8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Strata Manager

Our insider tips to the questions you should be asking your prospective Strata Manager.

Good or bad, most people judge an entire strata agency on the working relationship they have with their strata manager.

We have prepared this short list of questions that you should be asking prior to making a decision to appoint a new Strata Agent.

How many buildings does your proposed new Strata Manager already look after

Your entire strata experience depends on this simple question. Most agents manage large portfolios, to the point where they can spend most of their time putting out spot fires rather than giving you the proactive service that you are looking for.

What’s included in the monthly management fee

Most agencies charge a monthly management fee which covers agreed services. Works performed outside of the agreed services are charged as an additional fee. You can negotiate with an agency to have fixed price disbursements to give you a clearer understanding of how much your scheme will be paying per year.

Qualifications

The Strata Manager that will be managing your building should at least hold a Certificate 4 in Strata Title Management. Ideally this would have been gained through a Tafe course. It is possible to get a Certificate 4 in Strata Management by paying to do a 2 week course. It is also a good idea to ask how long they have been with the agency.

Experience

When approaching a potential new agent, it’s a fair question to ask how much experience the strata manager has that will actually be managing your building and in case things do go wrong, how much experience they have in attending mediation and tribunal hearings.

Reporting

How often are financial reports generated and are they delivered just the treasurer to the entire committee? Ideally this will be available on a monthly basis.

Service Level Agreements

Strata management is customer service. Your new agent should be able to provide you with time frames of when your requests will be actioned, emails replied to and telephone calls returned.

Your money, your input

It’s your building and you don’t necessarily want the Strata Manager to do everything, so it’s important to clarify how much input will you have in approving creditor payments and what level of input will the committee have when the agent is preparing the proposed budget.

Agreement terms

When appointing a new agent, most will try to lock you in for the maximum period of 3 years. If the services doesn’t meet your expectations you are locked in for the term of the agreement, unless your scheme decides to pay out the remaining term of the agreement. It is a better option to sign a one year agreement and see how things go.

More Home Inspection Surprises

When inspecting homes, ordinary doors can provide a surprise. Some doors lead to rooms, some doors lead to a dark void, and some doors are curiously locked. Sometimes you get all three.

I was inspecting a large vacation home north of Cashiers, North Carolina, on a fast running creek. It was full of boulders, twists and turns, and waterfalls. The drive to the home was narrow and steep, leading to a heavy gate. The remote the agent gave me worked, and the gates slowly opened on complaining hinges.

The house was beautifully built into the side of the granite ledges, with stunning floor to ceiling windows. Although the home had a small footprint – perhaps 1500 square feet – two stories towered upwards, taking advantage of the very steep lot. The home had been foreclosed on, and was now vacant.

The first part of the inspection on the first floor revealed no anomalies. I started up the stairs to move upwards and noticed a closet door with a deadbolt lock. When you see something like this, owners are usually trying to protect something. Normally I note in the report that I could not access the closet or room, but in this case the bank was the owner and I doubted that they knew anything about this locked door.

I quickly got on the phone to the real estate agent.

“I’ll call the bank,” she said.

Three minutes later the phone rang.

“No one has a key to that door. If we did I’d say enter and report what you find. Can you pick it?”

“I’m no locksmith. No problem, I’ll put it in my report,” I said and hung up.

But I was curious.

I ran my hand across the top of the door trim which is where I “hide” a key. My fingers encountered an object with Velcro stuck to the trim. A key! I put the key in the lock and tried rotating it. It worked! Leaving the key in the tumbler, I turned the knob and opened the door.

A black void.

I pulled out my flashlight and aimed it into the area. A black metal circular staircase came into view. Now I felt like Nancy Drew. I started slowly down the narrow stairs and began to hear the sound of water. When I reached the bottom, my feet were on an uneven stone floor and I was in a room about six by six feet with two more doors in the walls. I looked around for a switch. I found it on the opposite wall. I flipped the switch and light filled the room. I was amazed to see that the walls were carved into the cliff.

One closet was a tiny space with an electrical box. The other door was locked with a deadbolt like the one upstairs.

“Oh! I left the key upstairs,” I said to myself. “Shoot, I’ll have to go back up and get it.”

I went back up the circular staircase to retrieve it. I moved back down the stairs to the locked door. The key worked, and I opened the door. I was in a very narrow passageway. The walls were solid rock and I could see the furrows where blasting caps had been used. I was feeling a little claustrophobic. Should I keep going?

The sound of water grew stronger as I moved slowly down the cavern path. After traveling 12 feet, I was suddenly outside! The waterfall that was visible from inside the home was directly in front of me.

What a surprise! Never underestimate what might be behind a locked door.

Lisa is a North Carolina licensed general contractor and home inspector, and the home improvement columnist for the Clay County Progress. She has designed and built several innovative homes with an eye to low maintenance and simplicity. Lisa founded Your Inspection Expert, Inc., a residential inspection company, in 2008. Experience gleaned from hundreds of inspections form the foundation for the advice in her articles.

Tips on Choosing an Ideal Cabin

When you are choosing an ideal cabin, then it can be a bit intimidating, especially when you have no idea where to start. There are some aspects that are worth consideration and they include:

The appearance:

You should always start with something that is appealing to you. Since this is something that you will always have to live with, it is important to be proud of it. Choosing the ideal factory means that you will have a wide range to select from. Essentially, you will have so many options that can be included and the company can integrate some of your suggestions.

Flooring:

Natural timber is always an ideal material for the floor. The thickness of the floor is also as important. Choosing a thinner flooring means that you will feel like you are bouncing around. This is one of the reasons as to why you should consider flooring that is 28 mm in thickness.

Glazing, doors, and windows:

If the intention is to have a garden room or a home office, then you should go for double-glazing. There are some instances when single glazing can still be perfect. The doors and the windows also need to be perfect. It is important to make sure that these are able to serve the purpose for which they are meant and with great ease.

Insulation:

It is possible to insulate just the under the floor. Some can also be insulated within the roof. If you are planning to use it as a permanent accommodation, or even as an office, then an insulated cabin is the best option for you. There are some that include an outer wall and an inner one. This thickness provides great rigidity and little distortion. The cavity or gap that is within offers insulation. You can make your own specifications if you choose to go bespoke.

Size:

The size always matters. It is very important to have a size that meets all your needs and fits your space.

Wall thickness:

There are different thicknesses that you can think of. Choose the thickest that you can afford. When you choose a thicker option, it will be more robust and will be better when it comes to insulation. It will also last long. Choose a provider who has a wide choice of thickness options.

The roof finish:

It is important to choose a roof that will last long and look great at the same time. Do not go for the DIY ones. You should appreciate the fact that roofing is a material that is specialized. You should always go for quality. You will always have a great product when it conforms to the set standards. There are manufacturers that offer long term guarantees and these are the best to go for.

Treatment:

Since wood is natural, it looks amazing. It is also important to care for it as much as you can. It is important to have the wood treated with the best stain. A preserver is also a good idea. This is one of the ways in which you can guarantee that it will last a long time.

Log cabins factory Lithuania offers you the best options when it comes to finding the greatest variety and the best homes. This is where quality is upheld at all times to ensure customer satisfaction.