Too Big, Too Small, or Just Right?!?!

Goldilocks had the right idea!

She knew that it was important to find just the right fit for her; whether it was her love for a comfy bed or the temperature of her dinner.  Finding the right Property Management Company for your community requires this same important consideration.

 Many management companies are owned and operated by national corporations and operate as branch locations for these large corporations or are so vast as to manage properties from Pittsfield to Providence to Portsmouth.

 Since 1973, Crowninshield Management has been specializing in Condominium, Apartment and Commercial property management throughout the North Shore and Southern New Hampshire.   We choose to focus on this geographical service area to optimize the quality of service we can provide to our clients. 

 If your current management company treats you like just another drop in the ocean, contact Crowninshield and see the difference a privately-owned firm focused on personal, attentive service to our clients can mean to your community.

It’s Budget Time!

If your community’s fiscal year ends on December 31st, it should come as no surprise that soon your Community Manager and Board Trustees will begin planning for next year’s budget.

The preparation of an association’s budget is a detailed and lengthy process. They have a lot of work ahead of them.  Over the next few months, managers will be tackling the process outlined below:

  1. Analyze each current expenditure line item to determine the correct level of funding. This process must consider fixed expenses such as multi year service contracts; variable expenses such as increased master insurance premiums, increases in utility costs, and so forth.  This can be a time-consuming process which entails communicating with various municipalities, vendors, and contracts to determine if any cost increases are to be expected.
  2. Determine the appropriate Reserve Funding expense. A recent reserve study is an invaluable tool to help your community determine this expense and stay on track with the appropriate level of funding for future capital expense needs.
  3. Determine income level to fund expenses. Association fees, special assessments, late fee income, income from late fees, storage fees, parking fees, and laundry room income are all examples of income for communities.  Your community may use any, some or all these methods to collect income, but which should be “budgeted”?

Association fees and assessments are legally protected and should be included as should any other fees provided for within the governing documents.  Fees such as late fees, fines and laundry room income should not be included as income in a budget as funds generated from these fees may never be realized.

  1. Determine the difference between the budgeted income and budgeted expense. If the total expenses exceed anticipated income, adjustments will need to be made.
  2. Establish a balanced budget. This may be achieved by either raising the income level (this can be done through an increase in assessments, establishment of a special assessment to meet funding needs, or a combination of both to achieve the amount required) or re-assess expenditure line items to determine if some items may be reduced or eliminated from the budget.

As you can see, the process for creating a thorough and detailed budget can be complicated and should simply rely upon a percentage increase across the board.  If your current Management Company is not providing this detail for you, perhaps it’s time for you to give us a call.

Crowninshield Management is on the Move!

Exciting things are happening at Crowninshield Management and we want to share some important news with you!  Loyalty from clients like you has fueled our growth and assisted to increase our presence as the North Shore’s premiere Property Management Company.

It has been two years in the making and now Crowninshield is proud to announce that we have purchased the building located at 9 Atlantic Avenue Marblehead, MA 01945 and will be moving to this new location on June 24, 2019.

This new location offers larger floor space and room for growth, more comfortable furnishings, private gated parking area, and is located in the heart of beautiful downtown Marblehead.

Please update our mailing address in your files.  Our contact numbers will remain the same and you can continue to email us at the Crowninshield email you have on file.

We are excited about the future of Crowninshield and we hope you are too!

Who’s Responsible? The Myth of Maintenance Free Living

The Myth of Maintenance Free Living

Buy a condo, you’ll never have to worry about anything again”, they said……and so a myth was born.

While it is true that you may not have to mow the lawn or paint the siding, maintenance responsibilities still remain with you when you purchase a condominium.  Interior plumbing, appliance repair, smoke detector batteries and in unit extermination are just a few items which may still be the responsibility of the unit owner.

This is why it is so important to read your governing documents (Master Deed, Declaration of Trust, Bylaws, and Rules and Regulations).  Contained within these documents you will find a description of Common Elements (those elements for which the maintenance responsibility is that of the Association) and a description of the Units.  The Unit description outlines the items that the Owner is responsible for maintaining which can often include items such as doors, windows and screens.

A well informed Unit Owner will know when to call their own plumber and when to report a common element leak – saving precious time in the event of a water loss and damage.

Please take the time to thoroughly review your Association’s Governing Documents and don’t hesitate to ask your Property Manager if you have questions.

Two Victory Road Apartments on the Lynn/Salem Line Feature Community Room, Gym and Services

Senior couple sitting together hand in hand on the sofa. happy mature couple looking relaxed and content together.

Two Victory Road Apartments on the Lynn/Salem line is an ideal home for seniors looking for an independent community. The convenient forty unit property features a community room and gym. Along with the enhanced spaces, Two Victory Road Apartments offers activities organized by a resident service coordinator.

The bright community room features a kitchen, new furnishings and a large screen television. Residents help create and enjoy an ongoing activities calendar featuring a Senior Wellness Program as well as recreational activities and educational workshops. Seniors looking for a home, rather than an apartment will thrive with the new amenities and services at Two Victory Road Apartments. The goal is to create a vibrant community where seniors can enjoy healthful living and activities.

“The state-of-the-art community room, combined with programs and activities which are overseen by an on-site coordinator plus private home services create a wonderful community for senior residents. Crowninshield Management continues to strive, and be successful, at staying ahead of the curve in creating thriving residential living communities,” says Susan MacNeil, RSC Program Manager and Quality Assurance Consultant.

Seven Steps to Selecting the Perfect Property Management Company

Are you in the market to find assistance in the care and maintenance of your property? Hiring a trusted property management company can give you peace of mind that your community is well cared for. Whether you lead a condominium association, homeowners association, apartment community, single family home development, retail property, shopping center, public housing, office building or industrial park, take a moment to learn the seven steps to take to hire a trusted property management company.

Engage the services of  a property management company that is an ACCREDITED MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION ® with the Institute of Real Estate Management.
The AMO accreditation is the only recognition of excellence given to real estate management firms. The requirements are now more relevant than ever to real estate managers, their clients, and the assets they manage. To earn the AMO accreditation, real estate management firms must now meet even more standards and abide by a new AMO Code of Professional Ethics.

Make sure the property management company can manage owner and tenant funds.
For apartment communities and commercial buildings,  it is important that the  property management company has the capacity and fiduciary acumen to manage rental income, reserve funds and security deposits.

Ask if the property management company is familiar with your market and area.
Check to see how long the company has been in business and ask for references. Do your due diligence by researching the company and making sure they are specialists in your particular area, understand your target market and know the neighborhood where your property is located.

Check to see if  the company offers a robust roster of services.
It is helpful if the property management company offers services such as administrative management services, management consulting and financial management services for condominium communities, homeowners associations, and commercial properties.

Ask about customer service policies.
Typically a professional property management company works 24/7/365. Be sure that the company has a clear coverage policy in place for contact after hours, weekends and holidays.

Inquire if the company has experience with your type of property.
If you are looking for a property management company for a condominium association, homeowners association, apartment community, single family home development, retail property, shopping center, public housing, office building or industrial park,  be sure to look for a property management company with specific experience working in that field. Ask the team to share examples of how they have dealt with challenging situations and how they will enhance your property.

Get references.
Ask the prospective company for a list of clients similar to your property.  You should speak to them directly. It is a wise investment of your time to check out the company before you engage their services.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Spring is a great time to replant and refresh

A great number of condominiums in the Boston area were built in the late 1970’s and 1980’s at a time when landscaping was given little thought other than to attract buyers at the entry. Consequently many of the outdoor areas are in need of an update. Here are seven fast tips to help your garden grow.

Make sure your landscaping is being maintained by a professional landscaper. Professional and uniform landscaping are the hallmarks of a well-managed property.

Repot with resilient varieties
Remove old weather damaged plantings and replace with today’s garden varieties that are more resilient to our climate, disease and more appropriate for residential communities.

Think low maintenance
Plants that are native to the region are a great bet.  Along with saving time because they are lower maintenance, you will also save water.

Consider dwarf varieties
Tight on space?  Many professional landscapers recommend using any number of dwarf varieties to replace your old plantings.

Install hardscapes
Looking to create architectural interest in your garden? Consider structures such as terraces, walls and paths. These areas can be constructed of wood, stone, brick or concrete. Walkways are a lovely way to inspire residents to peacefully meander through gardens.

Clean bird baths
Remember to clean and disinfect bird baths. Also after thoroughly disinfecting and cleaning bird baths rinse and refill with fresh water weekly.

Consider landscape lighting
Illuminating beautiful landscaped gardens creates a wonderful ambience to light up the lives of your residents.

Rosemary Riccio Finds Home at Crowninshield Managment Corp.


Needham native Rosemary Riccio has always loved property management and Boston’s North Shore and Merrimack Valley. Rosemary got involved with property management while living in Atlanta, Georgia as Operations Coordinator and Neighborhood Production Coordinator at John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods. She then served as a Portfolio Manager at  Atlanta firms Neighborhood Management Associates and Community Management Associates. Upon return to Massachusetts, she worked as a Portfolio Manager at a Boston based management firm before joining the Crowninshield team as a Regional Portfolio Manager.

“I love that Crowninshield is a family-owned business. The minute I joined the team I felt like I had been here for years. It is a wonderful company with a vibrant young staff. I am so impressed with their internship program that allows college students to gain experience by working alongside property managers ,” said Rosemary.

Ms Riccio is graduate of Endicott College in Beverly.  Rosemary is a CAI member and has her CMCA and AMA designations. She and her husband, Jim, live in Haverhill with their two daughters.  Along with gardening and spending as much time as she can on the beach, Rosemary is an avid Patriots fan.

How A Resident Service Coordinator Helps Seniors Age in Place

“Our Resident Service Coordinators (RSC) help seniors age in place safely and with dignity,” says Susan MacNeil Quality Assurance Consultant and Program Manager at Crowninshield Management Corp. MacNeil has worked at Crowninshield  for over a decade and sees the myriad benefits having RSCs on property has for residents ages 62 and older. The oldest resident onsite is 107 years old and enjoying living independently with help from the resources coordinated through her RSC.

Along with connecting residents with a network of services available in the greater community through federal and state entitlement programs, the RSC often helps residents gain access to a medley of other services and resources such as food assistance, transportation, personal care assistance, medical help and assistance navigating the health insurance and healthcare systems. “Residents have a buffet of choices available to them and can customize their own menu of preferences based on their own individual needs,” says MacNeil.

“Families get great peace of mind knowing that their parents are well cared for and tended at the properties managed by Crowninshield,” says MacNeil. “Since our team is onsite and develops relationships with the residents we are aware of daily behaviors and can detect key indicators when something is not right and alert family members or access assistance for those residents who do not have families,” says MacNeil.

The onsite concierge services also include education and wellness programs that provide socialization such as cooking demonstrations, stress reduction lectures, fitness programs, balance series and art classes. Ongoing training is a key element in the success of the RSC’s. Crowninshield provides all-day workshops on a quarterly basis for its RSCs where they learn about new programs available to residents, obtain educational information and get updated on trends.

“Our goal is to create healthy, vibrant and engaging communities where residents feel safe, happy and connected,” said MacNeil.

The Polka Dot Door Dilemma

As a property management company with decades of experience, Crowninshield Management Corp. is an expert in assisting condominium complexes in creating harmonious communities. One of the challenges we sometimes see is helping residents who have recently sold their single family homes and moved into a condo understand that they are now part of a larger community.

While it may have been acceptable to paint black and white polka dots on the front door of their single family home to celebrate the family Dalmatian, it most likely will not meet the Association’s design standards. “A lot of people come from their own homes and need to now be sensitive that they are part of a larger community,’” says Bob O’Leary of Craftsmen Restoration. “They need to understand that being part of a condominium community they need to take the whole into consideration and things like color coordination are important,” notes O’Leary.

Some condominium communities have a design committee whose responsibility is to insure that projects meet specified architectural requirements. A goal of the committee may be to create design standards so the community retains a cohesive look. Residents who are thinking about making modifications to their units should send the plans to the design committee to make sure they are in compliance with the architectural standards.

It is important for Associations to educate residents about the design protocol in their community. Thanks to modern technology, there are many ways to deliver information through newsletters, blogs and e-mail. To quote Steve Jobs,”Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.” At Crowninshield, we believe condominium communities should look and work in harmony.