Technology has revolutionized the way we work. This is as true for homeowner’s associations as it is for most other organizations. HOAs have ultimate responsibility in the communities they serve. Because of this, a high level of organization is required. Many association managers are utilizing HOA management software to save time, costs, and improve the experience for both owners and board members. The specific HOA software features they need may differ depending on the size of the communities they manage or if they self-manage. Even so, there are a few features that surface fairly often, across the board with software vendors. The most requested and useful HOA software features are:
HOA Member Portal
It makes sense that HOA management tools should work well for managers, but what about other members? Member portals make it possible for homeowners to sign in, make payments, and view their payment history. They may also check social calendars, download important documents, submit architectural and maintenance requests, and ask questions or communicate with management.
When people have to physically visit a location or mail a check to pay bills, it may take some time for them to make that payment. Sometimes, this stems from procrastination. Other times, residents might not work typical hours and might not be available during business hours. Online payments open up a wealth of options. Residents can make payments while on vacation in Jamaica or on business trips to New York. Enrolling in auto-pay can also reduce how many homeowners fall behind on payments.
Monthly dues aren’t the only sources of income for HOAs. Associations also make a good deal of income from fining members who violate the rules. Even when HOAs have no intention of generating income, rules exist for a reason. So, whatever your motivation for putting them in place, being able to track progress in the enforcement of those rules when broken can prove helpful.
Sometimes, a community’s HOA is managed by a third party, usually an association management company or property management company. When this happens, managing the multiple communities can become complex. Software that makes allowances for multiple properties can help HOA and property management companies run an efficient business with lower costs. Increased organization and time savings from using software designed for HOA management companies benefits both the association management company and the association property owners. Whether it’s 2 neighborhood associations or 100 COAs, any association management company can benefit from this type of software.
One area that gets complex when there are multiple units to manage is maintenance requests. Homeowners living in detached single-family family properties and townhomes may not make many personal maintenance requests. However, condo owners often do rely on the HOA to handle some maintenance concerns, such as plumbing and central air. Maintenance management also proves helpful for shared spaces, such as the pool or fitness center.
Self-managed HOAs often come under fire for failure to communicate in a timely manner. Communication tools make it possible for HOA managers to set up platforms quite similar to what marketing managers use. These may include text reminders, surveys, social calendars, past-due notices and physical mail All of these tools and more can help HOAs create a seamless communications plan that exceeds community expectations.
Keeping track of revenue and expenses is one of the most difficult tasks that HOAs undertake. Automating the process not only reduces time checking receipts and updating accounts, but it also helps increase the accuracy. Additionally, automated accounting can make transparency more possible. Many HOAs disclose budgets and balance sheets to show how they allocated community funds throughout the year. Automation usually requires syncing with a specific bank account.
Reporting and Online Document Storage
Most people understand numbers better when presented as images and graphs. This is why so many HOA managers want software features that generate graphs. It can help them see how the HOA is doing at a glance and decide what needs their most urgent attention. When presenting information to other members, in the name of transparency, it also makes it easier for them to identify successes and problem spots.
Being able to handle work remotely increases the efficiency of volunteers. It also makes it easier to hire administrative staff. Because of this, many HOAs want software platforms that operate in the cloud. Cloud computing also makes it easy to collaborate on projects and share important files. In some cases, homeowners may want to be able to access files online, such as the community rules or advice on how to access amenities after hours.
It’s one thing to have all of these features, but to have them all on one platform is even better. HOA workers can increase efficiency by eliminating the time they spend switching between apps. Centralized dashboards also reduce how many different apps and websites members need to keep track of when they need information or assistance. Finally, they create a quick snapshot of annual progress.
Harnessing the power of software allows HOAs to save a lot of money they would otherwise spend on labor and lose on missed opportunities. So, naturally, they must be expensive. In some cases, they certainly are. However, some HOA software vendors offer great service starting at $40 per month.