Whether dealing with technology, administration or communication, on any given day property managers and managing agents are required to be jacks of all trades. And while some managers might actually have a practical background in plumbing or finance, it’s impossible for even the most seasoned professional to understand all aspects of running a multifamily property. That’s why engaging in continuing education is essential to maintaining a safe, successful, and financially solvent property.
More Than Just Paying Bills
“The role of property managers today continues to evolve beyond the typical operational responsibilities of ensuring common areas are clean or collecting rent,” says Tom Padilla, senior vice president for the Manhattan-based FirstService Residential. “These professionals must also respond to a host of residents’ lifestyle demands, delivering on resort-style amenities, programming and services. In order to effectively serve an increasingly sophisticated client base, today’s practitioners must be well-versed in finance, law, energy, insurance, technology, construction, project management, customer service, and many other areas.”
According to Dawn Bauman, senior vice president of government and public affairs at the Community Associations Institute (CAI), a national organization dealing with co-ops, condos, and HOAs, “There is a variety of education available to property managers across the country, though there are very few colleges that offer programming, coursework, or degree work for this field. We’re one organization —probably the largest and only national one—offering education in this area.”
Bauman notes that there are colleges like Virginia Tech that offer a property management degree, with a class or two focused on co-ops, condominiums, and HOAs. She also notes that Virginia Tech only offers one class on the issue called “specialty housing,” but that there are community colleges that have taken CAI’s curriculum and built coursework around it.
“We have a road map of coursework offering everything from the essentials to core competency areas,” says Bauman. “The core competency areas are facilities, maintenance, HVAC, communications with residents, leadership in the community, insurance and risk management, financial management and community governance.”