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Keys to Success for New Development Community Management


Your project is entitled—now it’s time to begin Department of Real Estate (DRE) budgets, pre-management consulting, and management of your community. This can be an overwhelming task for many development and builder teams and project managers, but the right management partner can help simplify the process. Here’s a list of qualities you should look for when choosing a community management partner for your new development.

Your community management partner should:

1. Be a one-stop solution. 

It’s best to partner with a company that does it all, so you can be sure your DRE budget reflects reality, and your reality stays within budget. Having the same company draft the DRE budget and provide consulting, association set up, and management services offers continuity and consistency for busy project managers.

2. Have municipality and governmental agency acumen. 

A community management partner that has knowledge and experience working with cities, counties, and utilities, as well as water quality management and public safety partnerships, can be very beneficial.  Having a management partner with the skill set and team depth to speak in support of new development projects is also important as you go through entitlement.

3. Prepare the association.

Once your DRE budget is complete, a skilled management partner will guarantee the association is set up and ready for future homeowners. Association pre-management tasks are critical to ensure new homeowners have a positive first impression and experience with the homeowners’ association (HOA). Rules and regulations, architectural guidelines, board policies, and vendor service provider contracts are in place to facilitate the smooth operation of the HOA. The HOA management staff members should be informed, equipped to answer homeowner questions, and able to help navigate the process of HOA membership. A homebuyer’s positive experience with their HOA sets the stage for the future, as the initial homeowners become the community cheerleaders and have an impact on ongoing success.

4. Coordinate with developer sales staff.  

An essential part of supporting the builder is ensuring the sales office understands the HOA operation and budget and has copies of the rules and regulations and architectural guidelines. It’s their responsibility to confirm buyers are confident and knowledgeable about how HOA membership will affect them.

5. Offer training.

Managers and support staff who receive specific training for developing communities have enhanced skills that are needed to communicate with board members, sales team members, and customer care teams. In addition, a skilled new development community manager can identify the servant leaders in your communities and will encourage participation on committees and the HOA board. A good management company will also provide regular educational opportunities and support to board members.

6. Use technology. 

The ability to electronically sign and approve invoices and contracts is very valuable for board members and managers. Offering a dedicated community management app that streamlines communication and enhances consistency and transparency can also improve the community experience.   

7. Provide grand opening support. 

Partnering with a management company that has the staff and skill set to support the marketing, sales, and developer teams will enhance your community openings. Having your HOA management company present and ready to answer HOA-related questions will ensure a smooth transition for future buyers and homeowners.

Just like keys opening the door to a bright future, we hope these keys will unlock a series of successful community experiences for your developer and builder team, as well as your future residents.

About the Author

Wendy has served Associa PCM for more than 23 years. She has been a member of the Community Association Institute (CAI) since 2005, serving as the Orange County chapter president in 2009. Bucknum earned the prestigious Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM®) national designation from the CAI as well as the organization’s national Governmental Affairs Award in 2011. In 2016 she received the May Russell Hall of Fame Award, Orange County CAI Chapter’s top honor.

Profile Photo of Wendy  Bucknum