Leverage the Benefits of Self-Managed HOA Software for Your Community

HOA management involves many processes and personalities. When you manage your own homeowners or condo association rather than rely on a third-party management company, you need self-managed HOA software that eases your support tasks and simplifies the entire job of community administration. After all, HOA website software should be designed to help you streamline your work, not increase it.

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Self-managed HOA and self-managed condo association software

As different as these two types of residential developments can be, they share many of the same priorities, challenges, and administrative needs. Sure, condominium developments don’t include traditional single-family homes, and HOAs oversee the owners of freestanding lots. But in each case, an association collects dues and fees, maintains standards through governance of individual property owners, and approves or rejects their requests to remodel their properties.

Those roles produce a long list of responsibilities for the administrative personnel who take charge of them. Largely made up of volunteers who contribute their time for the betterment of the community in which they live, these administrative groups take care of everything from requests for architectural changes to reservations for neighborhood amenities. In many cases, they plan and publicize events, welcome new homeowners and familiarize them with community rules, and track a wide variety of documents and data.

Regardless of whether you’re an administrator of a self-managed HOA or a self-managed condo association, you want every minute of your work to count toward your community’s most important goals. Those include neighborhood harmony as well as well-managed fiscal stability—for your HOA itself, your property owners, and your own property as well.


Self-managed Condo Associations


Self-managed HOA software doesn’t stipulate the kinds of documents you manage, meetings you hold, dues you collect, or any aspects of your community’s location, size, age, style, or costs. It’s set up to accommodate the types of activities and assets you need to track, along with the events you hold, amenities your residents can reserve, and so on.

With the right self-managed HOA software, you can take care of all of the many responsibilities that form your administrative role, and eliminate confusion, wasted time, and inefficiency. With the right self-managed condo association software, your community can maximize the strength of its organization for the betterment of your entire development.

Types of HOA software programs

Types of HOA software programs

HOA software programs fall into two basic categories: General-purpose software that communities attempt to use for their specialized purposes, and specially designed software that includes features and functions specifically designed for HOAs. If you assume that specialized HOA software programs do a better job of anticipating the needs of communities like yours, you’re right—so long as you choose an HOA software provider that not only understands those needs but creates the right response to serve them.

What’s wrong with turning a general-purpose software program into an HOA solution? Nothing, unless you like workarounds and “making do” with features that aren’t quite a match for your administrative expectations. Likewise, what’s wrong with a do-it-yourself solution that you build with a combination of a popular content management system and add-on software, or plug-ins, that add specific capabilities? Again, nothing, unless you want to spend months to research each little piece of the capability puzzle, source each one, make sure they’re all compatible with one another, and then set about the process of building your actual website.

Some communities settle for these compromises under the assumption that they come with financial savings or represent an improvement over previous solutions. In reality, the time you waste trying to squeeze these make-do options into workable shape has value, too—and many of the workaround “alternatives” to purpose-built HOA software programs cost as much, if not more, than the real thing.

Instead of trying to scrape together a less-than-satisfactory HOA software solution, think about the time, effort, and frustration you can save when you opt for self-managed homeowners association software that works the way you need it to operate—without settling for less than the feature set you need.

All-in-one community management software

The ideal HOA software solution for self-managed homeowners associations and condo associations provides all the administrative functionality you need in a unified package. No need to add on third-party options, test modular features to ensure that they work together, or resort to manual procedures alongside your all-in-one community management software package.

When you choose the right homeowners association website software provider for your community, you receive a thoughtfully designed suite of tools that operates seamlessly to solve your problems and ease your workload. To ensure that you’ve chosen the right solution, look for full-fledged demonstrations and even free trials so you can do your own “road test” and see how the product operates. This is your opportunity to make full use of the research you did to identify the right feature set for your HOA, and to ensure that the all-in-one community management software works the way you want to work.


All-in-one HOA Software


While you’re investigating these options, keep track of what you and your fellow administrators do and don’t like about each one in a spreadsheet that lists all the pros and cons you encounter. Sit down together and iron out which negatives really constitute deal breakers and which are nothing more than quirks or preferences. Make sure that you consider the impact of the software on future leadership—and verify that the all-in-one community management software developer makes frequent updates to add features. Check out the provider’s learning resources and verify that they provide the support you need to get up to speed quickly and make full use of the package you choose.

During this process, consider how the all-in-one community management software provider will bill you for the package you choose. Do they position their product as an inexpensive option, but force you to pay additional costs for basic features so they can keep the entry price low? Do they offer tiered sets of feature options so you can choose the amount of functionality you need—and upgrade easily if and when your needs change? Do they treat your HOA with respectful support regardless of whether your community is small or large?

Small HOA software: Myth or reality?

Small HOA software: Myth or reality?

Large HOAs and self-managed condo associations may assume that their administrative needs involve more complexity than the equivalent tasks at small HOAs. In fact, the only real difference between the two is the scale of the effort. Whether your community includes 50, 150, 1,500, or more property owners, you face the same challenges, just more or fewer of them.

So the idea that small HOAs “only need ‘small HOA software'” is based on fundamentally mistaken ideas about what these HOAs do. Self-managed HOA software makes an essential contribution to the work of any HOA, large or small.

Yes, large HOAs deal with more property owners—and, as a result, perhaps face more obstacles than smaller HOAs do—but the administrators of small HOAs still need to take care of the same types of responsibilities as their counterparts in larger communities. No small HOA should be forced to endure the tedium of manual processes, the frustration of “make-it-work” software solutions, or the wasted effort of outdated procedures.

So “small HOA software” really is “HOA software,” period. And the advantages of that software for self-managed communities begin with their transformative impact on your single biggest asset besides your development itself: Your data.

HOA database software

Homeowners associations deal with many types of data, all of which require organization and safeguards. Every HOA handles member information, for example. Unfortunately, the longer the community accrues this information, the easier it is for it to become disorganized. As more and more people become involved in data entry over the years, it’s easy for inconsistencies to creep in. One person records addresses with the directional (avenue, street, and so on) as an abbreviation, but the next person spells it out. One data file records addresses with the city, state, and ZIP code in one field, but the next one breaks that up into three separate fields. These inconsistencies interfere with standardization and make your data files difficult to unify.

When you want to import your member data, you put the information into a structured template file. This data file looks like a standard spreadsheet—and you can edit it in your favorite spreadsheet program—but it comes with some special restrictions.


HOA Database Software


The HOA database software expects to see incoming information formatted in a predictable way. If you reorganize the columns in the template file, rename them, or delete one (such as a second address line) because you have no data to put in it, your import process will fail. When you follow the template and put your information in its assigned columns, presto! Your information imports successfully. This software capability can save you hours of error-prone typing to enter member data. The time you spend managing and maintaining your data in a consistent format will pay off when you add them to your HOA database software.

HOA database software also takes care of maintaining a repository of your important files. From CCRs and meeting minutes to pool rules and ownership transfers, you track a wide range of documents—and if you have to distribute them on paper or via e-mail attachment, they complicate your life, and occupy time better spent on more-productive endeavors.

With HOA database software on your side, however, you can upload digital copies of all your documents. Now you can update them when they change, organize them in folders to keep related materials together, and apply access privileges to ensure that only people with the right to see them can preview or download them.

Condo and HOA website forms and forms

To put all the integrated aspects of self-managed association software to work, HOA and condo software solutions need the internal structural resources—the glue—that unify the package and make it easy to use. Along with a centralized administrative dashboard that provides at-a-glance notifications, you need two other essentials to simplify your work and make your site as attractive as it is functional.

First, you want professionally designed page templates that simplify HOA website software use, and enable you to create beautiful, functional content that blends text and graphics into a harmonious, insightful result. You want those HOA and condo website templates to reflect a unifying overall design theme, with individual color schemes you can implement quickly without changing your pages themselves—and you want the freedom to choose from a range of themes, each with its own unique package of typography and design concepts.


HOA Website Software


Second, you want the ability to create and deploy custom forms to capture appeals for information and track architectural change requests. Along with these customized input structures, you want your ARC process to incorporate a built-in communications system that threads responses and enables administrators to communicate privately about each request, in comments that integrate directly into the ARC ticket itself.

HOA billing software

HOA billing software

Every time you need to send out invoices for routine dues and fees, manual processes slow you down. If you want your invoicing cycles to proceed as efficiently as possible, take advantage of the hands-off digital automation you can achieve with modern HOA billing software.

Skip the tedious process of preparing individual invoices so you can attach them to e-mail messages and send them out a batch at a time. Now, your HOA billing software automatically generates and transmits them exactly when you specify, based on the due date and payment terms you assign. An interim reminder helps your residents remember to pay, and late payers receive a polite nudge to take care of their overdue obligations.

Pair up HOA billing software with HOA payment software, and you have an unbeatable combination for member convenience as well as collection certainty. The right community association management software combines these features to provide a secure, convenient solution that removes impediments to payment—and saves more administrative time than perhaps any other form of HOA website software can.