I’ve always thought the mind of a property manager is rather extraordinary because it has to switch gears countless times during one day, then it has to remember what was happening before the first, second, third, hundredth and so on gear switch. On any given day, there are countless phone calls, emails, meetings, showings, inspections, etc. along with pop-up emergencies. Property managers are extreme task handlers and juggle to do lists with ease and grace, and I truly admire anyone in the profession who is a successful property manager.
A long, long time ago in a land thankfully forgotten, I worked in HOA Management. I had 11 communities in my portfolio, ranging from communities with hundreds of single family homes, to smaller communities with less than 20 units. Some were new communities, some were very old. It was a little taste of everything and very fast paced so I learned just about everything on the fly. I went to the monthly lawyer sessions, chatted with long time community managers, read all of the materials that I could, handled financials, learned about reserves and reserve studies, studied for, took, and passed the required state tests, and tried to absorb every single piece of information that was available to me. While I was learning, I also had to be the best community manager that I could be to each of my communities. Talk about a crash course!
Along with trying to learn and do my job, the world of property management was spinning around me. It seemed to me that there were dozens of horror stories brewing with each passing moment. Daily, I would hear grumblings in the hallways of this and that emergency, and would have various co-workers in my office chairs, some in tears, with these stories. Tales of the wrong address on a landscape contract, which lead to work being done on the exterior of the wrong property. The contract was signed, the work was completed, the bill was generated, the manager was devastated! And we aren’t talking about a small bill either! Or water and land rights of a new community, involving original city plans, lawyers, and red tape. How about sound/security walls that were threatening to tumble down onto city property that was right on a public jogging path where children also played (for a very long time, multiple vital details were skimmed over and because of this, the clock had already begun ticking, unknowingly putting the responsibility into the association’s hands). All the way down to mouse infestation in an ancient building where the lobby doors were always propped open. Then there was the trash that wasn’t picked up on the usual day at a particular community, and began to blow around the streets during a period of 50 mile an hour winds. A board member called and said it looked like she lived at a public dump! And did I mention special assessments because there was nothing planned in advance to replace roofs, boilers, or pavement; and budgets where major items like landscaping and the rising cost of insurance were ignored due to heavy deadlines, inexperience, and last minute annual meeting planning? And from my own experience, waking up at 3:00 a.m. worrying about insurance, work orders, paperwork, emails, returning tenant phone calls, meetings, board packets; along with sitting in my driveway answering my phone and emails for hours at a time after leaving work – I just didn’t have it in me every day to run at that pace. Needless to say, I went running for the hills, never looking back!
So I decided I wanted to go back to what I do best – and that is office management and bookkeeping, for a residential property management company. I currently work with very talented Property Managers who provide the best customer service that they can, and with a combined 25 years of experience, they can handle any situation that comes their way with poise and confidence. And I can understand what they go through, so I try to help in any way that I can. They treat each situation with care and are thorough. And when fires start burning, they are even tempered and clear headed, all the while maintaining a sense of humor! They are also members of NARPM. NAPRM sets the industry standard, keeping the best property managers in the business in touch with each other. And I am proud to be a part of this organization and surrounded by endless knowledge and expertise.
Amanda McCLean, a CRMB candidate, is the Office Manager for Blue Sage Realty in Westminster, CO. She is a Colorado Native whose career background is comprised of experience in Corporate Real Estate, Law, and Residential Property Management. She joined NARPM® in 2016 and is excited to obtain her certification.