A good community association manager is essential to a smoothly-run HOA. While technically not part of the board of directors, they work closely with the board in all aspects of the association’s operation. The specific responsibilities of community managers often vary from company to company and community to community. These responsibilities can run the gamut from financial planning to trash collection. Since their fingers are in so many pies, it’s important that your community manager is effective. Today, we’ll go over a few of the essential qualities of a good community association manager. That way, you’ll know if yours is doing their job, or if it’s time for a change. Or, if you are a community manager, you’ll be able to identify some spaces for improvement.
1. Communicate quickly and clearly
The community manager is the main line of communication between the association and the management company. Whenever anything happens, whether it has to do with billing, maintenance, or even community events, it’s up to the manager to get the word out and answer questions about what is going on. It is important for the manager to be knowledgeable, approachable, and understandable. A good community manager shouldn’t have to be “chased down”. They are always available to talk about what is going on in terms that the whole community can understand.
2. Mediate and advocate
A large part of the community manager’s job is to resolve conflicts. And even in the most tight-knit communities, you should expect a lot of conflict. There are a lot of different interested parties involved in community associations. The interests of each party don’t always align perfectly. Community managers should expect to hear out complaints between association members, between members and the board, between the board and vendors, and occasionally between the association and the management company. In all cases, it is important for the manager to treat each party fairly and pass judgement based on specific policies or governing documents.
3. Always available (within reason)
Crises rarely happen during business hours. As such, community association management isn’t always a strict 9-to-5 job. As the main point of contact between the board and the management company, they will often be called into action even after most people have clocked out for the day. In addition to this kind of crisis resolution, community managers are commonly asked to attend board meetings, do violations drive-throughs, or perform other on-site duties outside of regular working hours. However, there is a difference between a crisis or scheduled meeting and answering minor questions in the middle of the night. Great managers take these responsibilities in stride, but still set boundaries. They should be easy to reach and quick to respond to problems within reason.
4. Infinitely knowledgeable
Most board members (and association members in general) will be too involved in their own personal and professional lives to know every aspect of running an HOA inside-and-out. That’s why they hire management companies, after all. Great community association managers will always be able to answer all your questions, and if they don’t have the answers, they will be able to get them quickly, or point you where you need to go. They will also be heavily involved in board member education.
5. Have Backup
Finally, the best community managers are backed up by a strong team back at the office. While the manager themselves acts like the single point-of-contact for the community, community management requires a lot more than one person to do the job. You will usually be hiring a community manager through an association management company like Cedar Management Group. This company will be handling a lot of back-office work for your community, like accounting or website management, but they also often have customer support staff ready to field questions from residents. This is especially helpful for large communities, where the manager simply won’t have the time to answer every question from every association member.
The best community managers and management companies work together like a well-oiled oiled machine. They gracefully resolve crises and patch up annoyances in the community with ease. They are always ready to talk, and are fully committed to the communities they manage. If these items don’t describe your manager or management company, it might be time for a change. Consider reaching out to us online or by phone at (877) 252-3327.