Capital Planning Considerations for Chicago Condo Associations

Planning for the future can bring excitement and trepidation for condo associations, especially when it comes to funding the projects. That’s why it’s imperative to think ahead – years and years ahead – so HOAs can feel confident that the amount they have in reserves is enough to fund major capital projects and maintenance needs when they arise.

Capital Planning Explained

Capital planning for condo associations refers to the process of identifying and prioritizing major capital projects and maintenance needs for the property, estimating the associated costs, and developing a plan to fund these expenses over time. When done well, capital planning ensures that condo associations have the financial resources they need when they need them in order to maintain and improve the property. 

Developing a Capital Planning Strategy

By following a capital planning strategy, your condo associations can maintain the value of your property and ensure the ongoing satisfaction of your residents. Here are several steps to include when planning future improvements.

  • Develop a long-term capital plan – Board members need to prioritize the here and now as well as the future. That’s where capital planning comes in. A long-term capital plan helps identify and prioritize future capital projects so you can best make plans for financing them. 
  • Estimate costs – Review your long-term plan and do your best to accurately estimate costs so you can begin saving for them. Working with industry experts such as engineers or contractors can help you obtain the most accurate cost estimates. Conducting a reserves study can also help with planning.
  • Allocate funds – Once capital needs and costs are identified, the next step is to allocate funds to cover these expenses. This can involve using reserve funds, implementing special assessments, or obtaining financing. You can read more about 3 ways to fund a capital improvement here.
  • Prioritize projects – With a long-term capital plan and funding in place, the next step is to prioritize projects based on their importance and urgency. Before any project gets approved, it will have to pass a board vote.
  • Monitor and review – Capital planning is an ongoing process that requires regular monitoring and review. Keep an eye on the condition of your property and update your capital plan and funding as necessary to ensure the association is prepared to meet future capital needs.

By following these guidelines, condo association board members can develop a comprehensive capital planning strategy that helps ensure the ongoing maintenance and improvement of their community. 

For help and guidance with your Chicago condo association responsibilities, consider partnering with a full-service association management firm. Our team at First Community Management can help. Call us today at 312.829.8900 to ask your questions.

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