Holiday Safety Tips 2018

Staying home. Traveling out of town. Wherever this holiday season takes you make sure you take precautions to keep your home and belongings safe from theft and disaster with some simple steps. We’ve put together a list of the top holiday safety tips from all of the experts.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Holiday safety tips atlanta

Holiday safety tips for pets

Please note our holiday hours…
Our offices will be closed on December 24, 25, and 31st as well as January 1st, 2019.

3 HOA Management Tips from the Pros

Homeowner association managers provide a wide range of assistance to communities. This can range from scheduling meetings, to vetting vendors and obtaining job quotes to helping resolve resident conflicts. With such a broad variety of duties, what does it take to shine in the HOA management field? 

HOA Management Atlanta

Proactivity is key in HOA management. 

The goal of a good  HOA manager  or  property manager  is to discover problems before they happen. If he can spot potential dilemmas or dangers before they occur and attend to them before any significant damage takes place, he will have saved himself both time and money. HOA management can be a much simpler job with regular check-ins, scheduled inspections, and constant interactions with home owners. 

Check-ins and Inspections:  It is essential that HOA management carries out  routine check-ins and inspections to maintain the property.  This will include examination of the grounds, interior, and outside of community structures like clubhouses. 

  • Grounds:  The landscaped portion of the community/association property and any outdoor spaces such as swimming pools or parking lots are included in this area. The lawn and lawnscaping of those community areas is inspected to check if the lawn care staff is doing their job correctly. It is the job of HOA management to replace current landscapers if the lawn appears unattended. Parking spaces are to be marked well, and the parking lots are to be kept clean. Homeowner property is inspected to ensure it is maintained per the association’s governing documents.

  • Outside structure:  HOA management should check the perimeter of the community properties (common areas) after inspection of the grounds. Any loose shutters and eaves, or peeling paint should be noted. Cable, electrical, and phone lines ascending from the property, in addition to any satellite dishes, should be inspected. If any damaged is found, the proper repair professionals should be called. Individual homes are inspected, however it is not up to the HOA to get the work handled.

  •  Interior structure:   The inspection of the association owned property’s interior structure starts from the ground and works it’s way upward. HOA management works though a vendor or licensed professional to check the lowest level of the foundation for any  indication of leaking or cracking. Boilers, water, and gas heaters must also be inspected. Doors, windows, and light fixtures must be checked throughout the building. Additionally, toilets and sinks should be inspected for leakage by the chosen professional. 

It is also crucial for the HOA manager to be active within the community. This means a constant interaction with the homeowners. Discussion of property issues, policy situations, and helping the board enforce rules and regulations are necessary in keeping the HOA community a bonded unit. 

Teamwork Equals Success. 

HOA Manager Atlanta

It is critical for the Board and the HOA management to work together as a team. Communication between the two should remain frequent and clear. Both should be focused on improving the living conditions of the homeowner association as a whole. Working together to discuss maintenance, property developments, or association problems, can assist in structure improvement, and a stronger homeowner association. 

Develop solid relationships with law firms and vendors. 

Many homeowner associations are confident in hiring HOA management firms because of the secured relationships they have with both law firms and vendors. One of the most significant responsibilities of HOA management is assisting with the clarification of homeowner association laws, and deciding various policy issues. When a certain situation arises, it is always helpful to consult with an attorney. The strong relationship that has been formed essentially means that the law firm will make every effort to supply outstanding service. 

Looking for Help with Your HOA Management?

Heritage Property Management has served the greater Atlanta area for more than 25 years. With a staff including 50 property mangers, the experienced management team at Heritage Property Management supplies expert knowledge in the facets of large-scale property management, maintenance, construction, and  administrative duties. If you are interested in learning more information about our Property Management Divisions, including Homeowner Associations, we would love to hear from you

Holiday Activities Around Atlanta

Once our bellies have recovered from Thanksgiving dinner and the Black Friday crowds have dissipated, we’re ready to venture out again. This time in search of some holiday activities for any and all members of the family.

Check out our list of great holiday activities in and around the Atlanta area for 2018.

holiday events around atlanta 2018

Things to Do for the Holidays Around Atlanta

Lake Lanier Christmas Lights
  1. Lake Lanier Magical Nights of Lights

    7650 Lanier Islands Parkway Buford, GA 30518

    “Tradition and excitement merge at a magical place with seven miles of traditional and unique holiday lights. And there's more winter wonderland fun to be had at LandShark Landing with winter-themed carnival rides, fire pits, s'mores, specialty winter drinks, and more!”

    The folks of Lake Lanier have pretty much summed it up in a few sentences. It’s a winter wonderland one-stop-shop for all things Christmas.

Things to do in Atlanta for the holidays 2018

2. Menorah Lighting at Avalon in Alpharetta

400 Avalon Blvd.
Alpharetta, GA 30009
December 2nd, 5pm

”Join us and Chabad of North Fulton on December 2nd from 5PM to 6PM for a Chanukah celebration this holiday season! Guests are invited to Boulevard East (in front of Brine Seafood Shack) for a traditional Menorah lighting ceremony as well as refreshments, music, and entertainment for all ages. See you there!”
(Source: Avalon Alpharetta)

Things to do in atlanta this holiday

3. Pet Photos with Santa

3393 Peachtree Rd NE,
Atlanta, GA 30326
December 9th, 7.30-9.30pm

Pets have Christmas wishes too! On November 12, families are welcome to bring their furry best friends for an unforgettable picture with Santa Claus in the Macy’s Court. Guests can enter the mall through the Main Mall entrance near Sprinkles and Nike. Please refrain from bringing reptiles or exotic animals. Advance registration is recommended.

Best Santa in Atlanta

4. Photos with Santa

Various Locations Around Atlanta

We couldn’t possibly choose between all the fantastic Santa appearances around Greater Atlanta so we’ll leave the choice up to you. Here’s a full list of over 25 locations compiled by 365 Atlanta Traveler of where the Big Man will be making appearances this year.

What is your favorite thing to do around Atlanta for the holidays?
Let us know on Facebook!

How Property Managers Can Help Handle Resident Complaints

If you own a home that is governed by a Home Owners Association (HOA), a professional property management company can work with your HOA to help manage resident complaints and disputes. The task can feel quite daunting for volunteer HOA members trying to handle things on their own. And when you have enough home owners in one community, there are bound to be circumstances where a homeowner disagrees with a rule or doesn’t follow the bylaws and the Association's Governing Documents.

But how can a good property management company help an HOA handle resident complaints?

How HOAs can handle neighbor disputes.

1. Property management companies can provide the support and connect the board to legal professionals to enable HOA board members effectively and property govern the community and enforce the rules, regulations and covenants.

Some say it’s the best form of government and that it is closest to a pure democracy in terms of responsiveness and representation. The HOA in your community is there to ensure the good of the community as a whole and help when a home owner needs resolution to an issue. Either their own, or a dispute with a neighbor.

2. Property management companies have a process for disputes to ensure fairness from one complaint to the next.

The typical process used by a property management company to resolve a dispute is a written submission of the complaint to the management company who will then communicate the issue to the appropriate HOA board members.

Homeowners needing to submit a complaint should always do so in writing and send it to their community property manager.

Every homeowner complaint letter should include the following :

  • The name of the homeowner filing the complaint.

  • The homeowner’s address and name of the community.

  • The date or date range the issue took place.

  • A full description of the issue.

How to write a letter to the hoa.

3. Once the letter is received by the board via the property manager a specified period of time will be given during the next board meeting to discuss the issue. The property management company can help guide the board members on how to best handle the situation.

This is sometimes held monthly or quarterly and depends on the severity of the issue. If a meeting is not imminent, some boards will discuss the issue immediately with their property manager for guidance on how to handle the issue in the most fair and appropriate manner based on their specific community regulations.

Homeowners may also choose to request a face-to-face meeting to discuss their issue in person with representatives from both the HOA board and property management company.

The end goal of any homeowner complaint is to handle each issue fairly, within the bounds of the community guidelines, rules and regulations and have a peaceful, successful outcome for both parties.

While this is not always possible, a professional property management company can help reduce complication, take unnecessary emotion out of the decisions and look at the issues from an outside, legal perspective reducing the stress and complexity of the issues for the individual board members.

Looking for professional help managing your community needs?

Contact us today!

4 Best Pumpkin Patches in Atlanta

If you are anything like us, the mere mention of PSL (pumpkin spice latte) has you brimming with anticipation for the cooler autumn months. With PSLs in hand, check out some of the top pumpkin patches around the Atlanta area for 2018.

best pumpkin patches in atlanta 2018

Best Pumpkin Patches Around Atlanta 2018

best pumpkin patches in atlanta 2018
  1. Kinsey Family Farm

    7170 Jot-em Down Road Gainesville, GA 30506

    If your focus is on quality and variety of pumpkins then Kinsey Family Farm is one of the best pumpkin patches in Atlanta. During our fall season they offer a really wide range of traditional, unusual and unique pumpkin varieties. Some are for decorations while others are great for cooking. Bring the whole family because the hayrides and animal feedings are a highlight for the kids.

  2. Stone Mountain Park Annual Pumpkin Festival

    1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain
    Open on specific dates from Sept. 22-Oct. 28

    Enjoy all the regular park attractions in addition to pumpkin-themed activities like a dance-a-long party parade with Spookley the Square Pumpkin, meet him at the pumpkin patch or take part in a pie-eating contest. This year, a Glow by Night experience is also added, with thousands of jack-o-lanterns lighting up the night. Huge pumpkin displays and flashlight tours will also extend the nighttime fun. (source: AJC)

  3. Uncle Bob’s Pumpkin Patch

    3781 E. Happy Valley Circle, Newnan, GA 30263
    Sept. 24 - Nov. 5, Friday & Sunday, 1 p.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

    Not the cheapest pumpkin patch in town ($18!) but Uncle Bob’s is worth dishing out the money. From hayrides to a petting zoo, corn maze and nature trails, you’ll get hours worth of entertainment for the whole family.

  4. Sleepy Hollow Farm

    628 Sleepy Hollow Road, Powder Springs

    Open Sept. 22-Nov. 3, Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Tuesday-Friday 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Nighttime activities on select dates from 7-10 p.m.

    After you've picked out your perfect pumpkin, Sleepy Hollow has activities during the day as well as at night. Daytime fun includes a corn maze, kids' games, tractor rides and farm animals you can visit. At night, check out the "Stranger Things" filming location tours and a nighttime corn maze on select nights. (source: AJC)

Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know on Facebook!

3 Last Minute Atlanta-Area Staycation Ideas

As the end of summer draws nearer and the school supplies start to line store shelves you may want to consider squeezing in one last little break before the latter half of the year begins. With only a few weeks left in the summer traveling too far afield may be out of the question. Why not consider an Atlanta staycation?

Here is a list of some great options in and around the Atlanta area for a fun-filled vacation-vibe day out.

Atlanta Area Staycation Destinations

1. For the Family
Ponce City Market: The Rooftop

Image : Ponce City Market

You can easily make a full day out of visiting Ponce City Market. They recently opened Rooftop has old-fashioned carnival games, mini golf, rides and a beer garden with breathtaking views of the city. Not into beer? No problem at Ponce. Just take the elevator down to the food hall to explore a foodie's paradise with unique quick food options to satisfy the picky eaters all the way through to the most adventurous palates.

Ready to walk off that meal? Check out the one of a kind boutique shops with items from local Atlanta-area artisans (psst, they make wonderful gifts for family and friends).


2. For the Couples
Mandarin Oriental Buckhead

Image : Mandarin Oriental

With an indoor pool, full-service spa and surrounded by the famous nightlife, shopping and dining of Buckhead, a night at the 5-star Mandarin Oriental will definitely make you feel like you've left town. 

The best part? You might just be able to justify the expensive room rate since you're only staying one night and you don't need to buy plane tickets or rent a car!


3. For the Nature Lovers

Image : Serenbe

Take a day or overnight trip to Serenbe and you'll feel miles away from the busy city life. Hidden away in the farm fields of Chattahoochee Hills, about an hour south of the City, you'll find a surprisingly unique self-sustaining community, unlike anything you've ever seen.

Taking farm-fresh to a whole new level, Serenbe is becoming well known nationwide for it's leading example of new urbanism design. A peaceful town with a few shops, a lot of character and nature surroundings, it's just the thing if you're looking for a bit of downtime. Check out the fried chicken at The Inn, it's amazing!

Safe Pool Water Tips for Summer

Your backyard swimming pool or neighborhood pool may look refreshing, particularly on a sweltering hot day. But if it’s not properly monitored, the water can harbor bacteria, viruses and parasites that can cause what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) call recreational water illnesses. Instances of these ailments, which include ear and eye infections and respiratory, intestinal and skin diseases, are dramatically on the rise according to the CDC; reported cases have more than tripled in the past 20 years.

Pool water safety tips for Atlanta residents of HOAs

If your home or community includes a swimming pool, hot tub or wading pool, take the following steps to minimize outbreaks of infections and angry homeowners:

  • Be diligent about hygiene. If you're part of the HOA, consider a sign near the pool to remind residents.
  • Change diapered children well away from the pool and its surrounding deck, and make sure all swimmers take frequent bathroom breaks. 
  • Remind swimmers not swallow pool water and to shower with soap each time they enter or leave the pool. 
  • Don’t allow pets in the water.
  • Don’t allow anyone who has an infection or illness to enter the pool area. 

Be Aware. Check the water pH and chlorine levels regularly—or have it monitored regularly by a professional pool service—particularly during times of heavy use.

If you're looking for a pool service company in the Atlanta area, check out our list of vetted pool vendors.

Clean Pool Water = Happy Residents All Summer!

The CDC website says the following signs can indicate whether or not pool water is safe:

  • Water should be clear enough that you can see any painted stripes and the bottom of the pool.
  • The sides of the pool should be smooth and not sticky or slippery.
  • A well-chlorinated pool has little odor, while a strong chemical smell indicates a maintenance problem.
  • Make sure the pool pumps and filtration systems are in good repair and operating as they should.

Be Informed. The chemicals used to sanitize pool water are themselves toxic if used, stored or applied improperly, so make sure you know how to handle them or have a professional pool service do it for you on a prescribed schedule. 

Swimming pools are a great source of recreation, exercise and relaxation, and a little vigilance on your part can help ensure that you and your guests don’t get sick.

Visit the CDC website for more information about pool water safety. And have a fun summer!

HOA Due Process : Why It Matters

Inevitably, from time to time, community rules are broken. When this happens, the association informs residents about the problem and follows what is known as due process procedure. If it seems like it's taking longer than expected to receive a response on a specific issue, the important due process procedures may be the cause of the delay.

What is an HOA's due process?

Simply stated, this means that the association always notifies residents of alleged violations before taking any action. Many times the HOA board will employ a management company, like Heritage Property Management, to send written notices describing the possible rule violation and ask the residents to correct the problem voluntarily by a specific date. These notices also explain any action the association may take if the violation isn’t corrected. 

The association understands that things aren’t always as they seem. So, any time notices are sent to residents, the board wants to hear the resident’s point of view. As a property management company and liaison between homeowners and HOA boards, we can arrange for residents to meet with the board before imposing any type of penalty.

In fact, imposing penalties isn’t the goal at all!

HOA due process and appealing a decision by the board.

It’s more important that residents comply with the association rules for the good of everyone in the community. These meetings give residents and the board an opportunity to discuss rule violations informally and arrive at a solution. 

After they’ve had a chance to talk to a resident about a rule violation, board members will discuss the situation among themselves and make a decision. Residents generally receive the board’s decision in writing in about 10 business days. For those who may disagree with the decision, most HOA boards have an appeal process.

So next time it seems like you community is moving slower than an iceberg with their communications, keep in mind that there is a process in place to ensure consistency and fairness in every situation that arises.

Do you have more questions about HOA Due Process in your neighborhood? Drop us a line!

Common Georgia Insects 🐜 and How to Deal with Them

Whether you’re attacked while working in the garden, enjoying a picnic in the park or lounging by the pool, bug bites and stings are an inevitable summer annoyance. At best, bites and stings can be uncomfortable for a few days; at worst, they can be a serious, life-threatening hazard. 

There are nearly 600 common bugs and insects in Georgia. Below are just a few of the most common (and pesky) ones you should be on the look out for both inside and outside your home.

Common Georgia insects and how to keep them out of your home.

A List of Common Georgia Insects

  • American Dog Tick
  • Asian Multicolored Lady Beetle (aka Ladybug)
  • Black Carpenter Ant
  • Black Horsefly
  • Black Widow Spider
  • Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
  • Dobsonfly
  • European Earwig
  • Mosquitos

And that's just to name a few! While many of these insects native to Georgia are actually helpful around the backyard, most homeowners would prefer they stay outdoors. There are plenty of things that can be done to create a barrier between your home and Georgia insects to keep them on the outside where they belong.

Check out our list of Georgia Pest Companies who can help your community and homeowners get control of the insects this summer.

Alternatively, local home supply stores sell a wide array of sprays and deterrents for those who don't mind spraying on a regular basis. 

But what about the insects that you just can't control while you're enjoying the beautiful Georgia weather? Well, here are some tips on how to relieve the itch or sting and when to know if you should seek medical attention.

How to Treat a Bug Bite or Sting

How to treat a bug bite from a Georgia insect.

If the bite or sting is mildly painful or itchy, apply over-the-counter medication that contains Benadryl or cortisone for topical relief. Other home remedies, like a applying a paste made from baking soda and water, dabbing on ammonia with a cotton ball, soaking in oatmeal baths or even applying toothpaste to the site may also provide relief. 

Whatever you do, don’t scratch! This can cause an infection and leave a scar. And it won’t relieve the itch or sting. 

If you feel faint, nauseous, dizzy or disoriented, or if you experience rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing or your lips, tongue or throat swell, call 911 immediately. These symptoms indicate a severe allergy to the insect’s venom. Administer an Epi-pen (injectable epinephrine) if one is available and administer CPR if symptoms worsen before emergency personnel arrive. After the episode, follow up with a physician who can determine an allergy prevention treatment. 

Don't scratch those bug bites!

Stay alert for delayed symptoms around the bite or sting, like redness or swelling, which could indicate an infection or other condition. And see a doctor right away if you have a headache, fever or joint pain within a few days of being bitten. Some insects, like ticks and mosquitoes, can infect their victims with serious, flulike illnesses, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease and West Nile virus, which only a physician can diagnose and treat. 

Most important, use insect repellant when outdoors and wear light-weight, light-colored clothing over arms, legs and feet to keep insects off your skin. And avoid wearing perfume and fragrances, which can attract bugs.

Preparing Your Lawn and Landscape for Spring

If Punxsutawney Phil (the famous Groundhog) is right, we are in for 6 more weeks before Spring weather arrives in Georgia. That leaves homeowners plenty of time to get a jump start on preparing their lawns for the Spring season. 

Tips for Atlanta lawn care

Lawn care and landscape maintenance is a key part of ensuring home values stay high and the neighborhood as a whole continues to be desirable to homebuyers. Most homeowners appreciate living near neighbors who care for their lawns. Maintaining a clean-looking lawn can be as simple as mowing every 5-7 days and keeping things tidy by removing down branches and debris on occasion.

While many homeowners who are clients of Heritage Property Management Services enjoy full or partial lawn maintenance by one of our trusted Atlanta lawn care providers, there are plenty others who don’t have hired lawn care or perhaps enjoy taking on the rewarding lawn work themselves. Either way, there are plenty of simple things each Atlanta homeowner can do to prep their lawns for lush, beautiful spring growth. 

How to Prepare Your Atlanta Lawn for Spring

+ Clean Up Debris

Preparing your lawn for spring starts with a bit of clearing up. On a nice dry sunny day grab your rake and garden waste bags and head outside for some spring cleaning.

+ Pull Weeds

  • Rake and dispose of old leaves, twigs, and debris from fall and winter.
  • Remove any down branches (carefully!) or hire an Atlanta area tree removal specialist.
  • Pull out any undergrowth to clear space for new spring growth.

By cleaning up your yard, especially the turf, you’re ensuring that future fertilizers won’t be blocked from reaching the soil and drainage will be optimal for new growth.

Atlanta spring lawn care tips, what to trim in spring

+ Prune Summer-Flowering Shrubs

It may seem early, but late winter is actually the best time to start trimming those summer-flowering shrubs like hydrangeas, crape myrtles, butterfly bushes, and most types of roses. Make sure to hold off on pruning any spring-flowering shrubs though as they need a bit more time.

+ Mow Your Lawn 

Dust off the lawn mower and check it over. Clean it off and sharpen the blade if needed. Also, make sure to check the blade height while parked on a flat solid surface. 

The height of the blade makes a surprisingly big difference in the spread of weeds and overall growth of the grass. Georgia Gardener, Walter Reeves has a great reference chart for mower blade height vs. type of grass on his website.

+ Don’t Fertilize…Yet

You’ll want to wait until Spring has arrived to lay that first batch of fertilizer but a good tip to ensure you don’t miss your ‘fertilizing window’ is to swing by the lawn care store and pick up a bag or two to have ready. Then all you have to do is set a reminder on your phone or on your calendar so you don’t miss this crucial opportunity to get your landscape off to a healthy start.

Also make a call to your landscape company, if your community has one, and ask them if lawn fertilization is included in your monthly maintenance. You may be able to skip this step if it’s already provided for you.

When to prune roses in Atanta

+ Edge Flower Beds

Late winter through early spring is a great time to edge your flower beds to create definition between the beds and the lawn. From there mulching is a breeze. Choose a good quality, heavy mulch and you’ll get more life out of it.

+ Hold off on Seeding

Brown patches, bald patches, and colorless dormant grass are typical of this time of year. Like fertilizer, resist the urge to spread new seed. When spring arrives you can lay a combination of some pre-emergent or weed killer and fertilizer. Another good reminder to put on your calendar.

+ Check the Schedule

Most lawn care providers and landscaping companies offer a maintenance schedule for homeowners. Check the website for your landscape company and print off their maintenance schedule to avoid any overlap in efforts. This also allows you to fill in any ‘gaps’ in additional maintenance you want to include in your annual lawn care.

Looking for a Lawn Care Provider for Your Community?

Heritage Property Management offers clients an extensive list of pre-vetted Atlanta-Area vendors, including lawn care providers, for communities. Need help choosing? Drop us a line and we’ll help you assess your community’s landscaping needs.