Understanding Reserves

A Guide to Your Association's Reserve Fund & Reserve Study

Understanding Reserves is a comprehensive Reserve Study guide for board members and community managers. Besides answering common questions related to Reserve Studies, we thoroughly address each facet of the Reserve Study process. From why associations should reserve funds to understanding the three key results of the study, Understanding Reserves is a quick read that will enhance your Reserve Study knowledge.

Veterans of the industry can use this book to refresh their understanding of reserves. For new board members and managers, it can be a great introduction to the topic.

Click HERE to download Chapter One. 


About the Authors

Kevin Leonard, RS holds the national credential of Reserve Specialist and leads our Inland Empire/Coachella Valley office, which includes the cities of Riverside and Palm Springs, California. Kevin has completed over 1,000 Reserve Studies for a wide range of community associations nationwide.

Robert Nordlund, PE, RS is the Founder and CEO of Association Reserves and a registered Professional Engineer. Robert is also a certified Reserve Specialist, was involved in creating National Reserve Study Standards, and has greatly influenced the community association industry. Robert is also a regular speaker and educator on a national level. 

As a licensed manager in 7 states and with two decades of experience in this industry I have seen firsthand how unplanned special assessments create so many problems. Examples are mistrust in the board and management leading to increased turnover, lower sales prices (12.6% lower per research in this book), owners that had to sell their home, buyers that demanded thousands or tens of thousands off of the purchase price, and others that walked away from purchasing in an unfunded or underfunded community-association home altogether. Start making smarter choices around planning and funding your community's aging infrastructure. If you are looking for the go-to guide for all things reserves look no further. This easy to understand quick read is filled with useful information and practical guidance for you and your board to make informed decisions about your community's reserve strategy.

Russell Munz
Russell Munz CEO & Founder Community Financials

For over three decades, I’ve known Robert Nordlund and Association Reserves, and they have consistently been a reliable source of information and solutions on the complicated subject of reserves that affects every common-interest development. This book by Robert & Kevin provides an excellent resource for both board members and association managers to understand every aspect of reserve studies, and the importance of a reserve study to their community. Thank you Robert and Kevin for your incredible contribution.

David Brock, PCAM
David Brock, PCAM Beven & Brock Property Management, Inc.

“Understanding Reserves” accepts the challenging job of distilling 33 years of experience into a clearly presented, highly readable book on a complicated activity with enough wit and wisdom to encourage you to read more. This book should serve as the definitive guide to all who are involved with association finances.

William J Chmura
William J Chmura Treasurer, Spring Lake Condominium Number Nine

Reserves can be a confusing and controversial topic; Mr. Nordlund and Mr. Leonard break-it-down. They make it easy to understand what Reserve Studies are, why we need them, and how to use them—a must-read for Association Board members and Community Association Managers alike.

John Hammersmith, CMCA, AMS, PCAM
John Hammersmith, CMCA, AMS, PCAM CEO Hammersmith Management, Inc., AAMC

Excellent job with the book. It’s an easy read and has a nice logical flow. It will make a good handbook on reserves for board members and managers alike.

Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Adrian J. Adams, Esq. Managing Partner Adams Stirling PLC

From Association Reserves, a great read for all volunteers responsible for the future financial success of their Association!

Jim Dodson
Jim Dodson Ewa by Genty Community Association Executive Director and 2021 President, Community Associations Institute

Robert and Kevin’s new book “Understanding Reserves” is a must-read for any community association manager, homeowner or Board member who wants to understand the “how’s” and importantly, the “why’s” of reserve studies. Well-paced, logical and highly informative, “Understanding Reserves” should act as the industry text book about this very important aspect of community management.

Julie Adamen
Julie Adamen President Adamen, Inc

As an attorney specializing in community association law for over thirty years I have reviewed many reserve studies, met with numerous reserve specialists, and read innumerable articles and pamphlets on reserve studies. This book is the gold standard...thoughtfully organized, clearly written and highlighted with easily understandable graphs and charts...with the added plus of witty quotations before each chapter! It is a must for everyone involved with management and administration of community associations...from engaged owners through the top tiers of professionals.

Ellen A, Shapiro, Esq., CCAL
Ellen A, Shapiro, Esq., CCAL Partner Marcus, Errico, Emmer & Brooks, P.C.

Finally! A book that explains, without emotion, the need for community associations to develop and fund reserve accounts. It provides the reader with a thorough discussion of the components of and how to use a reserve study. I suggest every reader immediately read Chapter 20 which discusses the ways of approaching maintenance and reserves. See which category fits your association. From there , as you get into the book, the information can be applied subjectively to your community.

George E. Nowack, Jr., CCAL
George E. Nowack, Jr., CCAL Attorney at Law NowackHoward

“Understanding Reserves” provides a comprehensive practical tutorial on reserve funding, a critical aspect of sound financial planning for condominium and community associations of all types. Indeed, the authors pointedly demonstrate that proper funding will not only avoid the dreaded special assessment and cost of outside funding, but actually enhance the value of the members’ own units. This book should be part of every manager’s reference collection.

The subject of capital reserves is a woefully underappreciated element of becoming an excellent common interest community. Robert, Kevin, and the Association Reserves team in this book have created a comprehensive resource to understand the fundamentals of reserve studies. Using examples, charts and anecdotes, the book is interesting and also in places entertaining (is that allowed for a book on financial concepts?). I applaud the authors for the obvious effort they put into this work, and the quality of the product that resulted from that effort.

Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. CCAL
Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. CCAL Partner Richardson Ober DeNichilo LLP

“Understanding Reserves” provides readers with an all-encompassing view of reserve funding. The information, usually complex and sometimes daunting, is presented here in a simple and easy-to-understand way. Any reader can easily walk away with an increased knowledge of reserves and reserve studies. The book goes on to bridge the gap between knowledge and execution by providing readers with real and effective strategies for successful implementation for their community. I love that! This is a must read for board members and industry professionals alike. Very well-done, and sorely needed! Thanks to you and your team for putting this great resource together.

Michelle Meyer, CMCA
Michelle Meyer, CMCA Director of Training and Development Sentry Management, Inc