Property Management Software for HOA

You know the drill – managing a homeowners association (HOA) community is no easy task. From collecting monthly dues to organizing community events and handling maintenance issues, HOA boards juggle quite a few responsibilities. 

And without the right systems and software in place, operations can easily become chaotic and frustrating for both board members and residents.

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Fortunately, as technology has advanced over the years, so have the property management systems catered specifically to HOAs. Where HOA boards once relied on spreadsheets and paper trails, they can now leverage sophisticated software to automate processes, facilitate communication, build HOA websites, and offer a seamless experience for everyone involved.

 

 

The right property management software enables HOAs, both large-scale and small, to run more efficiently and effectively. The key is finding the right property management software for your specific use case – and one that meets your needs for the long run.

What is property management software for HOAs?

Before diving into the specifics of what to look for and the benefits that property management software delivers for associations, it is worth distinguishing this type of platform from related options HOAs may come across:

Homeowners Association (HOA) management software

HOA management software is also designed to manage community operations but has limited accounting capabilities. 

Solutions are usually web-based to facilitate shared access but focused primarily on maintenance schedules, vendor information, document management, etc. Basic finance tools may be included, but robust accounting features require linking separate accounting software.

Property management software

Property management software serves a similar purpose but for managers of rental properties and vacation rentals. 

Tools for listing properties, screening tenants, collecting rent, and managing leases lead functionality along with some light accounting support. This type of software would not meet the scope of needs involved in running a shared community like an HOA.

 

 

Property management software for HOAs

As the name implies, this software combines the specific operational management features HOA administrators need alongside the solid accounting tools that full property management demands. 

So associations get a true all-in-one solution allowing centralized and streamlined administration of all facets of their community for optimized efficiency.

Why Invest in property management software for HOAs?

Why Invest in property management software for HOAs?

Property management software designed for HOAs goes by many names—community association management software, homeowners association management software, HOA management software, and so on. But in essence, these platforms all serve the same core purposes:

To facilitate community administration and operations

At their foundation, HOA management platforms are designed to enable boards and property managers to smoothly oversee the governance, administration, finances, and maintenance of their communities. This includes key capabilities such as:

  • Accounting tools for managing HOA budgets, collecting dues, paying vendors
  • Utilities for organizing board/committee meetings and official records
  • Systems for enforcing bylaws and policies

To support communication and collaboration

With multiple parties involved in running an HOA, from board members to residents to vendors, seamless communication is critical. Management software includes integrated features to streamline collaboration, such as:

  • Message boards, email broadcasting, surveys to engage residents
  • Document repositories for easy access to files
  • Service request tools enabling residents to submit and track maintenance needs

To provide operational visibility through reporting

Overseeing a community requires comprehensive visibility into operations and finances. Robust reporting functionality enables insights like:

  • Customized reports on budget status, assessment collections, etc.
  • Activity audit trails and logs providing oversight
  • Analytics dashboard offering high-level visibility

Property management solutions offer scalability for communities of all sizes

While the above features and functions are great, the real value lies in scalability. Property management platforms catered to HOAs are designed to scale to support small and large communities. 

Solutions typically offer tiered pricing based on the number of units/homes in a community. Many also allow for customizable configurations to adapt to an association’s specific organizational structure and needs.

For example, a 100-unit condo building has very different demands than an 800-home single-family home development. So whether an HOA has a couple of board members or a large management team, the system offers flexible permission controls. Owners and residents can be granted full or limited system access as appropriate.

 

 

Core platform functionalities remain largely the same across tier levels. The main differences in scaled packages lie in:

  • The number of user accounts supported
  • The data storage bandwidth
  • Features like single sign-on user authentication
  • Expanded customer support resources

Associations shouldn’t shy away from software they otherwise find fitting due to small or large scale. The solutions scale, enabling a consistent, tailored experience regardless of community size.

This built-in flexibility ensures a system can continue meeting an association’s needs well into the future, even amidst significant community growth and evolution – and encourages the association to thrive while doing so!

Key features to look for in property management software

Key features to look for in property management software

With an understanding of the core purposes of HOA management platforms, what specific capabilities should associations evaluate when researching software options?

Robust accounting tools

At the foundation of any HOA system, there needs to be integrated accounting tools for managing finances. When residents feel that their dues are being handled appropriately, it can help foster a sense of trust and transparency within the community.

Look for software that easily tracks income and expenses, generates reports, and facilitates online payments. It should also have features for budget planning and reserve fund management.

Core accounting features should include:

  • Accounts receivable/payable tracking: The software should allow easy tracking of who owes and is owed money, including homeowners with outstanding dues or fees.
  • Invoice and collections tools: Features for creating and sending invoices, tracking payments, and automating collections processes for late payments. This ensures efficient assessment collection.
  • Budgeting and cash flow analysis: Functionality to develop operating budgets, track spending against budgets, and generate cash flow forecasts to support financial planning.
  • Expense and income processing/reporting: The ability to seamlessly log HOA income and expenses. This enables up-to-date financial reporting. Custom and scheduler reporting features are ideal.

Maintenance tracking & service requests

Handling maintenance issues promptly is critical for community upkeep and satisfaction. After all, no one wants to live in a community with broken streetlights or leaking roofs. That’s why it’s important for HOA management software to have maintenance tracking and service request features.

  • Service request ticketing system: An online portal where residents can submit maintenance requests that automatically generate tickets. This centralizes and organizes repair needs.
  • Maintenance task scheduling: Tools to assign tasks to vendors, schedule repairs, and track work orders from creation to close. This facilitates efficient coordination.
  • Inventory management: Module for cataloging community assets with details like serial numbers, warranties, and preventative maintenance schedules. This aids inventory oversight.
  • Vendor management: Repository showing information on vendors available for community repairs like contacts, agreements, licenses, areas of expertise, and past invoices. This eases vendor coordination.

Document management & sharing

Centralized access to community files, records, and documents is vital for transparent governance and operations. Capabilities like version control and permissions allow documents to be managed securely. Plus, easy sharing options enable efficient collaboration among community members and stakeholders.

 

 

Community engagement tools

Features that facilitate clear resident communication and community building are key. While there are various options you can use to engage your community, the most popular are solutions that bring all features together under one roof.

This includes functionality like:

  • Broadcast emails and alerts: Ability to quickly send email blasts to homeowners. SMS and push notification alerts are also useful.
  • Message boards: Online forums for residents to connect and pose questions to the community or board at large.
  • Polling, voting, and e-consent: Tools to electronically conduct polls, votes, and consent processes for streamlined community decision making.
  • Event calendars: Centralized scheduling with notices helps keep the community informed of activities.
  • Smart home integrations: Tie-ins with smart home devices/systems to seamlessly connect surrounding technologies.

Mobile Responsiveness

In today’s world, mobile-friendliness is a must for software. If users feel that the software is too cumbersome to use on their mobile devices, they may turn away from using it altogether. With HOA management software, mobile responsiveness is essential for both residents and managers.

  • Dashboard access: Board members and property managers need on-the-go visibility into financials, work orders, documents, and other records.
  • Email engagement: Simple mobile access enables promptly receiving and responding to residents via email broadcasts, alerts, or message boards.
  • Service requests: Residents can easily use their phones to submit maintenance requests, including photos of issues. Location stamping also helpful.
  • Notifications: Streamlined notifications allow timely updates and reminders to be accessed on mobile devices.
Tips for choosing and implementing the right software

Tips for choosing and implementing the right software

Once an HOA decides to move forward with a property management software solution, thoughtful selection and structured rollout are key to long-term success. Here are the best practices to consider:

Define your HOAs needs upfront

Document your unique priorities, must-haves, and workflow considerations before demoing systems. This keeps the selection process focused only on options that are a fit. Define both current and future needs so that as the HOA evolves, the foundation doesn’t require complicated modifications down the road.

Allow time for customization and development

Understand that customization is typically required beyond just activating integrated features. Build in implementation time for factors like migrating historical data, linking to external programs, branding display interfaces, configuring unique workflows, and training users.

Get stakeholder buy-in

When making a software buying decision that impacts various parties like board members, property managers, and residents, make sure key stakeholders have a say and are on board. This promotes engagement in adoption. Designate point people across groups for implementation.

Offer ongoing training

User adoption is critical to ROI. Have the software provider conduct multi-session training with both initial and refresher courses offered. Designate power users as ongoing community resources. Consider resident open houses to encourage engagement so that residents become comfortable approaching their designated point people should they have questions.

Start with key modules

If rolling out a robust system, activate foundational modules first, focusing on critical needs like accounting, maintenance, and communication tools. Then phase in secondary modules over time ensuring appropriate usage at each stage before adding more components. This can help to avoid overwhelming users and ensure a smooth transition to the new system.

Consider the benefits of property management software for your HOA

With multifaceted responsibilities and the need to seamlessly coordinate among key stakeholders, running a homeowners association carries no shortage of challenges. 

However, as we’ve seen, implementing the right property management software can offer solutions to elevate community operations, governance, and engagement. Even elements such as the HOA websites and accounting tools are simplified using a centralized platform.

As technology advances, so will the solutions available to optimize HOA operations. Associations not leveraging software should strongly consider how modern platforms can provide long-term value. And those relying on outdated systems may be overdue for an upgrade to better support their evolving community.

By investing in property management software purpose-built for their needs, HOAs can focus less on running the backend and more on nurturing the community and people who are the foundation of their organization.

FAQ

What is the difference between free and paid HOA management software?

Free software is typically limited in features and functionality, while paid solutions offer robust options. Free versions work for basic accounting and task management needs but often lack advanced features required by common HOAs. Paid platforms enable customization and have a higher capacity for units, users, and storage.

Why are community engagement features important in software?

Resident communication and transparency are key for community satisfaction and governance. Features like message boards, polls, and email blasts allow responsive dialogue and inclusion between boards and homeowners. This drives rapport and accountability.

 

 

What should small vs large HOAs consider when choosing software?

Scale should not be an obstacle – most software scales offering packages based on number of units. Small HOAs should ensure needed features are available in the base tiers they fall within, while large HOAs should confirm that higher-tier packages meet their expanded needs.

Can QuickBooks be used to manage HOA accounting and finances?

Yes, QuickBooks offers robust accounting tools, but it lacks specialized HOA tools for maintenance, documents, portals, and more.. Many software systems integrate with QuickBooks for accounting while managing other HOA tasks within the dedicated platform.

What does AMS stand for, and what is its purpose?

AMS stands for “Association Management Software,” which is an integrated platform to manage all aspects of HOA administration – accounting, maintenance, communications, document management, and more. The all-in-one system aims to optimize community operations.

Get started today

HOA Start software and our community website support provide all the tools you need to operate your association efficiently and effectively. Are you ready to take the next step? Join the network of HOA Start customers and share the success with your community. Call 863-462-7483 to speak with a team member, or click here to send us an e-mail message today.

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