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  • April 01, 2019 12:30 AM | Brian Palm

    By: Kelly Elmore, Principal at Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit

    When disaster strikes your Association, are you prepared? Here are four steps to take when faced with damage to your Association’s property.

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  • April 01, 2019 12:30 AM | Brian Palm

    By: Adams Roofing

    Condensation naturally occurs whenever warm, moisture-laden air contacts a cooler surface.

    Similar to how beads of moisture collect on the outside of an ice-filled glass in summer, condensation can form on the underside of your roof in winter. Warmth escaping from your living space into the attic is the catalyst for condensation formation. If this is occurring in your home, it’s vital to learn about the damage it can cause and how to resolve it.

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  • April 01, 2019 12:30 AM | Brian Palm

    By: Rosen Management

    Community Association Board Members and Managers are responsible for carrying out businesses that protect millions of dollars worth of real estate. Daily problems arise that range in magnitude and importance, but all require sound business judgment to resolve. Many times, what is also required is the cooperation or consensus of Association residents comprised of different interests, values and personalities. Their cooperation can mean the difference between solving a problem on paper and actually solving it. It is virtually impossible to solve big or complex problems without having adverse effects on at least some interests. Consequently, almost any big or complex problem will not get unanimous support. 

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  • February 21, 2019 1:57 PM | Deleted user

    Pro Home 1 Inc. is an independent contractor with over 40+ years of combined residential and multi-family complex construction experience. Pro Home 1, what recognized and awarded by Remodeling Magazine as a BIG50 Americas top Remodeler and has received a Business Excellence award by Daily Herald Business Ledger.  We provide straight talk and help our customers to understand their options, so they can make the best-informed decision. Our vision is to become the area's most trusted and respected provider of quality remodeling and be rewarded by customer's increase pride in their home. 

    Services include: Roofing, Siding, Soffits, Gutters, Balconies and windows/doors.

  • February 20, 2019 12:06 PM | Deleted user

    Deborah Hagan will serve as Secretary of Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).* For over 36 years, Hagan has been a strong and exemplary advocate for consumer protection in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. In her role as leader of the Consumer Protection Division, she advanced and defended the interests of Illinois consumers in critical areas such as mortgage origination and servicing, student loan servicing, debt collection, identity theft and other areas of financial risk. Hagan has played a critical leadership role in many groundbreaking settlements on the state and national level, helping to recover billions of dollars in restitution for victims of consumer fraud and other wrongful conduct. In addition to her current role which she has held since 2004, Hagan has served as bureau chief, deputy bureau chief and assistant attorney general. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Dayton School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in political science from Miami University.

    Mario Treto, Jr. will serve as Director of Real Estate at IDFPR.* Treto currently serves as Deputy City Attorney for the City of Evanston where he provides legal counsel to its elected officials, departments, and staff with compliance, transactional, and corporate matters. Prior to entering the public sector, he worked at a Chicago-based law firm focusing his practice on commercial and residential real estate, corporate law and commercial transactions. Treto is a nationally recognized lawyer by various organizations, including the International Municipal Lawyers Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the National LGBT Bar. He also serves as board chair of Howard Brown Health, a federally qualified health center in the Chicagoland area with ten clinics and a youth center serving 35,000 patients. He received his Juris Doctor from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts in biology and psychology from Washington University in St. Louis.
    Francisco Menchaca will continue to serve as Director of Financial Institutions at IDFPR.* Menchaca has held the post since his appointment by Gov. Quinn in July 2013 and previously served the department as credit union supervisor. Prior to beginning state service, Menchaca developed an extensive resume managing financial institutions and governmental agencies at the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC). He has spent over twenty years of his career in the financial industry, notably serving as the First Vice President at Bank One, where he also spearheaded the Latino Employee Network. Menchaca is a proponent of robust public-private partnerships and community outreach, citing his youth in the Pilsen/Little Village neighborhood as his inspiration in seeking to provide opportunities for educational and economic development. He received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago and his Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University.
    Jessica Baer will continue to serve as Director of Professional Regulation at IDFPR.*
     Baer has held the post since her appointment by Gov. Rauner in September 2016 and previously served the department as general counsel. In that role, she oversaw the entire legal department for the agency, providing input on a number of topics including pending litigation, labor issues, and legislation. Prior to joining IDFPR, Baer spent six years as an associate at K&L Gates focusing on litigation and antitrust law. Her cases involved complex contractual disputes, antitrust litigation and regulatory compliance counseling. Baer is licensed to practice law in Illinois.  She earned her Juris Doctor from DePaul University and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
    Click here to view the previous appointments to the Pritzker administration.

  • February 04, 2019 3:53 PM | Deleted user

    The Cook County property tax bill due March 1, 2019, shows taxpayers the debt of every local government that levies taxes on their homes and other real estate, helping explain why taxes rise, Treasurer Maria Pappas said today.

    “The financial challenges facing local governments can seem unreal because the numbers are so large,” Pappas said. “The tax bills show homeowners the problems are indeed real.”

    Anywhere from five to 13 taxing districts — local governments and school districts — levy taxes on a given property, Pappas explained.

    On the front of every bill is a section called “Taxing District Debt and Financial Data,” which provides detailed information for each taxing district, including:

    • Money owed by your taxing districts
    • Pension and health care amounts promised by your taxing districts
    • Amount of pension and health care shortage
    • Percentage of pension and health care costs taxing districts can pay

    The First Installment for Tax Year 2018 is due March 1, 2019. The First Installment is always 55 percent of the prior year’s total taxes. About 1.7 million property tax bills have been mailed to owners of homes, businesses and land, Pappas said. Property owners can download a copy of the new bill by going to

    Click here to download the article. 

  • February 04, 2019 3:45 PM | Deleted user

    By: Phil Mariotti, Woodland Windows & Doors


    noun: 1. the unbroken and consistent existence or operation of something over a period of time.

    The word continuity is often overused in homeowners associations.  Board members and managers often use it as a means of defense against “off the wall” request in the same way that middle school teachers use “insubordination” as the catch all for unruly behavior. 

    When you stop and consider the reason behind the rule, there really is a value in keeping continuity in a community.  In my travels to various condo & townhome buildings, I have seen a stark contrast in communities that value keeping the buildings “looking alike” verses those that take the “laissez faire” approach to exterior architectural modifications. 

    The challenge in this regard is evaluating homeowner’s individual expression, style, and preference with the good of the community at large.  Sometimes these two spheres cannot coexist and the community value needs to oversee the individual value. 

    One of the secrets to limiting the amount of conflict between the individual owners and the association at large is to be clear in guidance regarding the exterior standards for the association.  For instance, in regards to window and door replacement request it is helpful for the association to offer a clear specification for owners to follow.

    If the current doors are entry doors with 9 lites and 2 panels below, provide some acceptable replacement models for homeowners to follow and also a place where they can purchase the door locally with a contractor who is familiar with the association’s guidelines.  This will limit the amount of frustration for owners who go shopping and have their heart set on a front door with decorative glass. 

    Additionally, outside of white windows and doors, the exterior color can provide a significant problem in replacement request.  Manufacturers often use the same name but have different shades of the same color.  Inversely, manufactures also in many cases have different names for the same color.  Specifying a product which does meet the needs of the community offers the guidance that the majority of homeowners are looking for such as “Marvin Ultimate Double Hung Windows with Evergreen Clad Exterior” instead of just saying to make sure the windows have a green exterior. 

    Not only is it important to be specific in the type of windows or doors that residents will install into their homes, but is also equally important to specify some guidelines for the installation method that will affect not only the final look of the product, but also the integrity of the building. 

    There are some instances when contractors can install a new window while leaving the original window frame in place, while in most cases this will result in a different look for the building.  The glass will be smaller as well as the exterior aluminum trim being wider.  In these cases, it will be difficult for the association to know the method of replacement that is planned unless the contractor is thorough and specific in the contract document. 

    The community can combat the installation variable issue by working with a reliable contractor or architect/engineer to specify the basic installation requirements such as requiring complete removal of the existing windows and frames in the document provided to owners.  It may be beneficial to require the homeowner and contractor to sign off on receipt of the installation specifications and window/door specification to avoid confusion between the contractor and homeowner.

    Lastly, it is important in the architectural process to require the certificate of insurance information from the contractors to avoid claims against the association.  If the association is clear in insurance requirements through a specification for windows and doors, this will avoid the issue on the back end of approval when the insurance provisions of the contractor do not meet the association requirements and deposits have already been made by homeowners. 

    Essentially, if the homeowners associations become more proactive in providing clear guidance for homeowners in regards to the window and door replacement requirements, then they will be less likely to end up in a regrettable position of dispute with homeowners/contractors after work has been complete.  Encouraging owners to work with reputable contractors providing reputable products will also encourage the quality assurance for the building and will also streamline the architectural approval process.

    This will lead to “continuity” which is a key component in maintaining the “curb appeal” of an association and showing potential “owners” in the market that the association has order.  Maintaining the curb appeal, encourages a sense of pride in ownership which also directly impacts the desirability of a given community and ultimately impacts home value.  Start the process of developing a clear and concise specification for window and door replacement in your community today! 

  • January 28, 2019 4:12 PM | Deleted user

    January 17, 2019 Patty Turner Center, Deerfeild and  January 23, 2019 Countryside Bank, Countryside

    ACTHA was pleased to engage with The Pizzo Group to host two seminars entitled “Natural Areas Restoration for HOA Common Space” which were held on January 17, 2019 at the Patty Turner Center in Deerfield and on January 23, 2019 at the Countryside Bank in Countryside.

    Seth Crackel of the Pizzo Group was the presenter. The unique feature of these seminars was the offering of two CAMBI credits by Pizzo Group to qualified participants.

    Seth Crackel presented a powerpoint presentation that engaged the audience in learning the basic terminology of ponds, the "how" and "why's" of good maintenance, problem solving of overgrowth of invasive species and stewardship of ponds.

    Managers and Association Board attendees, as well as home owners attending the seminar, learned the recognition of trouble signs of pond challenges and the ways to combat these issues.

    Seth explained the principle of ”chemical burns” and the need to do this procedure for the health of the surrounding areas of a pond. He stressed the need for education of homeowners and Board in pond health and maintenance. Communication is the key. Once you educate, the scene is set for formulating a plan forward.

    The plan forward then includes: identifying your goals, formulating your strategies, implementing your plan, then monitoring all your steps in proper sequence.

    He stressed the need to connect the community to nature. This is done by nature signage and engaging your homeowners in the value of protection and maintenance of your ponds.

    Value is added to your community site when successful long range planning is put in place. This is the opposite of “whim planning” which usually yields negative results and results in a confused state of wrong plants in the wrong places.

    Education is the key to pond health and successful planning.

  • January 28, 2019 2:27 PM | Deleted user

    Looking for a financial organization that offers it all?

    Customized loans, reserves, lockbox and auto debit services, friendly, knowledgeable professionals, and up to $3.75 million of FDIC insurance for community associations?

    You’ve found it!

    Wintrust Community Advantage is one of the Midwest's leading providers of financial services to condominium, townhouse and homeowner associations. Wintrust Community Advantage offers a variety of products, from specialized financing to treasury management to reserve investments to online account services, paired with best-in-class client service and in-depth knowledge of the industry, products are customized and utilized with each association's needs,

    Wintrust Community Advantage can serve its clients more efficiently, accurately and promptly than other financial service providers.

    Meet the staff:

    President: Peter J. Santangelo

    Senior Vice President: Pamela E. Muller

    Vice President: Anthony W. Dister

    Vice President: Kimberly Myles

    Relationship Officer: Matthew R. Hall

    Relationship Officer: George T. Toubekis

    Senior Credit Analyst: Nancy C. Taub

    Senior Deposit Services Banker: Mary M. Theile

    Senior Deposit Services Banker: Angela M. Johnson

    Deposit Banker: Fifi F. Farad

    Deposit Banker: Alexandra Diaz

    Credit Administrator: Ulylana Lana Shevchuk

    Credit Administrator: Daniel G. Corwin

  • January 18, 2019 11:07 AM | Deleted user

    By: Chuck Kohut of DRF Trusted Property Solutions

    Courtesy of:

    Have you ever seen what happens to an aluminum can when it freezes? Or more succinctly – have you ever seen it after it’s ruptured and the contents have thawed? The power of ice and water (or liquid) is nothing short of awesome. Ice carved the great valleys of our country – and we all know what a raging flow of water can do. In a similar way, the power of ice and water can impact properties of all types if we’re not paying attention and prepared.

    A quarter of a million homes throughout the U.S. have at least one room damaged by frozen water pipes each winter according to State Farm Insurance. That’s 250,000 families disrupted by damage, lost possessions and the inconvenience repairs bring – during the coldest time of the year no less. What’s more, the Institute for Business and Home Safety reports that claim payments for losses related to water damage or freezing has exceeded $4 billion over the past decade.

    It’s Not the Freeze – It’s the Thaw

    Damage from frozen pipes can be significant, and expensive. The average claim for water damage due to frozen pipes is about $15,000 according to It’s not only the pipes that contribute to this cost – In fact – it’s not the freeze – it’s the thaw. According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, once a frozen pipe bursts as much as 250 gallons per day can escape from a one-eighth inch rupture. And for multi-family properties, chances are the damage will not be isolated to the unit experiencing the leak. Water can quickly travel to other units on the same floor and below increasing damage and costs. Walls, ceilings, flooring, décor and anything in the path of the water can be affected. The IBHS notes that claims for frozen pipe related failures “resulted in losses that were roughly twice as severe as those caused by plumbing supply system material failures.” What do these numbers tell us? Homeowners, property managers, condo residents and even renters need to be diligent in their focus of just how important it is to be aware and prepare for the potential damage cold weather can cause.

    Being aware means understanding all of the places the potential for a frozen pipe exist. Interior pipes positioned along exterior walls (especially North facing), outdoor spigots, swimming pool lines, water sprinkler/fire suppression systems, especially those in large open areas such as lobbies or vestibules, can all be affected by extreme cold.

    Awareness is only the first step. Preparation is the key to prevention. Prior to the cold weather setting in it’s recommended that homeowners, and property managers, review their property for potential winter water issues. According to Mike Lawyer, Director of Plumbing for DRF Trusted Property Solutions (, “It’s absolutely critical that a property be reviewed and steps taken to protect areas that are susceptible to freezing due to exposure to extreme temperatures”. Lawyer recommends checking the property two times per year. Once prior to the cold weather to prepare, and once in the early spring – just to make sure no damage occurred.

    Lawyer continues: “There are actually two states to being prepared. Proactively protecting your pipes, and the response to extreme cold weather events.” As one can imagine prevention is a much less expensive proposition than the repairs and hassle a broken pipe brings. First, know what you’re insured for. Call you agent and learn what your policy protects you against. Then as you review the property take measures to insulate pipes and water lines that can come in contact with cold weather. Building maintenance staff can implement simple measures to protect against issues. Installing heat tape, foam insulation and other inexpensive products, which are available at most hardware stores, can protect pipes from freezing. Don’t forget the outside water supply as well. Turn off the water to outdoor spigots and use an inexpensive foam cover the block the wind.

    Reviewing the property’s heating system is also important. Maintaining adequate temperatures is critical. Temperatures at least 65 degrees should be maintained to keep the whole property warm during extended cold spells. In fact, if a pipe bursts and suitable heat is not maintained an insurance company may not cover the damage claim. On this front it’s especially important that residents, and operators, of multi-family properties know the specifics about their policies. notes that “During a particularly cold spell, it could be argued that “reasonable use” of the apartment plumbing includes renters taking precautions against burst pipes. Tenants might also be required by the lease to keep the apartment thermostat above a reasonable temperature to help prevent weather damage. No matter the type of residence, keeping the space warm is critical. While saving on the heating bill is an attractive motivation, coming home to a flooded house and expensive repair bill is anything but. Lastly – monitor the water systems. There are many options from alarms to devices that can wirelessly notify you of a problem and even shut off the main water supply in the case of a leak. Today, such systems are more affordable and feature-rich than ever – and are proving to pay for themselves many times over. Both homes and commercial buildings are susceptible to water damage in uniquely different ways according to Jim McLaughlin, President of Vital Command – one company that’s fast becoming a leader in smart home technology solutions. “Water damage from burst or leaking pipes doesn’t discriminate,” explains Jim. “It’s the number one cause of commercial property damage and over a 10-year period, 20% of homes will have a significant water damage incident.”

    Be Proactive to Avoid the Freeze

    Despite the amount of pre-planning that’s done – there’s always the possibility of a cold weather event overwhelming even the most diligent planning. The next level of preparation involves the steps that can be taken to avoid frozen pipes in the moment. How do you know that there may be a problem? When it’s cold walk through your property and observe your pipes. Are there obvious signs such as bulges, or frost on the pipe? Is the flow of water from a faucet significantly reduced – or not present at all? How about the toilets? Are they not flushing? It’s time to act when you encounter any of these signs. Opening the doors under kitchen or bathroom cabinets and allowing warmer air to circulate is one commonly recommended tactic. Making sure you maintain a consistent temperature bears repeating. If the residence has a water line in or adjacent to the garage or other unheated space, keep the door closed. Lastly – one bit of common knowledge – let the faucet trickle. Having the water flow protects a pipe from freezing.

    Frozen Pipes – What to Do Now

    Even with proactive measures taken to prevent freezing, the worst can happen. What next? If there’s no rupture the sooner steps are taken to get water flowing again the better. However, according to DRF’s Mike Lawyer, “if you see a break in the line and it’s still frozen, shut the water main off and call your plumber right away.” The ice can actually block the hole – and when it thaws water will leak through the break”. Turning the water off even if a rupture has not happened is the first step you should always take. Warming the pipes is the next step. But, never use any device that has an open flame. That’s a good way to start a fire and potentially destroy the whole property. In 2017 the Chicago Tribune reported on at least four structure fires caused by people attempting to thaw pipes with open flames in one 10-day period. Even a high wattage light bulb presents a danger. So, what can be used? The Red Cross recommendskeeping the faucet open and applying heat with an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hairdryer or portable space heater or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water.

    The key to avoiding the costs and frustration of frozen pipes is pretty simple actually – Awareness, Preparation, and Action. Before the cold sets in be aware of what areas of your particular property could be vulnerable. Prepare for the worst by taking action to protect the property and avoid potential damage.

    Click here to view the original article. 

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