Your HOA’s 5 Most-Important Problems—and How to Solve Them
Let’s face it: Every homeowners association does some things well and wants to improve at other tasks. Some HOAs excel at marketing themselves to prospective residents. Some organizations excel at resident communication and the development of genuine neighborliness. Others prioritize efficiency in all administrative tasks. Regardless of where are your HOA stands out and what you’d like to do better, chances are you’ve thought about ways you could improve your administrative functioning and enhance your communication with members. All these priorities become easier to achieve with a well-designed, well-run HOA website.
Communication and member engagement
The best way to run a streamlined homeowners association is to maintain good lines of communication in both directions between admins and residents, with mutual respect on both sides. Yes, as an admin, you’re there to do a job, and at times, you have to put your foot down to enforce community guidelines. But so long as you keep your residents up to date on critical matters, listen to their concerns, and streamline the processes you use for these tasks, you can foster a positive atmosphere in which everyone is heard and no one feels left out.
Part of that communication process involves your ability to post meaningful announcements where residents can see them—and make decisions about which information is visible to the public and which posts are accessible only to members. A newsfeed provides you with the 21st-century version of a bulletin board, minus the thumbtacks and the need to visit a physical destination to view it. Post updates whenever you need to get the word out.
Secure online payments
Nothing makes homeowners association administrators crazier than the entire subject of payments and collections. Even the most motivated resident, one who’s totally on board with the fees you charge and the dues you assess, doesn’t want to have to make paper payments—and a very warm climate will freeze over before any admin wants to process those checks.
Today, even people who don’t spend large amounts of time on the Internet are accustomed to the idea that it’s possible to make secure payments through virtual means. They like the fact that they can skip the stamps, the time, and all of the paper-based rigamarole associated with older methods of paying for things.
But not everyone is equally comfortable with every potential payment gateway. People in the know want assurances that their payments are protected by appropriately implemented online security procedures, and that their personally identifiable financial information is not at risk simply because they want the convenience of electronic payments through a website. Before you can offer these payment features to your residence, you need to be certain that you can provide the assurance they need that their information is secure.
Properly documented architectural change requests
Your community maintains a set of standards for the appearance of individual properties, and it’s essential that each resident submit proposed changes for review and approval before making modifications. That’s a simple fact of life in HOA-governed communities. What can bog down the process is the fact that not every community manages required communication and approvals with equally trackable efficiency.
You don’t want to rely on an e-mail address as the destination for the documentation involved in an architectural change request and the back-and-forth discussion that may ensue over the specifics of an individual proposal. You want the equivalent of an audit trail that documents every step in the communication process, exactly what the resident proposed, any objections or requests for additional information that arose along the way, and the eventual outcome of the request—along with attachments such as contractor estimates and links to material samples. You want to give each side a full opportunity to communicate before any decision is rendered—without the entire process turning into an us-versus-them affair.
Community amenities make an enormous difference in the life of a neighborhood and the homeowners association that represents it. Whether you’re talking about tennis courts, marina slips, swimming pools, workout rooms, or any other community asset that’s designed to be reserved and shared, you need an easy-to-use system through which residents can reserve these features, pay for use if and when that’s appropriate, and see a calendar-based representation of their reservations.
Some homeowners associations initially consider putting up a website to provide the equivalent of a glossy brochure that markets the advantages of their neighborhoods to prospective residents. Unfortunately, in the long run, that type of “brochure site” provides less of the functionality you really need them a more fully featured site can offer.
But along with all of the communication-oriented and transactional types of features that really make a homeowners association website a viable online property and a huge administrative timesaver, you also need the ability to convey the essence of your community in an attractive, professional, distinctive way that catches the public eye.
A homeowners association website software provider enables you to set up a website that meets the specific needs of an HOA, without the need for expensive developers or long, convoluted learning curves to become a quasi-website expert yourself. This type of website software provider specializes in HOAs, and if you find the right option for your community, you can achieve both the aesthetic and the functional goals of your online property.
That’s where we come in. At HOAStart, we have long years of experience in serving the needs of homeowners association such as yours, and providing the online functionality that truly eases your administrative tasks at the same time that it enhances the life of your community.
We offer you a no-strings-attached 30-day free trial period so you can test out our website software and see how it meets your needs. In fact, you can sign up for a trial without providing credit card or payment information of any kind. We support you throughout the trial period just as we do our customers, assist you in accomplishing your goals and help you work through our easy-to-use software. Along with our support professionals, we also offer you a complete online help system, plus useful tutorial videos that walk you step-by-step through specific features.
See how the right homeowners association website software provider can help you solve some of your most pressing problems. At HOAStart, we’re ready to help you make your HOA website vision a reality.