If you are like most Americans, buying a home is the investment of a lifetime. To help protect this substantial commitment, your community association should have the expert guidance it needs to operate and manage its assets effectively. A Reserve Specialist (RS) can help make sure your association is planning for future financial needs while meeting your current financial obligations.

How can a RS designee help my association?

Expert Analysis

A Reserve Specialist can help ensure that your community association prepares its reserve budget as accurately as possible. By preparing a reserve study for your association, a Reserve Specialist will help your association maintain its long-term financial health by providing:

  • An inventory of items subject to replacement
  • An estimate of the useful remaining life of those items
  • An estimated cost of replacement
  • A funding plan designed to cover future expenditures

The RS designee is required to perform reserve studies based on a strict set of standards developed by the Community Association Institute. CAI’s National Reserve Study Standards provide a detailed list of functions that must be included in each type of study being performed:

  • Level 1 Full Reserve Study – includes a site visit, component inventory, condition assessment, life and valuation estimates, fund status and funding plan.
  • Level 2 Update Reserve Study – Site Visit/On-site Review includes a condition assessment of the existing inventory, life and valuation estimates, fund status and funding plan.
  • Level 3 Update Reserve Study – No Site Visit/Off-site Review includes life and valuation adjustments to the existing inventory, fund status and funding plan.


A RS-designee has a wealth of experience in the diverse aspects of component analysis and financial planning for community associations. A Reserve Specialist successfully meets the designation’s comprehensive requirements, including:

  • Preparing at least 50 reserve studies within the last three years
  • Holding a bachelor’s degree in construction management, architecture or engineering (or equivalent experience and education)
  • Maintaining professional-level CAI membership in good standing.


A Reserve Specialist commits to uphold the highest ethical standards. He or she must abide by the strict rules of conduct outlined by CAI’s Professional Reserve Specialist Code of Ethics, which states the designee shall:

  • Comply with current standards or practices as established by CAI and the Reserve Specialist (RS) Designation Review Board
  • Not provide inaccurate or misleading information to a prospective or current client
  • Disclose in writing to the client actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest
  • Conduct himself or herself in accordance with the Reserve Specialist requirements
  • Abide by CAI’s redesignation policy.