner Associations in Massachusetts

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Just how important is property management when it comes to condos? What are some of the ways a good management company can make a big difference?

The need for great property management is often overlooked by real estate investors, and even condo and homeowners associations themselves. So just how bad can it get? How can a good condo management firm help?

The Devastating Expense of Poor Condo Management

There are obviously two parts to managing condos. There is the property management of the community on behalf of the association. Then there is property management for individual unit owners who acquire condos as an investment, or who do not live in them full time. Both types of management can have a massive impact on individual unit performance, and the solvency of the entire community.

It all really trickles down to values.

Poorly managed condos bring down both the value of individual units, and the entire property.

This is seriously bad news for all owners. And it can happen a lot faster than you think. Poor unit management can degrade unit value and income potential. In a condo building neglected maintenance, and bad tenants and owners can absolutely roll over and afflict neighboring units too.

Then there is the association and community property. Poorly maintained property and records can quickly limit which lenders will make loans in the development, the appeal of buying in the complex, and then the values.

When the housing market dove in the early 2000s many associations literally went broke, or at least pulled back so far on services and maintenance that units couldn’t be bought and sold, even if people would take the risk on buying them. The result is already that even though we are now in great times, many are still gripped with fear of buying condos and other properties in associations.

Nine Ways a Good Property Management Company Can Help

  1. Property maintenance and repairs
  2. Delivering discounts on vendor services
  3. Weight in getting vendors to perform better
  4. Enforcement of condo association rules
  5. Minimizing the impact of rogue board members
  6. Dealing with tenants, and tenant-landlord compliance
  7. Optimizing budgets
  8. Professional bookkeeping and record keeping to optimize values
  9. Facilitating the exit of bad apples, while encouraging good owners and tenants to come in


Management makes all the difference when it comes to condos. It’s the difference between bankruptcy and worse, versus very profitable and enjoyable investments. Unfortunately, in spite of the best intentions some board members and unit owners don’t have the broad and deep industry expertise to optimize management in all aspects. That’s where a great property management company can make all the difference.


A dynamic twist in trends, reportedly has retailers looking to invest in their real estate again. So as the spotlight is turned back on brick and mortar shopping where are the opportunities for commercial real estate investors, and what strategies are critical to remember during renovations?

A booming Massachusetts rental market has been both swelling the pockets of multifamily apartment building owners in the Northeast, and discouraging some commercial real estate investors from jumping in. Almost everything has been moving in favor of multifamily property owners recently. According to the Boston Globe vacancy rates have dipped to around 4%, while rents have skyrocketed by over 20% in some areas. Even mortgage interest rates have been sliding down again. This is providing incredible cash flow levels for landlords. However, asking prices of income investment properties are certainly rising too, which can be a concern for the adamant bargain hunter looking for a steal.

For those looking for a new real estate sector to tackle which promises significant growth ahead, it might be worth taking another look at what Massachusetts retail property has to offer, including local shopping plazas and mixed-use buildings.

Until recently many were concerned that rapidly developing technology could negatively impact brick and mortar retail. However, that now does not appear to be the case, with the lines literally blurring between virtual and reality, and several signals that suggest the retail sector has come full circle, and back to the neighborhood, and local high street.

Since last year there have been rumblings in the retail industry as some major technology platforms and companies began investing as much as 100% of new funding in brick and mortar real estate and offline sales mediums.

2014 Internet Week in NYC held last month revealed several more up and coming retail brands, including what would be considered tech startups launched by young entrepreneurs which are that are not just downplaying online shopping, but are actually morphing themselves into brick and mortar retail stores.

Both big and small businesses alike have also realized that real estate is far more important to their long term success and profitability than it has been before.

However, many existing retail properties require some serious rehab, especially in order to attract the best tenants and reach their full performance potential. Whether it is gutting an anchor tenant space, or simply upgrading fascia, signage and curb appeal, the amount of strategy put into project planning and timelines can make a huge difference.

Especially when there are existing tenants, keeping public perception and passing traffic in mind is critical to maximizing performance. What’s going in the space? How great is it going to be? Why should we look for a place to live closer to this shopping plaza, or try to negotiate a lease there now? These are all questions that should be dealt with and answered.

Exterior repairs and retail property repositioning can be an incredible opportunity, with plenty of PR ops. Or it can be a letdown. The same goes for office buildings and multifamily too. Talk to an experienced property management firm and leverage their expertise to maximize your investment property potential.

What were the real estate and finance trends for real estate investors?

Overall capital flow and transaction volume was set new highs, but more significantly will be new, and recurring twists in the market which changes where the value and best returns are. This is likely be especially be seen in northeast markets like Massachusetts.

US Markets Switching Up Positions

While San Francisco, Miami, Austin, and even New York and Boston have bounced back, and are pushing highs, 2015 is likely to see not only the smart money, but many lower level investors and lenders embracing secondary markets in earnest. In Massachusetts this means markets like Worcester could see performance outpacing central Boston.

Foreign Real Estate Investors

While around 80% of global investors said they planned to expand their positions in US real estate, a new DLA Piper State of the Market Report suggests foreign investors will be the most active in the US real estate market in the year ahead. Expect major changes overseas to drive even larger and wealthier investors to America.

Commercial Mortgages

According to CCIM coverage the US is facing a 2 year “tsunami of loans” coming due. On one hand this brings concern to borrowers that took out commercial mortgage loans when underwriting was incredibly lax and LTVs were high. Of $350B in loans coming due, many won’t qualify to refinance, especially unless they can come up with sizable chunks of principal to pay down. On the reverse side of the coin this will create incredible opportunity for value investors to step in with solutions, or acquire Worcester, MA multifamily and retail properties at deep discounts.

Retail Takes the Lead

The PwC Real Estate Investor Survey in the 3rd quarter of 2014 should expectations are that retail will lead the commercial real estate world in 2015 and into 2016.

Condo Hotels Make a Comeback

In November 2014 the CCIM Institute reported that it believes the JOBS act has made condo hotels easier to sell, and together with improving fundamentals is becoming more profitable.

Rising Rents, But…

Rents on retail and multifamily properties are only expected to rise for the foreseeable future. However, some already hot markets could run into affordability issues, and eventually the need for rent controls of some form or another. This makes the case for investing in cheaper secondary and tertiary markets like Worcester even stronger.

Easier Borrowing, Maybe

Relaxed lending is reportedly on its way, facilitated by the government. Many argue borrowing is already significantly easier, though just how much easier it will become in the coming years, will have to be seen as the issue is so political.

Real estate

Real estate may seem the safest and most rewarding investment option on the landscape today, but how do busy professionals take advantage of the property market efficiently?

The fears about stocks, tech, bonds, gold, and oil all seem to be kicking in. Yet, over half of American professionals admit they are poorly prepared for retirement. Even among those that are confident, many might be being a little too optimistic. At the same time while real estate beckons many individuals simply don’t want to toss their careers to become full time house flippers or landlords. So what’s the solution?

This is a pressing issue facing boomers and generation X. And it is as bad for educated professionals with good salaries as everyone else. Millennials may have time to take a few detours, attempt launching their own startups, and then panic and hustle to catch up on savings and investment later, maybe. But what about your doctors, professors, lawyers, teachers, and others?

Real estate beckons due to standing out as one of the only investment options that offers literal concrete safety. And the icing on the cake is high yields, cash flow, and asset appreciation. With today’s combination of low asset prices, rock bottom interest rates for leverage, and a sunny outlook for growth it’s hands down the best option on the table. In fact, it’s virtually a necessity for everyone’s portfolio. But there are challenges.

Many people just aren’t gifted with the skills for the manual labor it takes to fix up properties. Others don’t want to be dealing with late night tenant phone calls, or simply can’t fit it into their schedules. What busy professional do you know wants to be trudging off to unclog toilets at 2am, forgoing vacations to bang on doors for rents, or get into verbal lashing matches with renters?

Fortunately real estate investment has changed by leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. Digital signatures, online data, easy to navigate property search platforms, and online banking make it almost a breeze to get from A-Z. You can now find, bid on, negotiate, and fund real estate deals without ever leaving your office or oceanfront balcony. Many can do it without ever picking up a phone anymore. That just leaves property management.

The best property in the world, with the greatest potential is only going to perform as good as the management. So one of the first steps in the process needs to be selecting a reputable and effective local property management company. They ought to be on the ground day one, and preferably even familiar with the property and deal before that. Providing they hit the ground running right away busy professionals can effectively create their own turnkey real estate deals. This maximizes value, spreads, and net overall returns.

Then it’s just a matter of getting on with life, with the confidence your future and current finances are performing well…

Smart Property Management

The recent massive blizzard is a fresh reminder for MA income property owners to be strategic and prepared for anything in their real estate investment portfolio. So what smart moves can help Mass. investors better secure their performance?

Major snow falls, wind storms, and other natural disasters can bring a variety of threats to real estate investors. Aside from the direct threat of property damage, there are risks of being injured trying to get out and manage properties, and interruptions to income. With this in mind here are just some of the considerations and smart plays for MA real estate investors to make to reduce risks and maximize long term returns…

Smarter Acquisition Strategy

In order to minimize risk and ensure consistent results investors should start with a smart acquisition strategy. This will take into account the strength of individual properties to weather storms, as well as ensure diversification. Rather than putting all eggs into one basket consider more properties and units. For example; those investing in Boston, might be well advised to diversify with properties further from the coast in Worcester County.

Proactive Maintenance

A proactive approach to property maintenance will help Mass. landlords to stay ahead of the game, and minimize the financial impact and anxiety when storms are approaching.

Get Insured

Even if paying all cash for investment properties in Massachusetts, or holding them free and clear, insurance is just wise. In addition to basic property insurance this might also include business insurance, gap insurance to cover cash flow shortfalls, and requiring tenants to have their own insurance too. Remember to review insurance coverage regularly and adjust as needed. With allowing policies to lapse being one of the most common issues when investors need to make claims; look to direct deposit, or other systems to automate payments so that you are never left exposed.

Planning & Preparation

It’s important for income property investors to have a plan for dealing with severe weather and natural disasters in advance. Who will get out to prepare properties in advance, and who will be the first out as soon as it is safe to clean up properties and secure them? How will records be kept secure so they are not lost?

Reserves and Proper Expectations

One of the biggest pitfalls of blizzards and hurricanes is that most investors aren’t prepared for the potential income interruption. Retail tenants can be hit if consumers can’t make it out to shop. Office tenants can suffer if communications, or banking services are down for extended periods of time, and residential tenants might be snowed in and unable to work for several days or weeks. So expect to have to negotiate and work with them, and for income to stall and come in more slowly.

Professional Property Management

Fortunately MA real estate investors can alleviate most of the above, and skillfully and successfully navigate the potential issues while staying warm if they have professional property management in place well in advance.

Real Estate Investing Worcester

According to the latest report from Trulia Worcester, MA still offers real estate investors some of the best value and deals in the country. So just how does Worcester stack up, and what resources can help income property investors maximize the opportunities?

Giant online listing platform and data compiler Trulia’s latest Bubble Watch report pegs Worcester, Massachusetts one of America’s top 10 most undervalued metros. In contrast to Austin, Texas which was considered as almost 20% overvalued as of the 4th quarter 2014, Worcester was evaluated as 15% undervalued in terms of housing prices.

This puts Worcester on par with real estate investment bargains in Detroit, MI and Akron, Dayton, and Cleveland, OH, only being located in the economically superior northeast. This new data should make Worcester truly stand out for both investors throughout New England and global property investors looking to expand portfolios in the US. According to surveys earlier this year around 80% of US millionaires and foreign investors said real estate was their top pick, and would be increasing investment this year.

Worcester’s proximity to Boston also promises continuing improvements to fundamentals. Local house prices and rents will keep growing as inflation and rising living and housing costs drive more further outwards from Boston, and as businesses and workers are able to maintain and improve lifestyle and revenues thanks to better connectivity, and remote working.

Lower barriers to credit and increased pressure on lenders to inject capital into the market is not only making it easier for MA real estate investors to capitalize on current opportunities, but in turn will elevate property values and returns for investors. Lenders like Indianapolis based Rental Home Financing are offering new investment property loans for bulk purchases of single family homes, expanded credit approvals for apartment buildings, and refinance loans to expand rental portfolios, as well as loans for foreign nationals.

Still, it is no secret that realizing the maximum benefit from opportunities like this comes down to property management, especially for out of area, or overseas investors. In fact, many may find it smart to consult a local Worcester, Mass. property management company before closing so they can verify and back up assumptions on rents, rental demand, local occupancy rates, and typical operational costs, etc.

There are a number of factors to look at when selecting a property management service you’re your Worcester income properties, however finding a professional firm and team that shares your values and strategy is really what matters and will dictate performance when all other factors are equal.

In summary; Worcester, MA offers some of the best value property deals for investors in the US today. Capital is plentiful. Yet, to fully maximize returns and rewards find a great match in a local property management company early.

return on investment

What best practices and property management strategies can help commercial real estate owners maximize the ROI on their repairs?

Some see multifamily, office and retail property repairs and replacement needs as a pain, and drain on resources and cash flow. Others approach them as an opportunity to elevate their returns, and have a plan to maximize returns at every step, even when that means fixing something that’s broken.

1. Don’t Defer Property Maintenance

Deferred maintenance is not just bad business it has a negative impact on property value, and can become a serious financial liability. Tackle issues early, save money, and increase equity and income.

2. Leverage Your Property Manager for Contacts

No serious commercial real estate investor ought to be attempting DIY management. A good property management firm can pay for itself, even just from access to reputable and reliable contractors. These relationships can often ensure priority being placed on work needed, and help gain discounts to overall volume of work a management company orders from contractors.

3. Do it Right the First Time

Landlords wincing at the cost of making repairs certainly can’t afford to continuously re-patch and redo repairs because of poor quality short cuts. Do it right the first time. A great maintenance philosophy can go a long way to attracting and keeping the best tenants, and improving total returns.

4. Build up Reserves

Real estate investing is often chosen as a fast path to wealth and extra income by those that desperately need a quick fix. However, savvy commercial property investors recognize the wisdom and necessity of setting aside reserves for maintenance and repairs. Even if resources are tight at the beginning it is only smart to contribute to a reserve account monthly or at least quarterly in order to be prepared for replacements and regular issues that will arise. Being prepared will avoid running into a cash crunch and bringing down returns.

5. Use Renovations as a PR Opportunity

Renovations can actually become highly profitable investments in a macro way if they are turned into PR opportunities. This can be achieved through signage, local and even national news media.

A property manager is an expert in real estate matters. There are important reasons why a property owner should hire property management companies to take care of their real estate investment. This is because the functions of a real estate manager are crucial and are numerous. Their chief function is to deliver all that is expected in full service property management. They oversee all matters to do with building maintenance by carrying out regular inspections and repairs. They involve landscaping, electrical wiring, and plumbing, office leasing, keeping inventory and bookkeeping; plus following up with the contractors who regularly handle certain tasks on the property. They do this with a proper knowledge of the key players in the service delivery from local contractors, dealers and people who are well known to supply quality goods at affordable prices.

All these services pertain to the efficient management of industrial, residential, and commercial properties. The aim is to regard these functions as the integral part of the profitable management of real estate. Property management Worcester County realizes that people often find it pretty challenging to do all these functions by themselves, not just because they have no time for it but also that they may not have the required know how to deal with these tasks. This is why it is necessary to hire property management companies who have the expertise to handle everything for them at a fee. Normally the property management fees are treated as tax deductions, so verify this with the tax office.

Of even greater concern to property owners is the ability to interact with the general public in order to attract suitable tenants and be able to retain them. They can choose to hire an expert with the property marketing experience who can monitor rental listings to achieve a wide exposure for best rental rates, without spending much money, time and effort. It is true that identifying the rental rates that are the best in the market can be a daunting task for a non professional in property matters. The real estate owners benefit a lot when they hire property management companies with qualified personnel.

They have the right resources to handle extensive research on the market activities, and can obtain the perfect tenancy agreement. They also have the capacity to establish a rent collection system to ensure that rents are collected promptly, efficiently and put in the bank. This is great for warding off unnecessary friction or interference with the tenants. It is crucial in matters of office leasing or leasing multi-family apartments in key regions of Northborough, Worcester, Shrewsbury, Auburn, and Westborough.

Well, not all landlords are conversant with the prevailing property laws or regulations to ensure that they are in compliance with the guidelines of the State, or local county laws. They need professional advice or hire property management companies who have this knowledge. They can also look into issues such as prescreening of tenants to verify their security backgrounds. This is a crucial factor in making sure no unsuitable characters end up wrecking the features of the buildings or causing trouble to others. Establishing a Security Deposit Escrow is great for managing security deposit escrow cash because it reassures the tenants that their deposits are in a safe place, when it is in third party account. Hire property management companies that can introduce Emergency Calls Buffer that deals with late night calls for help in case of emergencies on any part of the property.

Affordable Property Management

As a property owner can you really afford not having a qualified property manager on your payroll? It seems like a silly question, but in fact of the reality is that most property owners that own at least four or more residential or commercial properties do not have a full service property management company handling their accounts. Can a property management company add value to your personal investments? The answer is yes. Such companies will add value to your commercial or residential real estate by handling the general tasks that are normally part of the routine of a property owner. There are unique benefits that will cut down costs and increase the value of your properties if you use a property manager.

You may ask what some of these benefits that are offered are. A professional property manager will attract higher quality tenants, decrease your time and cost in the court system, develop a shorter vacancy cycle of your personal properties, better retention of qualified tenants, develop a restrictive rent collection schedule, lower maintenance or repair costs and increase the value of your investment. The time tested benefits will allow you to focus on your business without taking your time to deal with tenants and the problems that arise.

The property management firm can deal with commercial real estate, industrial real estate or residential real estate investments. They will screen potential clients against the criteria that you have set forth and base the acceptance procedure on credit, references or other criteria that you have discussed with the team. They can match qualified tenants that will pay on time, rent for a long period, maintain the unit and cause fewer problems than a high school prom. They will prescreen the candidates with a proven screening process that will prevent a loss of time and profit, which will act like a buffer between you and the potential clients against scams, lawsuits and other negative issues!

Let your professional property manager handle the safety and property conditions of your properties, evictions, inspections, lease changes, lease terminations and other issues that will cut down on your time in court and court fees. Avoiding a single lawsuit can cover the cost of a property management firm cost. The firm can help improve the vacancy cycle by improving the property for rent, determining the best rental value by carefully assessing the market data, marketing the property effectively. Keeping your best tenants is high priority with a property management company; exclusive tools that benefit both you and your tenants will keep both parties happy. This includes everything from low cost maintenance to specialized leasing agreements that can be set up in no time.

Collecting rent and enforcing late payment fees is a strain on your time and distracts from the positive cash flow for your business. The property manager can enforce your late payment policy and collect the rent for you. They can listen to the reasons, chase down the rent and evict the tenant if they meet the conditions of an eviction. A property management company is very cost effective and is a great resource to handle your properties. A great way to save you time and money.


Massachusetts has very clear regulations relating to the operation of a condominium association and the rules and responsibilities of the board, unit owners, and tenants. This link leads to the main page of the MGL Chapter 183a