The Making of A Manager with Otto Freund

Take It To The Board with Donna DiMaggio Berger

Dec 11 2021 • 49 mins

If you thought property management centered on overseeing the upkeep of a property or building, you’re not alone in that misconception. According to Otto Freund, serving as a community association manager (CAM) is, instead, all about managing people and providing quality customer service to both the association board and the property’s residents or owners. And, while Otto’s last name is pronounced ‘friend’, even he says that maintaining a sense of diplomatic professionalism is more important than being popular when trying to deliver that superior support.

Donna and Otto pull no punches as they discuss the myriad of skills an effective property manager must have, including diplomacy and negotiating talents, accounting/bookkeeping, budget preparation, mechanical knowledge (plumbing, electrical, HVAC), organizational skills for document management and project oversight, disaster planning and recovery expertise to address natural disasters, and more. They also delve into just how important it is to be able to apply all of those through the filter of association life.

Additional highlights include understanding:

  • Whether the CAM’s priority is to get services at the lowest rate or to be actively committed to strategic fiscal responsibility;
  • Why CAMs and boards tend to skip over the legal aspect of managing a property and how disastrous that can be;
  • What the impact of noncompete agreements is having and will continue to have on the larger industry;
  • A CAMs’ role in community association elections;
  • What CAMs can do to protect themselves AND their associations from dysfunctional boards; and
  • The importance of mentorship in preparing the next generation of CAMs.

BONUS: Anecdotes about how to navigate those rock-hard-place scenarios that CAMs face every day, and the surprising intricacies – from mowing to fertilization - of managing an association’s most costly item.