7 features that help make a great HOA website

7 features that help make a great HOA website

If you’ve thought about setting up a homeowners association website for your community, have you considered which types of features will be the most attractive to your membership? Obviously, every community is different, but certain features pop up time and again on the lists of most desired options that administrators compile as they look for the best online option for their homeowners association. How many of these features are on your list?

Private Messaging

Sure, you can suggest that your members communicate through social media, and even set up a homepage for your community on any one of a number of popular social media sites, but wouldn’t you really rather offer a private communication medium reserved just for your community? When you set up a homeowners association website that’s just for your community, this type of option becomes a real consideration. Because your members most likely are fairly savvy about social media site features, you want to look for some of the same options in the future that you offer them through a side of your own, including replies, threaded messages, emojis, and attached images or other types of files. But if you try do use regular social media sites to do this, your options are fairly limited.

Online Payments

Nobody really enjoys setting up monthly invoicing for homeowners association dues and fees, especially as postal rates continue to rise and you’re stuck buying boxes of envelopes over and over again. That’s not even counting the fact that you need to generate address labels for each envelope, print the invoices, and make sure that each one winds up in the proper envelope. On top of that, there’s the hassle of maintaining some kind of a bank account just to accept payments, and going to the bank to deposit checks. That’s not to mention the fact that you also have to send out reminders to people whose payments are late. Wouldn’t it be ever so much simpler just to be able to generate invoices for homeowners association dues and fees via email attachment and accept payments online? Of course, achieving that kind of set up on your own can be complicated, expensive, and time consuming. What if you could simply accept payments without having to set up the payment processing method yourself?

Online Amenity Reservations

Regardless of how many amenities your community offers, it’s a hassle to track reservations by phone, text, and e-mailed requests, and make sure that people remember to pay for the use of amenities that require actual fees. In a community with a long roster of amenities, this starts to become something very much like a full-time job, and most homeowners associations can’t afford to dedicate somebody to a task like this on a part-time basis, let alone as a full-time responsibility. What if all you had to do was review a list of reservations online, accept or reject each one with a single click, and accept payments via the same online payment vehicle you used to process payments for dues and other fees?

Online Event Reservations

From block parties and yard sales to food truck visits and other special events, you set up a variety of events to make life more enjoyable for community residents. What’s not so much fun is processing the reservations and handling the payments. What if you could deal with event reservations the same way you handle online reservations and payments for the use of your community’s amenities?

Custom Forms

If you attempt to use a prefabricated website, such as a social media site, to provide customized features that match the needs of your individual homeowners association and the community it represents, you quickly discovered that you’re unable to ask specific targeted questions of new and prospective members, or to create customized forms to enroll members, accept reservations for amenities and events, and take care of other forms of HOA business. In fact, unless you create a survey and distribute it in the mail or as a PDF file, or simply send out an email message that contains a list of questions and hope that community members will reply with answers, your ability to solicit input and retrieve information is fairly limited on third-party sites. Wouldn’t you prefer to be able to create forms of your own, request exactly the information you need and display them online automatically to all or specific members without having to jump through hoops to do so?

Custom Surveys With Graphed Results

Every time you need to ask community members for their opinions on matters of importance to your homeowners association, you either have to send out a batch of e-mail messages one at a time or create, print, fold, stuff and address envelopes, and pay for the postage to mail an individual letter to each member. And that’s not the end of the responsibility: once you receive responses, you have to tally them, and then you need to find a way to publicize the results to the entire membership. Here’s a better way to handle it. What if you could simply trigger a poll or survey that would reach every member, limit it to people who belong to specific homeowners association committees, or even target members by name? And what if that survey itself tracked and graphed results in an online venue that members could visit to find out the outcome of the questions?

Flexible Dues and Fees With Targeted Invoicing

Along with standard dues and fees such as the basic cost of HOA membership, most homeowners associations also collect targeted dues and fees for specific activities and features, such as curbside recycling services, or for other routine use of an amenity for which community members sign up as a paid option, such as the use of specific swimming pools or tennis courts. Every time you need to collect an additional specific fee or payment from your membership, you face the need to get in touch with people, process their payment, and ensure that only those who have made those payments have access to the features in question. Wouldn’t you prefer an online payment arrangement that enabled you to target decent fees on the basis of specific member or household attributes?

Where can you find all seven of these features—and many more—in one place, with easy setup of an attractive, full-featured homeowners association website that’s built just for your community? At HOAStart, we’ve built all these capabilities and many more into the homeowners association websites we help communities create.