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What Is the Difference Between a Good Community Manager and a Great One?

In previous articles, we have covered how to select a successful property manager and how to find the right manager fit for your community. All of the characteristics and capabilities covered in these articles are important to select a good manager for your community. But what about the subtle characteristics that separate a good community manager from a great community manager? Turns out, there are some key ways to spot the difference.

Great manager trait #1: They’re incredibly proactive

A good manager is sure to cover all their bases. They answer phone calls promptly, send quick email responses, address maintenance issues as they arise and quickly take action on all requests from the board. A great manager, on the other hand, acts on issues before others even notice an issue exists. They see the broken sprinkler head before it’s reported, they prepare a comprehensive set of meeting materials for the board. A great manager takes the initiative to make it so that the board can simply show up to meetings, review the materials in front of them and make thoughtful decisions. If the board complains that they feel like they’re doing the manager’s job for them, then they’re not dealing with a great HOA manager.

Great manager trait #2: They aren’t just hired help, they’re strategic partners

A great manager understands the association’s strategic long- and short-term goals because they were part of the process of helping the board to establish them. Great managers set up an annual meeting with board members to establish new goals and bring incoming board members up to speed with plans that are already underway. With the HOA’s strategic plan top-of-mind, exceptional managers drive all projects from that strategy. They also communicate effectively to the membership, offering frequent updates and status reports so members are also aware of how community projects are progressing. Finally, they wrap up projects with an end-of-the-year re-cap of all the community projects and goals for next year.

Great manager trait #3: They go above and beyond to enhance the sense of community

Homeowners association property management is, at its core, a people-based profession. Great community managers anticipate and address the needs of the community as a whole, not just the members whose names are on the deeds. They make living in an HOA an exciting, welcoming experience. For some associations, this may involve setting up a free citrus exchange to share in the fruits of the association’s land. For others, it might mean a summer concert series where local bands are invited to perform in a community’s outdoor common spaces. Great managers are constantly brainstorming things like end-of-school BBQs, holiday pageants, Independence Day celebrations, pool parties, community clubs and more.  They plan creative events and foster communication between members to help make everyone feel more invested and involved in their community.

Great manager trait #4: They pursue continuing education

Great managers don’t just stop at the basics of understanding the laws that govern community operations. They know that southern California HOA management is always evolving, so they take the initiative to maintain their standing in professional organizations and achieve additional professional certifications. Continuing education is important to us at Keystone, so we actively support our managers as they pursue higher and higher levels of advancement. We’re proud to say that we have the highest number of Community Associations Institute PCAM-certified managers of any management company in southern California. The knowledge our managers acquire during each level of certification equips them with valuable insights they can put into practice immediately in the communities they interact with on a daily basis.

Great manager trait #5: They excel at balancing personalities

Homeowners association property management always involves juggling the needs and desires of multiple personalities, some of which may be diametrically opposed. Great managers don’t simply smooth over conflicts; they bring people together. They have the ability to make everyone feel heard and understood, then they help to align all parties to support a working solution. Great managers provide a structure to help communities move beyond politics and petty grievances to create greater accountability, transparency and momentum.

When it comes to homeowners association property management, don’t settle for “just good enough.”

While a good manager is adept at checking items off a list, a great manager will help your HOA craft that list in the first place. Make the right choice and you’ll see a significant positive impact on how smoothly your HOA functions and the long-term success of your association.

Looking for a great manager for your homeowner association? Our HOA management experts will help you find the perfect fit.

Do HOA better.

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