8 Qualities and Skills That Make a Great HOA Community Manager
HOA Community Managers are quite possibly the unsung heroes in the Community / Property management world. They are the ultimate custodians of the interests of the HOA board and the community. These managers must also perform a tough balancing act between following and enforcing the HOA's rules and the community's needs while working with HOA management companies to achieve the common good of the entire residential community.
If the Homeowners Association serves as the decision makers, the community manager is a bit like the town crier in that they have to announce those decisions to the community and field questions about the decisions from homeowners but unlike a basic announcer, the manager also takes on the responsiblility of helping to execute the decisions made by the community board. A good HOA manager, plays a significant role in the residential community's safety, living arrangements, financial administration, and comfort. Below is a brief rundown of characteristics and traits that consistently make an exceptional HOA Manager.
Qualities and Skills of a Good HOA Manager
1. Leadership Skills
A Community Manager should have a sense of authority that commands some respect among the community residents. You don't need to be an intimidating and foreboding person to command everyone's attention in a board meeting. However, you will be dealing with diverse people and often disagreeing board members who may not always agree with the decisions made by the community or with the way that a community manager chooses to handle these tasks.
Having leadership skills means you will not be intimidated into making poor decisions, and you can accommodate and consider other opinions but not overruled by them.
2. Knowledge and Licensing
A good HOA manager constantly learns, retrains, and stays up to date with pertinent information pertaining to HOA management and best practices. You may also not offer expert advice or make sound and legal decisions if you are not conversant with relevant housing considerations and legislation. Community Associations Institute offers a wide variety of training courses and licensing courses for both board and management professionals that can ensure you are following the most accurate and timely laws regarding your community.
Additionally, having the requisite education certification improves your confidence while fostering a sense of trust with the board members and the residents. Choosing a licensed or certified manager can be important, so speak to your community management company about the requirements for Community Managers, specifically in states where licensing is required.
3. Good Communication Skills
HOA managers are responsible for communicating with a wide range of people, including board members, tenants, contractors, and the authorities. You will need to communicate effectively with different people in different disciplines and trades who have contrasting agendas and personalities. As such, good communication skills will carry you through the toughest days of being an HOA community manager. Whether you are dealing with angry residents, explaining your plans and ideas to the board, or negotiating a new deal with vendors, good communication skills is an important element of the HOA management toolkit.
In addition, communicating does not apply to speaking alone. You will be handling lots of paperwork, writing letters, and responding to emails, so hone your communication skills to ensure that how you community is just as important as what.
4. Deep Involvement with the Community
HOA Community Managers can range from someone who is an active member or even a resident in the community (though this can be a conflict of interest and should be discussed with a legal professional) to someone who exclusively manages one community or even someone who is managing multiple different communities within the same geographical area. Having a Community Manager who embraces the community with a genuine interest in the lives of other residents, who seeks to create a conducive living environment for them while enhancing friendship and empathy among neighbors is what all communities should expect and value in their community staff.
It can be difficult to remember that while this may be your home, your neighborhood, this is also their job and your community manager, no matter how dedicated needs to be allowed to have their own work/life balance so that they can serve your community to the best of their ability. It's important to know that being active, involved and caring does not mean on-call all of the time. A good community manager and board can set expectations for a positive relationship.
5. Unwavering Integrity
Honesty and integrity are important qualities of a person working in any field but even more so, with high-value investments like your home and your neighborhood. In those regards, having someone with unwavering integrity and the ability to stand their ground despite objectives and complications is infinitely important. Consistently act with accountability and transparency by answering questions honestly, maintaining clear written records, and admitting mistakes. It's important to note that no one is perfect, including your community manager, but they should be comfortable in disclosing the consequences and realities of tough challenges.
6. Excellent Customer Service Mentality
Providing customer service can often be a point of contention and is often the main reason for "Negative Reviews" online for a company. It's impossible to please everyone in a community, and a good HOA manager knows that part of the job is handling angry or frustrated homeowners and acting as the middle ground to keep homeowners and the members of the board informed without harassment. Community Managers should strive to keep both the board aware of the community sentiment toward their decisions while also providing the owners the most accurate and transparent information possible.
Careful attention to detail, organization, and short response time are the hallmarks of this mindset, but unfortunately they are not always attainable. In many cases managers and community staff may be waiting for vendors or board members to respond to a request while a homeowner is also waiting for a response. In these situations clarity and open communication can often resolve a concern before it escalates. Keeping homeowners informed can be a daunting task but it's one that your community manager should be ready to take on.
7. Good Understanding of the Board's Goals and Objectives
To be a good HOA manager, you will need a crisp understanding of the board's vision and mission for the community. Strive to understand your community's scope, how the board wants to approach their upcoming year and what it will take to address any current underlying issues.
Working in tandem with the board's plans and actively helping the board to execute them is one of the most essential functions of an HOA Community Manager, so it comes as no surprise that understanding their goals should be a priority to providing great service.
8. Competent Financial and Budgeting Administration Skills
An HOA manager's role is quite varied, and you will need adequate financial and accounting skills. While you do not need to be a professional accounting and finance expert, it is prudent to have general accounting knowledge, as well as basic knowledge about how an HOA is structured so that you are aware of their financial obligations.This will carry you a long way when it comes to managing fiscal risks, budgeting, reading audit reports, cost forecasting, managing payrolls, funds reservation, etc. - but it may not be the full picture which is why it's always important to consult with any tax and accounting firms servicing the community.
Experience a New Level of HOA Management
RealManage is an HOA and condominium management company with over three decades of industry experience. We have state of the art tools and technology coupled with skilled experts to render our clients superior HOA management services. While HOA management can be a complex process, we take away the complexity to help your HOA thrive on transparency, accountability, communication, and support to add value to your property. For more information and queries on best practices and HOA management skills, feel free to Contact Us today, and we will be more than willing to assist.