The Essential Role of a Property Manager in Your Community
When you think of a residential community, your mind may often turn to association fees, rules, and groundskeeping. Very rarely do you realize that a professional property management company usually manages these communities, with a property manager or community association manager (CAM) overseeing the day-to-day management of the community.
What is the role of a property manager?Whether the property is a condominium or a large homeowners’ association, property managers play an essential role in community management. They ensure that rules are enforced and that any violations are promptly handled. They also track budget information, handle maintenance and repair requests, collect dues and fees, advise residents on commonly asked questions, and provide oversight and expertise on the general operations of businesses. The property manager is a primary liaison between the board and the community’s residents. They and the management team carry out board directives and oversee property operations to ensure all aspects of the community remain running smoothly. This can extend to the following areas:
- Staffing – The association manager is often responsible for staffing the property. While each community’s staffing needs will vary based on size and amenity offerings, the positions can range from entry-level front desk and amenity attendants to selecting Chief Engineer.
- Groundskeeping – As is the case for many communities, the management team will typically hire a landscaping vendor to handle all exterior gardens and recreational areas. They will ensure that all greenspaces are well maintained and provide a welcoming environment to all residents, guests, and staff.
- Maintenance – Frequently, the most challenging part of property operations is maintenance. This means providing ongoing maintenance to large equipment such as elevators, HVAC systems, and fire systems, to smaller tasks such as painting the chipped railings or cleaning the entryway pavers. In most cases, the association will depend on contractual vendors to provide regular maintenance to these items and to address emergency repairs. This can be the most time-consuming portion of property management as all communities require consistent upkeep to remain in pristine and working condition.
- Accounting – Every association, no matter how large or small, has an annual budget that must be reviewed and approved by the homeowners. The property manager often plays a significant role in its creation and enforcement. This is immensely important, as a mismanaged budget can result in higher fees for the next fiscal year or even a special assessment if certain emergency repairs are not funded.
- Resident Activities – In many cases, the association will likely have a few resident events or activities throughout the year to engage with their residents. A common activity is the annual resident holiday party, which is often the community’s largest event.
- Vendor Relations – More often than not, your property management company will rely on certain vendors to provide key assistance such as elevator and HVAC maintenance or maintaining the grounds. Regardless of their role, the property manager directly oversees and manages vendor relations and contracts to ensure the association remains within budget while still receiving quality services.
What are the requirements to be a property manager?Understanding the essential role a property manager plays in the community, it is no wonder that many states require them to have a special license and undergo continuing education. In addition to those requirements, they are often required to hold a college degree, although no specialization is required.
How do new community managers know how to perform their job duties?
An expertly trained property manager is the key to a thriving community. With diverse skills ranging from resident relations, board support, and operational acumen, professional training is essential for your property management team to ensure lasting success.
While some management companies expect their CAMs to learn while on the job, FirstService Residential offers comprehensive training to our associates via our formalized classrooms at FirstService Residential University. This ensures that each candidate is well-prepared for their role and can easily lead any residential community.
“At FirstService Residential, we strive to provide our property managers with the best tools, support and training so that they are able to portray each of our values in every interaction they have with all members of our communities,” says Christian Mora, director of operations at FirstService Residential.
Are you interested in becoming a property manager? Read our “How to Become a Community Association Manager” article to learn more about the role and how you can grow with FirstService Residential.
What makes a good property manager?Several considerations come into play when seeking a property manager for your community. From the experience level to response times on repairs and maintenance requests, it's essential you find one who is reliable when unexpected issues arise at home.
A few good characteristics to look for are:
- Leadership – You want an individual who can easily steer your board and staff as situations arise.
- Communication – A property manager with consistent and effective communication with the board, residents, and staff results in a smooth-running community that can tackle anything that comes its way.
- Attention to Detail – Part of property management is maintenance, and having an eye for detail will ensure minor wear and tear is handled before it becomes a capital project that requires extensive repairs or replacement.
- Transparency – When it comes to handling financial or sensitive matters, finding a property manager that can provide transparency will go a long way in earning and maintaining the trust of your community.
FirstService Residential is one of the leading property management companies that understands the value a good property manager can bring to any condominium, homeowners association, or single-family home. We provide top-notch support in all these areas to assist our property managers and ensure your community continues to receive exceptional service.
If you wish to see how FirstService Residential can support your community, reach out to us!