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Homeowners associations (HOA) require outside management to be successful, primarily if the associations include a large number of properties. However, even HOA board members can be confused about the difference between a community manager and a property manager. While they both play a vital role, community managers and property managers offer different services.

If you’re new to HOA management, it’s essential to understand this distinction. For example, you’ll want to avoid using the phrase “property manager” in your marketing if the services you offer fit the role of a community manager.

Recognizing the distinct difference between community association managers and property managers will improve your client interface, helping you accurately understand and respond to their needs. Understanding this difference also opens up a dialogue to discuss the expectations of your role as the association manager.

So what are the differences between HOA property managers and HOA community managers? While some professionals act as both types of managers, individual job responsibilities vary.

Property Managers: The “Small Picture” and Rental Properties

Property managers generally focus on the day-to-day. Rather than involving themselves in the overall operations of the association as a whole, their role covers smaller details and rental properties. Usually, they’re only managing a few apartment buildings or rental complexes.

However, within those apartment buildings or rental complexes, property managers are kept busy. Their daily responsibilities include a significant amount of contact with individual tenants. These managers generally collect rent, distribute notices from the property owner, and coordinate maintenance and repairs for each unit within the rental property.

Property managers are also responsible for showing vacant units to potential tenants, processing rental applications, running credit checks, and performing background checks. When a tenant leaves, the property manager inspects the unit for damages and coordinates the return of the former tenant’s security deposit.

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Community Managers: The “Big Picture” and Common Properties

A community manager, meanwhile, focuses on the broader community. Community managers also tend to be more versatile than property managers. They can manage an HOA, condominium association (COA), resort communities, and even commercial tenant associations (CTAs).

Rather than interacting with tenants daily, community managers primarily consult with the association’s board. This manager has responsibilities that revolve around the community as a whole instead of individual units. For example, they might oversee the community’s shared spaces and broader infrastructure.

A community manager schedules maintenance for swimming pools and athletic facilities, processes common-area work orders, and works with vendors that provide services to the community. If the community manager is in charge of a gated neighborhood with private roads, they may also coordinate with local government regarding maintenance and municipal codes.

Community managers generally have a higher level of overall responsibility than property managers, too. Within an association, a community manager may have to perform the following tasks:

Assist With the Association Accounting

Community managers can assist with accounting services, balancing the association’s general ledger, and monitoring its finances. Using powerful management software like CINC Systems, community managers can pull their client’s banking data onto one multi-faceted platform. Deep bank integration merged with accounting software provides real-time updates that allow the community manager to monitor income and expenditures closely.

Additionally, community managers may provide detailed financial reports to board members. These financial reports can include budget information, projected growth, reserve fund status, and other valuable business data. By using association accounting software, managers can provide customized month-end financial reporting and a board package for each association — posted automatically to the portal within days of the month’s end.

Oversee Big Projects

Community managers may also oversee big projects, such as construction and upgrades to the community’s shared properties. They may be responsible for hiring contractors, acquiring use permits, monitoring the project’s progress, and providing status reports to the association’s board members.

Enforcing Community Rules

Community managers tend to have a higher authority to enforce rules, as well. As the “eyes and ears” for the association board, a community manager is in a unique position to observe violations. Managers who have an on-site office can spot infractions as they occur, which helps keep the community safe.

Community managers can then take the necessary disciplinary action, which could vary from a verbal warning to the issuing of a fine, or the revocation of community privileges. Community managers handle violations and enforce the rules, freeing up the board to focus on leadership.

What Community Managers and Property Managers Have in Common

Although community managers and property managers are different, they do have some job responsibilities in common.

For example, both collect payment on their client’s behalf. Property managers collect monthly rent from tenants, while community managers collect association membership fees, dues, and special assessments. Both managers are then responsible for depositing the payments in their client’s account and following up with delinquent residents who have not paid.

Finally, both types of managers oversee the general well-being of their clients’ community properties, help their clients prepare for extreme weather, and assist during emergencies.

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Try CINC Systems for All Your Management Needs

Community managers can further bolster the success of their associations and enhance their communities by incorporating software that’s custom-designed for every operational need. CINC offers comprehensive property management modules to increase productivity and efficiency.

Track late fees, collection letters, violations, and homeowner ACC correspondence in one convenient place with integrated call logs, and document organization. CINC automation handles time-consuming, repetitive tasks so property managers can focus on more value-added activities.

Try CINC Systems today and see how our cloud-based association management software platform can make a difference.

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