Thursday, December 29, 2011

What is a Public Adjuster?

Where to Start

It's 2:00AM and you hear a rush of water. You awake to find a burst pipe in your bathroom streaming gallons of water across your floor, onto your belongings, and into the room below. After the plumber and emergency services have stopped the leak, you call your insurance agent (assuming you have one! Another reason to get an HO-6 NOW). They send an adjuster out to price out the claim on what they believe the damage is worth. But who will ensure that you are getting the money you deserve to return to home to it's original form? The insurance company is a profit driven firm and wants to minimize the payout they have to give you. You need someone to fight for you, and that is where a public adjuster comes in.

What They Do

By definition a public adjuster is an insurance claims adjuster who is an advocate for the policyholder in appraising and negotiating a first party insurance claim. A good PA will be onsite almost immediately after the loss. They will control the situation and ensure the right people are on site and doing the right work. The next step is that they will meet with the assigned insurance adjuster and work with them on a fair price for the claim. By nature, insurance will low-ball the price and the PA will aim high. There is a series of offers and counteroffers until an agreeable price is reached. Almost always, this price is considerably higher than what you would receive if you tried to fight insurance yourself.

Why We Use Them

You might not have time to meet with the assigned insurance adjuster every time they come to your home. You might not know the price per square foot of the drywall or the cost of redoing a tile floor. The public adjuster does. They work for you to ensure that you get the money that is rightfully yours to rebuild your home. If needed, they re-open a claim and negotiate for more money if a discrepancy is found after the claim has been settled.

Final Thoughts

Remember, if you chose to use a public adjuster, be sure to call them as soon as possible after the loss. The more time that passes, the more discrepancies that can occur that affect your claim. If you need a referral for a good PA, please contact our office and we would be happy to assist you.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Boston Christmas Tree Recycling

Compost Your Tree

Public Works will collect Christmas trees for composting from January 3 to January 13. Remove all ornaments, decorations, and stands from trees and place trees at the curb by 7AM on your recycling day. Do not put trees in plastic bags.

Back Bay

Pick up in the Back Bay is the week of January 9, 2012. (Monday for Arlington Street to Mass. Ave. and Tuesday for Mass. Ave. to Charlesgate).

More Info

Not sure of your recycling day? Check out the City of Boston Website to enter your address and find out your area's recycling day.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wacky Weather

OH the Weather Outside Is...

...Balmy? This unseasonably warm weather around Christmas has me thinking about some other weird weather phenomenons in Boston history during December...

Jack Frost Nipping at Your Nose

On this day in 1883, it was -12 degrees! Quite a difference from the mid 50s we are experiencing today. The only recorded day in December colder was on December 30th, 1933 when the temperature dipped to a chilling -15. Hope you didn't forget your mittens that weekend. Also, who could forget the 13 inches of snow that fell on the 12th in 1960. Wonder if they got a white Christmas that year?

Christmas in the Tropics

This warm weather might not be THAT unreasonable if you remember the 80s (but who does?). In 1984, the temperatures soared to the mid 70s on the 29th and 30th, both record highs. That same month, we saw temps averaging around the mid 50s, almost 20 degrees warmer than the historical average. That almost makes the annual Polar Bear Plunge at Walden Pond appealing! Not quite though.

Some Other Boston Weather Facts:

  • On average, the warmest month is July.
  • The highest recorded temperature was 104°F in 1911.
  • The average coolest month is January.
  • The lowest recorded temperature was -30°F in 1946.
  • March is the average wettest month.

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Years Resolution

You Have One...Does Your Condo?

Every year, people make the same resolutions: go to the gym, eat healthier, spend more time with family. This year, it might be time to consider a New Years resolution for your condominium. What have you been putting off for years? What needs to be done? With 2012 budgets still being finalized, NOW is the time to start the discussion.

Where Do I Start?

Speak with your board or management company. See if you can look over the budget and financial health of the condominium. Go over the projects that you want and present them to the board in a letter or at an annual meeting. Simply by getting owners thinking about these projects is the first, most crucial step. How will these benefit the entire condominium? Safety, curb appeal, increased value on their investment? These are important questions to address.

Can We Afford It?

If the board and owners know what to expect over a calendar year, it is much easier to fund large capital improvement projects. Make sure you have an adequate reserve contribution for emergencies, but perhaps set up another account for "capital improvements". A 5%-10% increase in condominium dues for a year can yield large reserves for projects. Perhaps a one-time special assessment is more appropriate. These are questions your board and your management company can and should address!

Need Ideas?

Nothing coming to mind right aware about goals for 2012? Is the fire system up to date? Security system? Do the interior walls need to be painted? Perhaps some landscaping at the front entrance? Spend 5 minutes walking your building and make a list of things that you believe need attention. With a plan set in place, you could be relaxing on that beautiful roof deck you've always wanted in 2012. And besides, the gym will still be there in 2013 right?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Curb Appeal

Small Changes..BIG Impact

When walking down a luxury street like the Back Bay, it is the small touches that don't immediately catch your eye that make all the difference. These subtle nuances are what truly separates a good property from a great one. A polished brass buzzer system, a stained door, well maintained landscaping: These are tangible investments for owners, and go a long way to improving your curb appeal.

A Prime Example

Premier Property Solutions' Back Bay portfolio is a testament to curb appeal enhancements. Take a look at the front entrance to this Back Bay luxury condominium below. The door is warn, the brass is faded, the stairs are cracked, and nothing stands out. After Premier took over this building we completely overhauled the front entrance. This is an investment that all owners benefit from as they use the front door daily. It increases property value and often goes a long way to improving building relations.

The Results

See the finished product below! Through a combination of vendors and projects, this now looks like a completely difference building.

Have any great renovation stories or questions about the vendors we used?
Leave a comment below, shoot us a tweet @MAcondoMGMT on Twitter or post on our wall on Facebook. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Building Security

Tis The Season

For break-ins that is. According to the FBI, a burglary occurs somewhere in the United States every 15.4 seconds. This occurrence only grows more frequent around the Holidays when thieves know homes are stocked with new electronics and families are gone for long periods of time. It might be time to make sure that your home is properly secured for this holiday season.

Tips and Tricks

  • Plan to "burglarize" yourself. You'll discover any weaknesses in your security system that may have previously escaped your notice.
  • If you lose your keys, change the locks immediately.
  • Don't leave notes for service people or family members on the door. These act as a welcome mat for a burglar.
  • Ask for credentials from any sales-person who requests entry to your home. Ask that their ID be pushed under the door. Many professional burglars use this cover to check out homes. If you're doubtful, check with the person's office before letting him or her in.
  • To help burglar-proof your home, install 1-inch throw deadbolt locks on all exterior doors.
  • Do not leave extra keys under doormats, potted plants or any other obvious outdoor location. Thieves will generally find them. Find an inconspicuous place to hide the keys, or give a set to a neighbor you can trust

What If?

In the unfortunate event of a break-in, the best solution is to call 911 and get help. Now is not the time to be a hero and confront them; a surprised burglar is more likely to act violently. Always have a plan in place and remember to think clearly. Do you have a story of a theft or a break-in at your house? We'd love to feature you on an upcoming follow up article. Leave a comment below, shoot us a tweet @MAcondoMGMT on Twitter or post on our wall on Facebook

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Grass Is Always Greener

Single Family VS Condominium

Thinking about buying your first property? It might be time to weigh the pros and cons of condominium living vs a single family home. It is only natural to think grass is greener on the other side.

Shared Expenses

One of the greatest advantages to condominium living are the shared costs of your homes’ expenses. Your set monthly fee is based on your percentage beneficial interest in the condominium. Don’t know yours? Check the Master Deed, it’s always recorded there. But what does it cover? In a condominium, water/sewer, insurance, landscaping, building repairs, electricity, heating can all be included in your monthly fee, which lowers your personal monthly exposure.

Who’s The Boss?

One of the biggest fears about condominium living is that you once you buy in, you agree to a set of rules and regulations as outlined within the condominium documents. Living in single family home, you do not answer to anyone else. It’s your house: your rules! In a condominium, there is an elected Board of Trustees that calls most of the shots. Make sure you read all condominium documents and bylaws before entering any home owners association

Find Your Home

With a well run board and a competent management company, condominium living can be extremely gratifying. Do have a preference? Let us know and leave a comment below, shoot us a tweet @MAcondoMGMT on Twitter or post on our wall on Facebook. We look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Condo Insurance... Simplified

What happens in the event of a loss?

Condominium insurance claims can often become complicated situations and difficult to understand. What is covered, and who is responsible for what?

The Master Policy

All condominium associations maintain a master insurance policy. These policies include liability, replacement cost, and (usually) directors and officers coverage. The most common claim on a master policy is for real property damage. Insurable damage is caused by a sudden or catastrophic event, which is the first place people get confused. Damage from an event taking place over a long period of time, like a slow leak, is NOT covered. If your roof caves in because of snow fall, insurance becomes involved because they consider that a "sudden" and "catastrophic" event. Most master insurance policies have a deductible of $5,000; This simply means that the master policy kicks in once the insurable damage amount goes over $5,000.

HO-6 Policies and How They Affect YOU

But who pays for all the damages up to that amount? That is where your homeowners HO-6 policy comes in. This is something that EVERY condominium owner should have! These policies have a number of provisions that not only cover damage under the associations deductible, but liability within the unit, relocation, personal property, etc. If a fire in your unit causes $25,000 worth of damage and you do not have the proper HO6 policy, you could be paying that $5,000 up to the deductible out of pocket! Landlords who rent their units should also maintain adequate insurance coverage, and remind their renters about “renters insurance policies”.

Sound Off!

The insurance process can be very confusing, so if you have more questions, leave a comment below, shoot us a tweet @MAcondoMGMT on Twitter or post on our wall on Facebook and one of our experienced property managers would be happy to explain it further.

FHA Requirements and Reserves

Hey Homeowners!

Thinking about selling or refinancing this year with a low down payment...? Might not be as easy as it was last year. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has put new criteria on any loans that come through their office. Here are some of the new requirements that your condo needs to have if you want to sell or refinance with FHA approval!
  • 10% of entire budget allocated towards reserves every year
  • Condo has funds available that equals the deductible under the insurance master policy
  • At least 51% owner occupancy
  • No pending litigation
  • No more than 15 % of common area fees are delinquent by one month


The list above is just a small portion of the new laws enacted for new FHA lending. Many condo owners and lenders are unsure of how this will affect sales and refinancing in the coming years. Given the subprime meltdown in the last few years, the FHA is taking every possible precaution to protect themselves from foreclosures. For now, we will just have to wait and see. Have you ran into this new process yet in a refinance or a sale? Tell us about it below.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Winter is coming!

Welcome everyone to Premier Property Solutions first ever blog post! We are extremely excited about this new feature not only for our clients, but for anyone interested in learning more about our industry or important facts for their home.

New England Weather

If this winter is anything like the 300 before it, we can expect multiple feet of snow and below zero temperature for weeks on end. Boston's historic districts are drafty by nature, but here are some tips to efficiently keep that heat in your home and keep fuel costs low:

  1. Wrap your windows! By installing shrink wrap plastic that can be purchased at your local hardware store, you can save 7-10 degrees of heat loss in your home!
  2. Check your vents. Make sure that all furniture and heavy drapes are 2-3 feet away from any vents or radiators. These can greatly affect heat conduction and the temperature in your home.
  3. Make sure your storm windows are installed properly and closed for the duration of the winter.
  4. By purchasing a programmable thermostat and setting the temperature 8-10 degrees cooler during the day when you are not home, you can save 10% on your heating bill!
  5. A little caulk goes a long way. Make sure all exterior windows are properly caulked and weatherized.
  6. Contact your property manager and make sure your boiler/heating system is properly serviced heading into the winter.
If all of the above fail and your heating systems are up to date, throw on a Patriots sweater and put a smile on our faces!

Got Tips?

If you have any questions or extra tips that we did not mention, leave a comment below, shoot us a tweet @MAcondoMGMT on Twitter or post on our wall on Facebook. We look forward to hearing from you!