California’s First Smart Community Westpark Maintenance District in Irvine

A Look at California’s First Smart Community

Are you out looking for a new home for your, shall way say, tech-savvy family? If so, California’s first smart community may interest you. Westpark Maintenance District in Irvine has the distinction of becoming California’s first smart community, using a new smart technology called COMMON SENSE™ that has been specifically developed for HOA use. San Marino Park in Irvine is the first smart community park in the state.

California’s First Smart Community

From smart homes to smart cities now come smart communities. In California alone there are more than 52,000 HOAs, and they may be the first to adopt the smart technology to create the first smart state in the country. Without getting ahead of where it can lead to, smart technology essentially opens more doors for improving homeowners’ living experiences in their communities, while improving service efficiencies among HOAs. For instance, smart technology can help community managers with the maintenance and support of common areas such as parks and swimming pools. With sensors and the system securely connected to the internet, many functions such as community lighting, irrigation, surveillance, and the like can now be monitored, automated, and controlled remotely. Aside from efficiency, the use of smart technology may also lead to greater improvements in terms of sustainability. It can result to better homes, better communities, and overall better environments for families.

For homeowners, they are also afforded convenience by the smart technology. In Westpark Maintenance District for example, residents can easily look up on their mobile phones the status of their community swimming pool, whether it’s currently occupied for swim team practice or not. They can also check the temperature of the swimming pool or report an issue to management. All this information is available on a dashboard which is updated in real-time. The San Marino Park swimming pool’s water quality is also tested every 15 minutes. The information is sent securely through the cloud and the smart system adjusts accordingly, helping it meet critical California Title 22 code regulations. The law requires commercial pools to be tested and for that information to be logged daily.

What’s Next for California’s First Smart Community?

Westpark Maintenance District is the pilot community for the smart technology and given its success, there’s no reason why other communities in California will not follow suit. As homeowners become more discerning about the modern amenities made available to them by the community and HOA, smart technology will play a bigger role in making life-enhancing living innovations a reality.

HOA Ignores Court

But Maple Park is not part of Walker Lakeshores, and so the couple took the matter to court.

It was a long battle that has cost the Pearns thousands of dollars in legal fees. In 2017, the case went to the Court of Appeals. Judge Joseph Kameem ruled that the Pearns owed WLLA only $30 for the accumulated 3-year maintenance fee ($10 per year for maintenance). The WLLA appealed the decision but later withdrew, which means that Judge Kameem’s ruling stands.

HOA ignores court ruling present time

The couple, however, received another billing from the WLLA, this time, amounting to $325 for assessment and $50 for membership. This was clearly going against court ruling.

Amelia Pearn has been documenting her legal battle in a personal blog. There, she notes that irregularities have been discovered from the WLLA. Withdrawals from the HOA funds amounting to more than $200,000 were discovered. It was found that part of the withdrawals were to pay for personal expenses like cable and electricity bills—expenses completely unrelated to HOA business.

But the Pearns weren’t the only ones the WLLA billed. Several other Maple Park homeowners received a similar bill from the Walker Lakeshores HOA. Some of them pay, some don’t; and, to the surprise of Maple Park residents, others got sued!

At So Cal Property Enterprises, Inc., our goal is to help homeowners associations perform their duties, and this includes keeping their books open. Transparency is critical to the effectiveness, reliability, and trustworthiness of an HOA. Our team comprises a select staff of well-trained, professional and highly skilled individuals, each an expert in their respective fields. We have the expertise and experience to deliver reliable and professional services in finance and accounting, collection, board education and governance, site reviews and reconstruction, and vendor selection.

If you need help with your HOA or property management, we invite you to give us a call at (888) 828-9444.

California HOA Allows Residents to Close Garage Doors

 So Cal Property News: California HOA Allows Residents to Close Garage Doors

In a quiet neighborhood in Auburn, California, residents were mandated by their homeowner’s association to keep their garage doors open from eight in the morning to four in the afternoon on weekdays. The mandate took effect on January 1. Now, said California HOA allows residents to close garage doors. Less than two weeks after the regulation took effect, the Auburn Greens HOA backed down after receiving negative feedback from its members.

Homeowners associations keep the neighborhood safe

Among the responsibilities of homeowners associations, maintaining the safety of the neighborhood remains a top priority. But this seems to be the opposite for this Auburn Greens HOA. When the HOA required its members to keep their garage doors open, the main concern of the homeowners is their safety, and understandably so. With their garage doors open practically all day, their household becomes vulnerable to thieves and unlawful entry. It’s like a welcome mat for unscrupulous characters.

What inspired the mandate?

The ruling came about when the HOA discovered that one resident allowed someone to live in their garage. While this may have been against the HOA rules, the way they tried to resolve the issue clearly wasn’t in the best interest of its members, according to the opinion of the majority.

Moreover, a penalty was attached to the ruling. Anyone found to have violated the rule will be fined a whopping $200—a fine that some members were willing to pay outright for their peace of mind.

California HOA allows residents to close garage doors

Drawing the ire of its members, the HOA backed down and reversed its ruling. It was clear to the members that their HOA didn’t think the situation and solution through. A more welcome move would have been to communicate to the members their concern about allowing someone to live in the garage and gather a consensus on the best solution to deter squatting while still maintaining the safety of its members and security of the neighborhood.

When the “California HOA allows residents to close garage doors” news broke, residents finally heaved a sigh of relief. But, from this point on, its members may keep a closer watch on their HOA’s activities and decisions to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.

At So Cal Property Enterprises, Inc., our goal is to help homeowners associations perform their duties while ensuring that their members’ concerns are properly addressed.

To discuss your HOA and property management needs, we invite you to give us a call at (888) 828-9444.

A Beginner’s Guide to Increasing Your Home’s Value

 Increase the Value of Your Home: A Beginner’s Guide

One of the best and most effective ways to increase the value of your home is to make a few improvements to your interior and outdoor spaces. These home improvements don’t have to be expensive. You might be surprised at how a few tweaks here and there can increase the value of your home considerably. Here are a few tips that you can consider:

Give your home a thorough inspection

Inspect every area of your home; bedrooms, kitchen, toilet and bath, living room, and dining area for the interiors, and roof, exterior walls, patio, and yard for the outdoor space. First, make a list of all the things that need to repairs (roof sheets or shingles, gutters, sticky doors and/or windows, closet and cupboard doors, floors, etc.). Next, create another list for all the improvements you wish to make, like a fresh coat of paint on your interior walls, upgraded or modernized bathroom features, and such.

It would also be great if you can consult with a professional interior designer or a realtor, so you can get their professional opinion on how to increase the value of your home.

Enhance your home’s curb appeal

Your front yard is the first thing that people notice when they walk past your house. Suffice it to say that if this is unappealing, it’s most likely that people will assume that the interiors of your house will be the same. Add a few potted plants on the side of your driveway, and a couple more outside your main door might liven the place up a bit. Choose plants that are native to your state, and choose those that require little maintenance such as those that are “drought-tolerant” if you live in a particularly dry region.

If possible, you can also plant a tree if you don’t have any yet. And of course, always make sure that your lawn is trim and clean.

Make your home energy-efficient

First, check your appliances and fixtures to make sure that every piece or item is functioning properly. Next, replace old fixtures with energy-efficient ones. If you are going to replace your old appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR certification label. In a nutshell, appliances and electronics that are ENERGY STAR-certified use less than the standards required by the federal government—about 20 to 30% less.

Spruce up the place

Lastly, spruce up your place by installing new window treatments, rugs or carpeting. Wall hangings and decorative pieces on your surfaces will also add some visual interest.

These are but a few basics on how to increase the value of your property; they’re not necessarily big projects, but these simple tweaks could help you get started.


Reasons to Live in Corona, CA for Young Families and Retirees

Top 5 Reasons to Live in Corona, CA

Are you thinking of moving to California? Whether for work or retirement, California’s communities remain at the top of the list of best places to live in. However, there’s more to the Golden State than Los Angeles or San Francisco. Here are five reasons to live in Corona, CA, a city in Riverside County that offers a first-rate quality of life for its residents.

1. It’s a safe and quiet suburb – It’s hard to imagine finding a safe and quiet place in the country’s most populous state, but the truth is, such places exist. This is what makes Corona’s safe and quiet suburbs number one among the reasons to live in Corona, CA. Young families, established professionals, and retirees alike will love it here. It also has an ethnically diverse community that is made up of young and well-educated families.

2. Only an hour’s drive from downtown L.A. – Here’s another excellent proposition to live in Corona — you’re only an hour’s drive away from downtown L.A.! Number two in the reasons to live in Corona, CA: the city’s proximity from the City of Angels makes it an excellent choice when you’re looking for a more affordable residence.

3. Home to an exciting dining scene – It may be a quiet suburb, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bare and isolated place. In fact, the exciting dining scene here makes it into the list of top reasons to live in Corona, CA. If you love to eat out, you’ll surely enjoy the varied dining establishments; choose from Mexican, American, Caribbean, Asian, and Greek cuisine, among others.

4. There’s a golf course open for public play – For retirees who are looking for an activity to help keep them in shape, there’s a well-kept golf course open for public play. The Dos Lagos Golf Course boasts a picturesque backdrop of South Corona as you practice your swing on its fairways, water hazards, and sand traps. The golf course is also a popular events venue for weddings, private parties, and corporate events.

5. Many fun outdoor activities for the kids – Meanwhile, Corona has something to offer for the kids as well. If you’re looking for more reasons to live in Corona, CA, you’ll be delighted to know that the city has an indoor go-kart racing track facility, an interactive Renaissance family-friendly fair, as well as playgrounds and parks for weekend picnics. Fly a kite, go for a walk with your dog, or have a BBQ — Corona is an ideal hub for you and your family.

5 Tips on Maintaining Your Property

While maintaining your property may require a little effort, it costs far less than having repairs done—extensive ones at that if the problem has already escalated. As a property owner, you need to be on top of your property’s maintenance. If you don’t know where to begin, or which areas you need to focus on, below are five tips we’d like to share regarding maintaining your property.

1. Waterproof exterior walls, panels, roof, and windows

Water seepage is one of the most common issues often overlooked until it’s too late, usually when wallboards or panels are already showing signs of decay, or leaks have started to appear in your home’s interiors. While it is a common practice in construction to apply waterproof coating to these features, over time, the coating may have thinned out or peeled off. Regularly check for signs of water seepage (stains on the walls, surfaces that are damp or wet without being subjected to rain or water, and leaks), and apply a fresh coat of waterproofing material every two to three years.

2. Check for termite infestation on wooden slabs or boards on ceilings, floors and walls

Termites thrive on moisture and warm temperatures, two things that are often present beneath the surface of your home. Termite infestation generally remains undetected until obvious signs appear. Make sure to keep your home clean and dry, which means taking the maintenance steps mentioned above as well as checking for faucet and pipe leaks. You can also tap on the wooden walls and floors. If you notice a hollow sound when you tap, chances are termites are already there. Contact a professional pest control service immediately. Ensuring that your property is termite-free is one of the most critical factors in effectively maintaining your property.

3. Check roof shingles or sheets, and keep gutters clean and debris-free

Roof repairs are one of the most expensive repairs on a property, which is why you need to check your roofing system’s condition at least once a year, especially after a rain or snow storm. Clean the gutter regularly to remove debris like leaves and twigs to prevent it from clogging.

4. Keep your yard or garden clean

Whether you have a landscaped garden or a simple grass lawn in your front yard, your outdoor space needs as much attention as your indoor space, maybe more. An unkempt yard is not only unpleasant to look at; it could also become a breeding ground for pests and insects, or a regular hangout for rats. Maintaining your property means keeping it clean and tidy all the time.

5. Have your heating and cooling systems cleaned annually

A/C units and heating systems need to be thoroughly cleaned and inspected by a professional at least once a year. A poorly performing cooling or heating system will not only increase your utility bills, but it can also put your safety at risk.

Inland Empire Property Management: Best Practices in HOA Stormwater Management

Spring and summer are particularly busy times for Inland Empire property management companies as they deal with extreme weather. Almost yearly, the area is hit by summer storms that bring massive amounts of wind and precipitation. This results in a heightened risk for property damage brought about by flooding and soil erosion, not to mention water pollution coming from domestic and commercial sources.

Property management companies in the Inland Empire are mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to follow certain practices that result in low-impact development. The Inland Empire lies in a corridor with a very fragile ecosystem and thin soils; thus, low-impact development with a focus on flooding and erosion mitigation is key. For inland desert communities that are crisscrossed by water channels, pollution prevention is also important. Below are three stormwater management best practices suggested by the Housing Department for HOAs:

1. Compost blankets and silt fences. Compost blankets are layers of compost applied to hillsides or sloping ground, while silt fences are temporary fences that are built around construction areas. Compost blankets are excellent absorbers of rain energy and reduce erosion due to wind and water. Because they stimulate microbial growth, compost blankets improve the quality of the soil beneath them and provide excellent substrates for vegetation. On the other hand, silt fences control the flow of stormwater from construction areas, protecting the surrounding area from siltation and flooding.

2. Pollution prevention measures. Many HOAs implement the following measures to keep stormwater free of pollution: banning the disposal of carpet cleaning solution and non-biodegradable detergents in street gutters; implementing strict solid waste regulations and collection schedules; and asking owners of leaking vehicles to get their cars checked. These measures are all meant to prevent stormwater from mixing with waste of any form and taking them into main municipal water channels.

3. Natural filtration methods. There are both old and new ways of filtering stormwater before they go into the drainage channels. These include permeable pavement, vegetated swales, and sand filters. Permeable pavements can “absorb” water and filter it down to the sewers, leaving behind solid wastes. Vegetated swales are low-lying tracts of land that act as natural drainage channels; the vegetation catches all sorts of solid pollutants and prevents soil erosion. Finally, sand filters also remove oil and other pollutants from the water before it reaches the drainage system.

Does your HOA need assistance with stormwater management? SoCal Property Enterprises offers stormwater and drainage management services to its Inland Empire property management clients. To know more about our services, give us a call at (888) 828-9444.

Corona Property Management: Summer Activities for HOA Member Engagement

Each year, Corona property managementcompanies and HOAs are busy planning summer engagement activities for residents and homeowners. These activities are designed to foster a sense of community between and among neighbors.

Summer is an excellent season for such activities, thanks to Southern California’s famed sunny climate. The clear weather opens a lot of outdoor activities for both children and adults. Here are some summer activities that will surely get HOA members out of their homes and into the clubhouse.

1. Outdoor movie nights.

Nothing beats a clear, starry sky as a backdrop for an outdoor movie night. This activity is surprisingly easy to organize – all it takes is a wide, blank wall, a good movie, an LED projector, a set of speakers, blankets, and chairs. You can even have themed movie nights for seniors featuring classic films and child-friendly flicks. Don’t forget the popcorn and soda!

2. Fourth of July events.

Everyone loves parades, and the Fourth of July is the perfect reason to hold one in the neighborhood. The HOA management should plan a parade route, with some streets blocked to traffic, and have the homes draped in red, white, and blue. Children and adults alike will have fun parading down the streets in cars and bikes clad in the Union’s colors, and even baby strollers can be decorated to show their love for America. Cap off the festivities with a party where awards for the best-decorated house, car, or bike may be given out.

3. Pool parties.

No summer in Southern California is complete without a pool party. Whether the party is for kids, adults, or both, one can expect a lot of splashing water, loud, cheerful music, and happy faces all around. For property management in Corona, it is also an opportunity to showcase how well-maintained the facilities are, especially if the party is held on the first weekend of summer. If the HOA has set aside a large enough budget for this event, add some entertainment, such as a local to get the residents into the pool. Drinks and food, such as pizza, are optional but highly recommended.

4. Ice cream and BBQ parties.

As summer draws to a close, many residents might move out of the community for work or school. There is no better way to express gratitude for being such good neighbors than a good, old-fashioned ice cream and barbecue party. Set up a table with sprinkles and toppings and watch the kids get creative with their ice cream. You can also have residents bring their own dishes to the event.

Corona property management is not just all about fixing divots and leaky ceilings; they like to make things more fun for residents too! To know more about our services, give us a call at (888) 828-9444.

Top 3 Benefits Homeowners Receive from the Services of a HOA Management Company

A professional HOA Management Company ensures that all the duties of the association, and the responsibilities of its Board Members are performed accurately and as efficiently as possible. While one might assume that the purpose of a professional HOA and property manager is to assist the Board and its members, this isn’t necessarily an accurate representation of what a HOA manager actually does.

The more important aspect of a HOA management company is the homeowners themselves. They assist the Board and ensure that the association is organized and functional primarily to serve the best interests of the homeowners. To be more specific, here are some of the benefits that homeowners receive from a HOA manager:

1. Ensures that HOA regulations are strictly followed by all members. As a homeowner, you are a valuable stakeholder in your community. You deserve to live in a thriving community that stands out—or at least up to par with standards of living of other communities. The regulations implemented by the association are there for the upkeep of your community—to preserve its integrity.

To ensure that homeowners are following regulations, especially regarding maintenance of their property, random, as well as scheduled, property visits might be performed by the property manager from time to time.

2. You know where your association dues go. It’s a fairly common scenario where homeowners are left wondering where their association dues go. While they may be casually informed by the association about a certain project or undertaking that the association funded, they don’t actually know what the specific expenses are. A property and HOA manager takes care of the financial aspect of the association as well and this means detailed reports may be furnished to inform homeowners where their fees go.

3. You have a middleman to approach for concerns. Board Members are usually professionals with tons of responsibilities at work; they are busy people too and as such, they may not always be available when you need to discuss with them your concerns or issues—especially those that are time-sensitive. A HOA management company assigns a professional to each community, which means that you will have someone you can readily approach at a moment’s notice for your concerns.

There are numerous other benefits that homeowners will get to enjoy once their HOA hires a professional property management team. If you are a member of your HOA in Southern California, or you would like to recommend HOA management services to your Board, please feel free to give us a call at (888) 828-9444. We’ll gladly discuss your requirements in person at your convenience.

Corona HOA Management: Top 3 Most Beneficial Services for the Association and Its Members

The California Association of Realtors recently reported that Corona posted the “largest annual increase in home sales” out of all the counties in California. The primary reason for this is the affordability of real estate in the county compared to other cities or counties in the coastal area of the state. A Corona HOA management should therefore be in place in order to accommodate the influx of new residents—people who moved from their city homes in California to the Inland Empire, to which Corona belongs.

Despite the distance from their workplace, a lot more people have decided to take advantage of the affordability of housing in Corona; finally fulfilling their dreams of becoming homeowners—for the first time, for most.

And for homeowners’ associations to be able to provide proper assistance to its members, they need to have a strong and solid Corona HOA management team to handle all the associations’ tasks—daily, weekly, and monthly.

Here are the top 3 most beneficial services that a professional HOA management company can provide your association:

1. Financial/Accounting, and training for Treasurers. One of the most often-neglected aspects of a homeowners’ association is the financial side of things. Record-keeping is a task that needs attention on daily basis, and on specific dates or events when funds are needed for whatever HOA-approved undertaking. Staying on top of the HOA’s finances is actually crucial to its survival—and to a certain degree, the members’ satisfaction with how the HOA handles the fees and other funds acquired through other means.

2. Site reviews (compliance, violations, and maintenance). When a new homeowner joins the community, he or she may not yet be familiar with certain rules and regulations of the HOA, and as such, site visits are required if only to ensure that all regulations regarding property maintenance, for example, are all followed. When you have a Corona HOA or property management professional dedicated specially to take care of homeowners’ compliance, you can rest easy knowing that someone reliable and trustworthy is doing the necessary site visits and inspections.

3. Homeowner participation. Being part of the HOA is so much more than simply paying association dues, following regulations, or being neighborly. The homeowner needs to be an active participant in all the events of the HOA so every member is aware and well-informed should there come a time when changes need to be made. Attending meetings, signing up for sub-committees and such are only some of the ways that homeowners are expected to participate.

If you wish to discuss your requirements for Corona property and HOA management services, please feel free to call us at 888-828-9444.