The profession of community management is relatively young, only going back about 50 years. In that short time, however, it has made significant strides, as have the communities who benefit from having professional, skilled teams managing their property.
But what does the future hold for community management in Florida? And how will it impact the residents this profession serves? Community Associations Institute (CAI), a trade organization dedicated to building better communities, brought together industry experts from four different panels to weigh in on these questions. FirstService Residential has used this research to define key areas of growth for our profession. 

1. Industry awareness

For starters, many outside the profession of community management have very little knowledge of what community managers do. Compounding the issue further is the fact that Board members, who ultimately decide if they will hire a community management firm to manage their property, are not familiar with many of the benefits of partnering with a professional, experienced property management company - benefits such as enhanced property values, streamlined operations, enforcement of policies and maximized efficiencies, just to name a few. Community managers, in many ways, are the heart of a well-run community. Thus, residents stand to benefit significantly when their property partners with a property management company.

As awareness of the industry continues to grow, so too will the demand for excellent property managers. This is not only good for Boards and homeowners, but for the property managers themselves who will work harder and strive higher to meet the demands of this evolving profession.

2. Emerging talent

In recent years, we have seen the popularity of common-interest communities grow. Common-interest communities typically include individually-owned units, as well as common areas and shared facilities. As the popularity of these communities continues to grow, so will the demand for highly-skilled property managers. These individuals must combine a breadth of expertise, including knowledge of local laws and regulations, astute business sense, strong organizational capabilities, and exceptional people skills.

Currently, these communities are being staffed by experienced professionals, but as they progress through their careers and retire, a new generation of management professionals will be required to fill the burgeoning need. Thus recruiting and training new community managers is more important than ever.

3. Professional education

As with many others, the property management industry is one rich in certifications. Though many leaders in the field, like FirstService Residential, already offer professional development and continuing education programs internally, we expect to see many more companies joining the fray. 

These internal programs allow associates to complete online courses and/or instructor-led webinars designed to advance skills and knowledge, enhance service delivery and further personal career goals. With more knowledge comes the opportunity for more specialization, which in turn gives these associates a competitive edge in the industry. Plus, consider the value of a management team who is always learning, kept up to speed, and evolving with the changing times – that level of expertise would be a true asset to any community.
“The beauty of community management is that it is a dynamic field,” said Turner Billups, vice president of FirstService Residential. “As our industry grows, so do the parameters of what makes a qualified management team. At FirstService Residential we feel it’s important to not only respond to changing needs, but to anticipate them.”
The property management industry will continue to grow and evolve, that we cannot change, nor do we want to. But with the right planning, we can meet the demand and continue to create happy communities with happy residents, which ultimately is the goal of any property manager. For more information about community management, contact FirstService Residential.
Wednesday August 10, 2016