Look around, look ahead …
… and communicate14th Mar 2021
There is so much day-to-day pressure in managing an estate or sectional title development that it’s easy to become bogged down in mundane admin, and – when things don’t go smoothly – in not-so-mundane firefighting. But it’s essential to maintain the broad vision and the long view.
Beyond the wall
Clearly, the focus of any estate manager is within the estate – keeping the residents happy and safe, ensuring that maintenance is done, finances are under control, and all the myriad elements work together to create a harmonious whole. But part of that mosaic is the world beyond the estate. For starters, the community staff and suppliers mostly live outside the estate, so anything that affects them will affect the community too. If there are taxi strikes, floods, traffic jams, fires or disruptions of any kind out there in the broader community, the chances are that they will affect the smooth running of the estate. And that’s just the immediate issues.
And into the future
Community Management and Trustees, whether prescribes or not, need to plan ahead for scheduled maintenance, upgrades and expansion, and need to know what it will cost. More importantly, they need to know how the community will pay for them, so long-term budgeting is an essential part of management – and a reserve fund is an essential part of long-term budgeting.
Remaining competitive in the property market means that the communities need to continue investing in the common property assets– identify value-adding facilities which could be added when the funds become available: perhaps an extra playground, a skate park, or benches or more landscaping. Perfection can be improved on.
Planning must not only be done, it must be seen to be done
But, like justice, planning must be seen to be done. While management answer to the board and the trustees, ultimately they all answer to the owners. So, share the five-year plan with homeowners. Send out schedules of meetings, budget updates, maintenance schedules and any other planned events or procedures that may affect them. An informed community is a happy community, and a happy community is a much easier one to manage.