Your community manager plays an important role in the effective running of your homeowner’s association. A strong working relationship between board, homeowners and property manager makes it easier for you to get the most out of your HOA. Conversely, a strained managerial relationship can cause frustration all around.
Your community manager acts as an agent of your HOA and provides service to both the board and residents. By understanding the role of your property manager, you can get a better sense of how these dedicated individuals apply their expertise to help your community and what you can to help them be more effective at their jobs.
Your community manager facilitates the daily operations of your HOA
As experts in the running of a homeowners association, your community manager provides expertise, guidance, and support that keeps your operations running smoothly. Backed by resources from your property management company, your manager facilitates business activities that increase your association’s efficiency and reduce exposure to liability. This involves overseeing projects that require keen attention to detail and diligent follow-through.
Managers act as the “professional” side of the HOA’s board of directors
A significant part of a property manager’s job is to execute the decisions of the board. Managers assist with board meeting administration by keeping meetings on track and on schedule. They supply background materials before meetings. They interface with vendors on the board’s behalf to make sure that projects are completed on time and within budget. Managers also provide sound advice on business decisions and advise as to when is the right time to involve legal counsel.
Property managers are the hubs of communication
When many individuals with different points of view converge to make decisions, discussions can get heated. Community managers provide a helpful buffer between members to make sure that communication stays positive and constructive. Managers also understand the most effective ways to relay information from the board to the membership and vice versa. Most community managers play an active role in managing an HOA’s external communications, from drafting and distributing newsletters to managing a community’s online and social media presence.
Managers answer questions and provide education
Community managers understand that most HOA board members are volunteers who are inexperienced when it comes to running a non-profit mutual benefit corporation. They also know that busy homeowners often aren’t familiar with the specific responsibilities and advantages that accompany association membership. Managers are available to answer questions, provide context for decision making and act as an information resource for homeowners and board members. Take advantage of their expertise.
If you’re on the board of your HOA, participate in training sessions and don’t be shy about asking questions if your board packet contains elements that you don’t understand. If you’re a homeowner, reach out to your community manager for information about board decisions or if you need help understanding your association’s governing documents.
Finding the right fit
How well a particular individual can meet your community’s needs sets the tone for the entire professional relationship. Therefore, finding the right community manager fit should be a top priority. Managers are as diverse as the communities they serve, but here are some basic characteristics that every manager should possess:
- Great communication skills
- Consistent follow through on promises and tasks
- Patience and respect for others
- Proactive personality type
- Knowledge of state and federal laws that impact HOA management
If your current community manager is not living up to your expectations, don’t be afraid to speak with your property management company. Take notes regarding how your manager performs and speak candidly with your management company about specifics. Ask about the company’s communications policies, manager training, and vetting practices. Look for transparency, clear articulation of company policy and willingness to supply your community with a manager that is a better fit. Once you hit your stride with the ideal community manager, you’re in for a long-lasting relationship that will help your community thrive.