Top traits of Great Property Managers – CAI seminar

I attended CAI’s “The Top Traits of Great Property Managers”. It was held for townhouse association managers and property managers. CAI did a good job of organizing and presenting the program even though Julie Adamen, the presenter was unable to get here because of snow.
It was held at the Ewald Center on April 11th given by Marj Peterson of Creative Transitions. Here are my thoughts about the session and the high points. You can join CAI by going to

The seminar covered many principles of property management and strategies for dealing with townhouse association boards. Here is the short version of the top traits. I’ll cover in more detail below.
1. Effective Communicators
2. Present themselves well
3. Are organized
4. Follow through
5. Don’t procrastinate
6. NEVER give an answer they’re unsure of.
7. Value vendor relationships
8. Admit mistakes and fix them
9. Maintain a professional distance
10. Stay current with the townhome and property management industries
11. Deal with Change
12. Have a sense of Humor
13. Value Integrity and Credibility above all else.

The most important traits were Integrity and Credibility. I can vouch for Integrity being important. When designing a mission-values statement for a company recently, I came up with 7-8 goals or principles to live by. Listening to Jerry Porras’ Success Built to Last, he made the point that if you don’t have integrity, then who can believe the rest of the mission statement? Who can believe you? Pretty simple and powerful point. So Integrity seems to be the #1 trait for any professional manager or business. Next, she talked about the 3 steps that people use to judge these two traits:
1. Judge people by first impression
2. When we open our mouth, they start to judge us
3. The Test of Time.

Next, Marj talked about Communication. She said the three C’s of great communication are “communicate, communicate, communicate”. Frequency of communication are certainly important, but we all know that.

More interesting was her thoughts about talking with multiple people on the board. Paying attention to the styles of one person on the board, who might be a visual, driver (director) is a small challenge, but communicating with an entire board that consists of kinesthetics, auditories, influencers, conscientious, etc… might be like communicating with Sybil.

Even though she listed “present themself well” separately, it fits in with communication and judging by first impression too.

Great Managers Follow through. Follow through by returning phone calls and emails, visiting the owner and finishing projects.

Great Managers admint (whoops, sorry)mistakes and take responsibility, then FIX the mistakes.
Don’t give answers your unsure of. Marj points out that as a manager, you are a “generalist” You are not an expert on everything, even if a board expects you to be.

Maintain a professional detachment. Something I find very difficult to do, but I know the wisdom of it. She had a manager that sent emails to every one of the residents in association and they were’nt nice emails.

Mangers stay current with changes in the industry. Joining CAI and Multi Housing are two great organizations and resources for managers. The fellowship with other peope in the industry is always worth the price of membership. You just have to commit to getting involved., Click on these links to get more information.

Organization is obviously important. One of the managers uses a program called Filmaker Pro to organize everything. She said it tracks all tasks, sends them to email and files everything.
Another manager color codes file folders and a couple of people talked about color coding their calendars.

Work on only one thing at a time. Marj brought up the term “Paper Chicken Pox” The question is: If you had to put a dot of your pen on a piece of paper every time you touched it, would it look like it had “Chicken Pox”? Touch papers only once, or preferably, keep everything electronic.
These are my opinions only and not the opinions of the speakers or CAI.
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Steve Hoogenakker

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