Archive for December, 2009

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A Problem Is Just A Problem

December 30, 2009

A Problem Is Just A Problem

By Lorraine Cyr

A Problem is Just A ProblemManaging a property should not be only about collecting rent, or repairing faulty boilers. The people who live in a property and call it home make up a diverse tapestry of habits, expectations and dreams, each person with a distinctive footprint, personality and way of life.

Managing the property means understanding each tenant’s point of view, each owner’s concern, and somehow, acting as a catalyzer, a channel, a buffer, and many times a mediator. It is not always an easy task, but if at the end of the day all concerned can rest assured that the issue at hand is being looked after, our mission has been fulfilled, and we can turn off the light and go home with a sense of inner satisfaction.

A problem is just a problem, it does not have to be a personal confrontation. We are here to take care of problems, oversee tasks, and yes manicure the lawn and plant pretty flower beds too.

We will work hard to ensure your happiness in all areas of your community.

– Look to this day.  In it lie all the realities and verities of existence, the bliss of growth, the splendor of action, the glory of power.  For yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision. But today, well-lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. –

Sanskrit Proverb

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How much does that TV cost in energy?

December 28, 2009

HOW MUCH DOES THAT TV COST TO RUN? 

by Lorraine Cyr 

Save Energy. Be Romantic!

It always surprises me when I do my annual inspections when I find families with 10 or more things plugged into the same socked and electrical leads all over the place.  I know that the older buildings here in DC do not always have up to date electrical sockets (number of electrical sockets with at least one on every wall).  Some are even wired to fuses and not circuit breakers.  At Lorraine Cyr Management Group (LCM) when we find this we take the time to explain the DO’S and DON’TS of what can be done in each unit and can cause a fire.  A lot of our Associations are Affordable Housing Projects that are waiting for building renovations.  In our fall membership meetings we talk about proper use of space heaters, what is safe and not safe when plugging things into sockets and what the numbers on the fuse means.  The following web site gives very detailed information on how much electricity things use and people are usually surprised by what they learn.  

http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/howmuch.html  

For example a 32” regular TV with 7 hours of usage per day, 7 days a week with the cost of electricity at $.11 cent will cost $39 per year, then add a VCR, a Cable box and a video game and that same TV cost almost $80 per year.  Even items that are powered off but are on waiting for you to push the button are using energy. (the cable box, the battery charger for your computer) The cost is not much only pennies per year but if every family in the US were to not use those pennies it would mean energy savings in the thousands!  

THOUGHT OF THE DAY – TURN THE LIGHTS OUT WHEN YOU LEAVE THE ROOM, HAVE A ROMANTIC DINNER BY CANDLE LIGHT! 

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Seniors Are Special At LCM

December 26, 2009

by Lorraine Cyr

Christmas is the time to be jolly and spread the Christmas cheer.   It does not need to cost much money to make people smile.   People enjoy the little things and the thought not the cost.   At Lorraine Cyr Management Group we take the time to visit with our senior residents and make sure they know that they are important to us.   Each senior gets a visit from their Property Manager with a gift basket of goodies to get them through the cold winter season.  A package of energy saving light bulbs, filters for the furnace, we check that the heat works properly and that the faucets are not dripping.  If we notice that the senior unit has some cleaning issues we ask general questions to see if the family has visited recently and if not we ask if we can help them or get AARP in to help them.  AARP has a wonderful set of volunteers that can help with cleaning, food and other services that the senior may not know about.

While all of our clients are important it is our senior members who need a little extra help every once in a while, so if you live next to one stop by, say hi, let them know who you are.

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Finding the RIGHT management company

December 26, 2009
TIP #1 – FINDING THE RIGHT MANAGEMENT COMPANY
by Lorraine Cyr
At Lorraine Cyr Management Group, Inc. (LCM) we can help you review the reports your current management company is providing.
We provide training on reading the reports and then help you with what type of questions to ask to improve how your Association and management company work together.
We find the best Board Members are the ones who ask lots of questions. At LCM our Property Managers are trained to encourage your questions. For example at LCM we love a spirited debate on whether or not to use assigned parking spaces. By covering all the questions, hearing all the sides and then picking the best policies and hearing from everyone can hope to have a smooth implementation of a new policy.  We do not limit the time we will spend with your Board for its Board meeting; if you do not have unlimited time with your current property management company at Board meetings then now is the time to switch.
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Inspections Inspections Inspections!

December 26, 2009

TIP 42 – INSPECTIONS, INSPECTIONS, INSPECTIONS!!!

By Lorraine Cyr

Unit inspections are a good thing!  Yes I know you are an owner and it is your home, but….

If you live in DC and you own a condo or cooperative unit what happens in your neighbors unit WILL have an effect on you.  Does your property management company inspect more than just the common areas?  Doing a yearly inspection of all areas, units included will help to identify units that are costing you in the pocket book (higher water bills).  If a toilet runs after being flushed, this can cost the Association $400 per year in additional water bills from just one toilet. Installing a $20 part will save the Association money.

At LCM we recommend to all our groups that they include in the yearly budget some preventive maintenance items for each unit.  Yearly caulking of the bath tubs, replacing of washer in dripping faucets if done in bulk once a year during inspections will save everyone from costly utility bills and needless repairs.  This also helps Association members see where some of their fees are going.

If your property management company does not do inspections or recommend ways to prevent service calls then maybe it’s time to give us a try!

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Hello world Welcome to My Blog!

December 17, 2009

About the CEO and Founder of Lorraine Cyr Management Group

Lorraine Cyr first started working in the family construction business in 1974.  Here she learned how to read blue prints, finish trim a house and even operate a back hoe with enough skill to build a swimming pool.  From 1974 to 1989 she worked with her family building custom homes for the elite families of Upstate New York.  While working in the construction business she attended Siena College and received a degree in business administration with a minor in computer programming.

She spent the early 80’s working for non-profits on issues such as anti-hunger and quality child care.  Once her family was grown she spent two years working in Australia helping to convert old DOS based software to Y2K compliant software for the turn of the century.  Once she got the travel dust out of her system she returned to Washington, DC where she went to work with a small property management company.   Under her direction the company grew.  With her unique combination of construction, accounting and computer skills the company carved its place in the Washington DC market by working with affordable projects.

She played part in the Scattered Site Project, where the District of Columbia donated 70 unused or abandoned buildings to local non-profits to be rehabbed and sold to low income families.  This project was a huge success.  Neighborhoods that were run down became alive.  Neighbors started to take pride in their homes and fixed them up also.  During this three year project the same size 3,000 square foot house that sold for $375,000 in year one sold for $875,000.  Profits from this project are still helping families with down payments for homes of their own.

Other projects that she worked on over the last 10 years were community based.  She worked with tenants who had bought the buildings that they lived in from landlords and walked them through the process of rehabbing them.  She helped them apply for construction loans, hire architects and construction companies.  She worked with the Boards of these building helping them to understand that lowest cost did not always mean the best.   She helped them to understand that good foundation/structure were more important than the pretty cosmetic changes that looked so good.  These groups learned that if they installed quality materials in the structure they would save money in the long run with less maintenance and lower energy costs and the pretty cosmetic items like the wallpaper could be done later.

Lorraine was always someone who was looking to see what could be done better and faster.  She helped to computerize many of the property management functions.  Clients could make payments on line and view activity on their statements in real-time.  Condo members could refer their real estate agents to a web site which answered basic questions such as:

What day is trash pickup day?
If the window leaks in a rain storm will my Association make the repairs?
What day does the Board meet?

Condo and Cooperative documents were also available on the Association web site.  In buildings that were low income she found grant monies to have computers available in the community rooms.

After ten years as Vice President of Oakes Management, she decided it was time to go on her own. Thus Lorraine Cyr Management Group was born bringing to her customers and clients all the experience and skills necessary to make successful partnerships work.

Please give us a call and see what ideas we can provide your Association with to improve your quality of life.

If you enjoyed my blogs let me know.