5 Easy Ways to Improve Your HOA
What’s the one aspect of homeowners association administration that every admin would love to improve? Unfortunately, that’s a trick question—because the answers range among a list of possibilities. But if you surveyed the admins of a long list of leading HOAs, you’d find these five items on the majority of their lists.
Easier website development
Some state laws now demand that homeowners associations maintain websites that are capable of offering very specific features and functionality for their communities and their residents. Even if you don’t live in a state that requires you to develop an online property, you can achieve many efficiencies through the use of a website for your HOA. But for many HOA administrators, the first challenge of adding a website for their community is the website development process itself.
If you’re like many homeowners association administrators, you’re a volunteer, and you don’t have the time to devote to becoming a website developer just so you can build a site for your HOA. You’re too busy with routine HOA business to get involved with content management systems and website plug-ins and font software and logos.
But just because you want your website to be easy to develop, without the potentially large expense of hiring an independent development professional to build it for you, doesn’t mean that you want to sign up with an HOA website software provider whose sites all look the same. A cookie-cutter website can’t convey your unique advantages to the public, or reinforce genuine neighborhood spirit among your residents.
This is a biggie for most homeowners association administrators—and with good reason. Who wants to be the “bad guy” who has to enforce dues and fees, payment policies, and all the headaches associated with the monetary aspect of homeowners association business?
Every admin wants to receive payments quickly, without complicated collection efforts, but old-fashioned manual systems don’t do a good job of the business side of HOA administration. Online payment processing can be a complex and even expensive affair, one that requires you to research payment processors and figure out which one provides the ideal mix of reasonable fees and payment security. This step can give you a bigger headache than the process of payment collection itself.
But online payments offer so many advantages over every other possible option that it’s almost impossible to avoid adopting this type of system. The trick is to find one that integrates securely into your website without hassles and that makes it as easy to send out invoices as to collect the payments themselves.
Simple opinion polls
Sometimes, you need to know what your residents think. Whether you’re asking them to vote on matters of governance or you simply need to know what’s on their minds about issues that affect your entire community, you need an easy-to-administer way to ask questions and get answers from all your residents.
Sure, you could set up a presence on a social media site and attempt to use it for your polls, but unfortunately, social media sites do a very poor job of presenting your community’s unique attributes. They’re designed more as a reflection of the social media community itself than of any individual participant in that flow of communication. Besides, their polling capabilities are narrow and limited.
So you want an easy polling process, preferably one that’s built into a website that includes all these other features as well, but where are you going to find one that’s truly simple to use? Ideally, you’re looking for a homeowners association website software provider that specializes in communities like yours but doesn’t force its customers into design limitations that make every site on its platform look the same.
Your residents may not want to be best friends with everybody on their block, but it’s a lot easier to do a good job of administering a homeowners association when you can get in touch with all your residents and they have a way to get in touch with you. Again, this isn’t something to leave to e-mail or other traditional communication methods.
Instead, what you want is a website with built-in communication methods. First off, you want today’s equivalent of the old-fashioned bulletin board, a place on which you can post the latest community news, encourage residents to comment, and build rapport among your neighborhoods.
Second, you want private chat features that enable your residents to communicate securely among themselves without the rest of the world looking on. As you probably know if you’ve tried to accomplish this through traditional social media channels…well, let’s just say it’s not easy to communicate privately on sites that are designed to be the essence of public.
Social media channels don’t do the greatest job of providing you with variable, flexible privacy protections that you can turn on or off depending on how much of these communications you want to be accessible to the public and how much you want to be private among members and administrators. Not only that, but to use a social media channel as a way of communicating with residents, you have to convince all of them to sign up for the social media channel itself.
All in all, what most homeowners association administrators want is an easier way to do their jobs, one that requires less time and achieves better results than other methods. After all, many homeowners association administrators volunteer their time, and most of them lead busy lives into which they have to fit these other activities as best they can.
You can accomplish all these goals with a website for your homeowners association, provided that your site offers all the features you need and all the convenience you want. At HOAStart, we specialize in providing online properties for HOAs. We know the features you need, the level of design sophistication you expect, and the types of support you want to ensure that your website development process is smooth and that your online property is as easy to maintain as it is to create. Take advantage of our 30-day free trial to find out how our homeowners association website software platform can support your community.