The Changing Face of Community Management

Posted on Friday July 01, 2016 |



About 50 years ago, community management began to gain prominence as a profession. Compared to other vocations, that’s a relatively short time. But in this brief timespan, the industry has changed and adapted in keeping with the communities that professional managers serve.
 
Industry leaders such as FirstService Residential continue to adjust the way they do business in order to propel the industry forward. “Just as communities change, so does community management,” said James Gibson, former vice president of the Nevada chapter of the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and vice president of business development for FirstService Residential in Northern Nevada. “But we have to do more than react to current trends. In a lot of ways, it’s up to us to be proactive enough to help define them.”
 
The industry’s dynamic growth begs the question: What does the future hold? To answer that, Common Ground, the official trade publication of the CAI, assembled a host of knowledgeable parties to lend some insight. Here’s what they believe the future holds for community management.

1. A greater need for awareness
There are many people who have never been exposed to association living and have a limited understanding of their purpose. Still others may be laboring under misconceptions. Legislators often do not have an in-depth understanding of HOAs either, yet they are tasked with making laws that have a significant impact on them. Even people who belong to an HOA may not entirely understand what it means to live in a common-interest community.
 
In Nevada, HOAs are quite common, but these challenges persist here, too. In an effort to address this, the state created the Office of the Ombudsman for Owners in Common-Interest Communities and Condominium Hotels back in 1997. This entity assists in mediating conflicts, helps owners understand their rights and responsibilities, and investigates disputes. You can find out more about the Nevada Ombudsman here.
 
2. Continued emphasis on education
Community managers in Nevada have to be certified. But there are a host of designations beyond this that denote certain professionals as particularly skilled in specific areas, such as large portfolios or apartments.

As the legal and community landscape becomes ever more complicated, the need for greater skill sets increases. The Nevada Real Estate Division does a good job of providing full information on certification requirements for community managers, along with continuing education opportunities. But only the best community management companies take it further, creating their own programs of professional advancement to ensure their teams are offering clients the utmost in knowledgeable service. For example, programs such as FirstService Residential’s School of Professional Development provide online instruction for continued professional advancement.
 
3. A focus on attracting and grooming talent
As common-interest communities continue to evolve, community managers will become more in demand. And while experienced professionals are currently filling these voids, a new wave of managers will be needed to satisfy the growing need for professional management of high-rises, condos, and large-scale communities.
 
This next generation of professionals will have to demonstrate a range of capabilities. In addition to business savvy, organization skills, and exceptional interpersonal skills, they will need in-depth knowledge of Nevada’s laws and regulations. One look at NRS 116 and you can see what a big job this is.

“Professional community management is unlike any other vocation,” said Gibson. “It takes a unique combination of hard skills, soft skills, formal knowledge, and good instincts. A quality community management company will know how to foster these capabilities in all of its team members.”
 
No one knows for certain what the future might hold. But knowing these trends can help us forge a path on which the industry grows stronger—along with the communities that professional managers serve. For more information about the future of community management here in your own state, contact FirstService Residential, Nevada’s leading residential community management company.

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