Living the life of a community association manager
Are you considering becoming a community association manager? Then you should definitely have a look at this lighthearted, but insightful article on a day in the life of a community management professional. As the writer very correctly points out, “normality” of a day in the life of a community association manager is far from normal in the usual sense.
From finances to sewage
A community manager is essentially in charge of “everything” that ensures the safe and peaceful running of the community. In the course of a single day, you can be called upon to perform a number of roles that vary wildly from a financial advisor to a sewer expert, from a pet poop inspector to a marital counselor. Resolving domestic disputes, plumbing problems and landscaping issues, spats between neighbors, overseeing community projects, advising the board on financial matters, collecting member dues, finding out the culprit behind last night’s disgusting pet feces in the lobby – they are all part of your job description when you are a community association manager.
“Good morning, sir…What can I do for you today?”
You are on call 24x7 even when the rest of the world has a holiday weekend. Sometimes, homeowners call you with problems that you, as a CAM, can do nothing about. Still, you have to respond to them promptly, empathize with them and assure them that you care. You never know who will turn up on the board after the elections next year!
The board’s advisor and supporter
Many a time, members of a community association board are comprised of homeowners who are actively busy in their own professions, and have no time to follow up with issues pertaining to the efficient running of the community. Therefore, they expect the manager to be aware of the statutes and documents that bind a particular decision, inform them of the same, or at the very least, act as a liaison between them and the legal team. So that means that you have to keep yourself constantly updated on regulation changes related to community management. Even if the board goes against your advice one day, you still have to abide by their decision and support them as long as they are legal and not in contradiction with the relevant documents.
Managing staff and vendors
Managing multiple vendors for services such as lawn maintenance, security etc is no easy task either and takes great skills and patience. You have to continually follow up with them to make sure that they deliver what they promise and on time, because at the end, it is you who has to answer to the board.
Back to burning the midnight oil
And if you thought that your days as a student were over when you got that college degree, think again. Though not mandatory, getting certified as a community manager can increase your job prospects and your credibility. Some states also require you to undergo compulsory training on legal updates, finance, maintenance, preparedness in the event of natural disasters etc. every couple of years before renewing your community manager licenses!
The best part
But don’t think that life as a community manager is all work and no fun, because that is simply not true! As a community manager, you can make a decent living (the US Bureau of Statistics said in May 2013 that real estate and community association managers earn anywhere between $17.88 to $37.22 an hour), learn a lot of new things, and meet a lot of interesting people from various walks of life. What’s more, you will never get bored in this job because there are just so many different things to do!
Not for the faint-hearted
If you are looking for a life of relaxation, with fixed hours and little or no job-related stress, then this one is definitely not for you. But if you enjoy working with people, can keep up with frequent changes to laws related to community management, possess a positive attitude towards life, can keep a cool head even when others are yelling at you, and most importantly, have a great sense of humor, you’ll be sure to go places as a much sought-after community association manager!
Kurt Jacobson is a surfing enthusiast with a background in real estate. Having moved 10 times in the past 7 years, he thrives on helping others learn from his experiences. When he's not out shredding waves he writes about homes for househunter.co.