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1
Posted by1 month ago

Big paint job - this year vs. next

Hey everyone! So my building (6 story, hundred unit condo in Seattle) needs exterior painting. We've deferred that project for 6 or 7 years. Now we have a quote for like $380k, a decent chunk of our reserve budget. We (the board) think we should go ahead and not delay wait any further. On the other hand everything's crazy expensive right now, and we can't help but wonder if next year would be cheaper. I thought I'd ask here for hot takes. Thanks!

7 comments
66% Upvoted
level 1
· 1 mo. ago
Gold
🏘 HOA Board Member

Seems you missed the window in the depths of the pandemic to do capital projects while everyone was afraid....

Now that prices have gone up, my personal view, is they likely won't go down, but they should level off. If Fed keeps raising rates, we may push into a recession, but that may not make the price any less. The thing is, for a $380k job, you've already hopefully compared the few companies that can do something of that size. It is unlikely the price will materially change.

I would also guess, if it has been deferred for 6 or 7 years, you are well past the time when you should paint, which means you may be putting the building at some level of risk at best, and impacting property values at worst. It is good to defer capital projects until things break and try to eek out every day of useful life of equipment as generally newer things are cheaper or more efficient. But sometimes, like with paint, you have to bite the bullet and just do it.

Hopefully you have a reserve study that feeds your budget so you know what other big expenses are planned.

9
level 2
Op · 1 mo. ago

Thanks for the thoughtful response! We do have good reserves and visibility on the next big expenses, nothing of that magnuture for a long time.

1
level 1

Deferring will cause you massive problems. I took over our board and there were several major 5 to 6 figure projects that got deferred and they are all stacking up at the same time. It's best to complete the projects as the reserve study dictates ( within reason) or the finances as a percentage of fully funded will be very misleading.

3
level 2
· 1 mo. ago
COA Owner

or the finances as a percentage of fully funded will be very misleading.

Especially to people who don't really know how to read financials, reserve studies and ask appropriate questions. Sometimes, that even includes the treasurer and other board members.

and they are all stacking up at the same time.

At the end of 2019 I was put in charge of one exterior project for 2020 and another board member was in charge of an interior project. We first agreed to get them both done at the same time. Then the other board members said we should finish one before the other. Interior got started first. Then ran over. Then it was getting close to completion and I wanted to start exterior scheduling but was told NO for no good reason. I explained that the exterior was important to the health of our building. Others didn't seem to care. I left the board at the end of 2020. Now, the exterior project hasn't yet started, there's a new big project and a third project all in the works. The projects truly do stack up!

Glad I'm not in charge of anything any longer. But hope that the building isn't suffering.

3
level 1

My advice is to make your decisions based on the data you have now. Speculating about the future as part of the decision-making process will only complicate the discussion.

Boards have a fiduciary duty to affect maintenance. I would ask how much liability the HOA is incurring by deferring another year. Will another deferral introduce additional issues for the building, or will deferral exacerbate a known issue caused by a lack of paint maintenance?

Consult your insurance company as well. If a major issue arises with the wall/stucco underneath that could have been corrected had painting not been deferred for so long, will your insurance cover it?

These are some of the other questions I would ask to assess the decision.

2
level 1

What if its more expensive next year? Recommend doing it now, may increase the cost of the job if put off for longer. That would offset any savings possible.

1
level 1

Painting is an under estimated necessity. It is what is standing between the outside (weather, water, sun, dirt) and your substrate (wood, stucco, etc). The longer you defer taking care of it the larger risk you run of more expensive repairs like replacing substrate.

1