Whether it’s a neighbor’s barking dog or a backed-up toilet, the problems of condominium owners and residents are always personal. Their homes are a haven–and an investment–so at times, even an easily-solved issue can feel like a catastrophe. And like it or not, catastrophes always land on the property manager’s desk.“Issues are always emotionally charged when you’re dealing strictly with a person’s living arrangements. The only person they can take it out on, if you will, who is not another resident or neighbor, is the property manager. The manager is really the only person who is obligated to listen, at least to a point,” says Julie Adamen, a 25-year veteran of the community management industry and the founderof Adamen, Inc, a nationwide consulting and employment firm specializing in manager placements.
Adamen points to what she feels are the most important traits a person needs to be successful in the demandingrole of a property manager: “Strong people skills and communication.”
“You can know everything about construction, accounting, and elevator maintenance, but that does not mean you will be a good community manager,” says Adamen. Instead, she says, great managers establish relationships based on “credibility and integrity.” When a manager has earned the trust and respect of board members, residents, co-workers, and outside vendors, everything else will fall into place, Adamen believes.
C. Jerry Ragosa, president and ownerof The Niles Company, one of the oldest and largest full-service real estate management companies in New England, has a similar view.
“Integrity is our calling card,” he says. “When we hire a new manager, I make sure he understands that at every site, he represents all the Niles employees—he represents me—and our work of over 100 years.”