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9 Non-Negotiable HOA Software Features

HOA software is an essential tool that helps associations become more efficient. Since there are a lot of options to choose from, it can be difficult to determine the best HOA software for your community. To aid in your search, here are nine non-negotiable HOA software features to look out for.


HOA Software Features: Why Do You Need Them?

HOA board members know that it is not easy to manage a community. Apart from dealing with complex tasks such as common area maintenance and financial management, there are countless administrative tasks that eat up most of your time. For instance, it takes a lot of time and effort to manually look up association records, process homeowner requests, deposit checks to the bank, send mail to the post office, and so on.

It’s important to remember that HOA board members are volunteer positions. Board members have full-time jobs and other responsibilities too. They cannot spend all their time dealing with association tasks. This is where HOA software comes in.

HOA software is a digital tool that will eliminate most — if not all — of the manual administrative tasks. Depending on your homeowners association software features, it’s possible to accomplish all of the essential administrative tasks in one place. This will streamline your association’s processes and make it more efficient. Board members will not only be able to save time but having HOA software can be cost-effective for the HOA as well.

As a board member, you have a lot of HOA software options to choose from. Some are all-in-one systems, which serve most associations’ general needs. Meanwhile, there are also specialized HOA software that can cater to the specific needs of your community. Regardless of which option you choose, there are some features of HOA software that are non-negotiable.


9 Must-Have HOA Software Features

HOA software is a major investment so it’s important to pick the best one for your community. Before you make your final choice, though, make sure that it has these nine must-have HOA software features.


1. Accounting and Bookkeeping

Keeping track of finances is one of the most complex and time-consuming aspects of managing an HOA. Proper financial management is also key to the success of your community.
Having an accounting and bookkeeping feature in your HOA software means that you no longer have to manually keep track of all the financial documents.

Since everything is uploaded to the system, it will only take you seconds to pull up the documents you need. A digital general ledger also makes it easier to keep track of all the money coming in and out of your accounts.


2. Financial Reporting

A financial reporting feature should go hand in hand with the accounting and bookkeeping feature. HOA software should allow you to create financial reports whenever you need them. Make sure that your software can create both simplified reports, which homeowners can easily understand, as well as comprehensive reports with graphs and charts to help the HOA board when making important financial decisions.


3. HOA Member Portal

HOA software should also make your homeowners’ life easier. With a member portal and log-in feature, homeowners can access their own accounts. They can keep track of assessments and overdue payments, make amenity reservations, and access the community’s governing documents. Since everything is available on the system, homeowners are less likely to call the HOA office. Fewer phone calls will free up a lot of the HOA boards’ time.


4. HOA Resident Database

An online resident database is also a must-have HOA software feature. The system will keep track of all homeowners and their personal information. When assisting homeowners with their requests, the HOA will be able to pull up their records quickly. Thus, communication with homeowners is faster and more efficient.


5. Online Payment System and Bank Integration

An online payment system is more convenient for both the HOA and the homeowners. You can automate the invoicing process, which means less expenditure on office supplies and postage costs. Meanwhile, homeowners can easily pay their monthly assessments from the comforts of their own homes. Since the payment process is more convenient, it can also help decrease delinquencies in your community.

Then, with a bank integration feature, all payments will go directly to your account. You no longer have to personally deposit the checks to the bank each month.


6. Maintenance Management

Make sure to choose HOA software that has a maintenance management feature. Since maintenance tasks entail a lot of scheduling and monitoring, this feature will be able to save you a lot of time. The HOA will be able to track all the maintenance requests, work orders, and vendor payments.


7. Violation Tracking

Depending on your governing documents, violation letters should still be sent to homeowners via certified mail. However, HOA software with a violation tracking feature will still be very helpful. If you have a large community, you might have numerous violations at any given time. With this feature, you can easily monitor homeowners’ violations. You’ll also know which homeowners have been sent notices and which ones have not.


8. Communications and Events Platform

Sending newsletters and posting announcements is time-consuming and labor-intensive. You can save a lot of resources by having a communications and events platform integrated into your HOA software. The HOA can communicate with homeowners through the system. You can update homeowners on upcoming events — whether it’s a social gathering or a board meeting — which can help increase attendance and participation.


9. Mobile Compatibility

mobile phone | features of hoa softwareMobile compatibility is an important HOA software feature. Even if you are out of the office and far from a computer, you will still be able to accomplish important community management tasks. Homeowners will also be able to access all the information they need through their smartphones or other mobile devices.


Additional Considerations for HOA Software Features

Apart from the nine non-negotiable features, here are the other things you may want to have in your HOA software.

  • Simple and Clean Interface — Your HOA software should be intuitive and easy to use. It won’t matter if you have the most comprehensive HOA software if you cannot use it properly.
  • Versatile and Customizable — Your community’s needs today might be different tomorrow. Make sure to choose HOA software that can adapt as your community grows.
  • A Secure, Cloud-Based System — Since the HOA software will host all the important community documents you need to make sure that the system is secure. A cloud-based system also allows you to recover important data even if your computer hardware malfunctions.
  • Specialized Features — Your community may have additional management needs that can only be addressed by specialized HOA software.


HOA Software Features to Secure Your Community’s Success

A community’s success will depend on how the HOA is able to manage its finances and operations. Many HOA communities only realize this after they have made major missteps in their operations. HOA software is a big investment but it can make community management much easier and more efficient. As a result, the HOA board members have more time to focus on their tasks and responsibilities. As long as you consider these nine non-negotiable HOA software features, you’ll be able to choose the best one for your community.



Management Software For Self-Managed HOAs: How Can It Help?

Many homeowners associations across the country choose self-management over hiring professional services. This can prove difficult as the association grows bigger and more tasks start piling up. If that situation sounds all too familiar to you, consider getting software for self-managed HOA communities.


Benefits of Software for Self-Managed HOA Communities

It is easy to dismiss self-managed HOA software in favor of doing things the traditional way. But, with the ever-evolving landscape of technology, self-managed HOAs can quickly fall behind. One of the primary benefits of hiring a professional management company is access to the latest tools and software. Though, there is also software for self-managed HOA communities, specifically designed to fit their needs and make the board’s jobs easier.

Still on the fence? Take a look at the many benefits of getting software for self-managed HOA communities:


1. Access to Association Records Anytime

personal info | hoa software optionsWith using a program, you no longer need to flip through hundreds of physical records to find the one you are looking for. All you need to do is type in the record’s filename and locate it with just the click of a button.

If you have got a printer hooked up, you can print out multiple copies without missing a beat.

Physical records also take up a lot of space. As the years go by, you will need more and more space to accommodate new records and documents. Furthermore, it is not advisable to throw away association records once you are through with them. With software, you can keep all association records indefinitely, provided you have enough storage space either internally or in the cloud.


2. Easy Homeowner and Vendor Communications

Communication is an integral part of running an HOA community. Normally, professional management companies take care of homeowners and vendor communications. But, for self-managed HOAs, getting software is the way to go.

Management software allows you to print out or email customizable letters to homeowners. It can also keep track of every email you send so you can refer back to such data in the future. Being an HOA board member also means you take calls and emails from homeowners and vendors all the time. With software, you can take down notes easily and log in the number of hours you spend monthly on communications.


3. Efficient Request Tracking

Requests from homeowners can quickly accumulate and bury you under a mountain of paperwork. Worse yet, hard copies get lost or damaged. With software, you no longer need to worry about that.

Management software lets you track requests in real-time, making sure no request is left unanswered. Any architectural change requests can go right through the software. Your ARC committee can then review these requests and send approval or denial letters using the software.


4. Streamlined Processes (Violations, Invoicing, Collections)

As with requests, invoicing, collections, payments, and violations management can get lost in the shuffle. And, as any self-managed HOA board knows, inefficient processes can have serious consequences. For instance, late payments to vendors can lead to a strained working relationship or service interruptions.

With using management software, you can streamline all your HOA processes. That includes utility billing, payment processing, invoicing, and assessment collections. You can even track homeowner violations for effective covenant enforcement. With faster and more functional tools at your fingertips, you can look forward to a successful self-managed HOA.


5. Real-Time Accounting and Financial Reporting

By far, one of the most challenging aspects of HOA management is accounting and financial management. Not all board members have the background to deal with financial reporting. This is why management software can be beneficial to self-managed HOAs.

With software, you can enter your financial transactions and get real-time reporting. The software will take care of the books for you. You receive monthly reports, take care of bank reconciliations with ease, and get help with budget planning through historical data and projections.

Fraud and embezzlement are also growing concerns among HOA communities. Traditional methods make it all too easy to falsify financial records. A management software fights fraud with the incorporation of an audit trail. This lets you see who added or changed each record. With software, you can run your association with accountability and transparency.


6. Built-In Calendar

planning | hoa software optionsFar too often, self-managed associations fall behind on tasks and schedules. This is because HOA boards typically consist of community volunteers with full-time jobs and other priorities.

When juggling your personal and professional lives, it can be easy to forget about HOA activities. Unfortunately, a missed deadline can give rise to other problems.

Management software usually comes with a built-in calendar. From there, you can plot all the important tasks and deadlines you must remember. Some programs even come with alert systems to remind you of an upcoming event, such as a board meeting or spring cleaning day. With software, you can stay on top of all your duties and responsibilities without trouble.


7. Eco-Friendly

In addition to being beneficial to the association, using a program can also be beneficial to the environment. By adopting a management software, your HOA can significantly reduce paper use. No more having to fill up forms in triplicate and then having those forms pile up needlessly in a corner.


8. Cost-Efficient

Contrary to popular belief, using management software can actually save you money in the long run. The cost of the investment may seem high to you now, but keep in mind that your HOA will be using this software for many years to come. Additionally, by cutting back on paper use, you can also find more room in your budget.


The Best Software for Self-Managed HOA

Your HOA board may be reluctant to switch over to management software, and that is understandable. Switching to using a program and learning how to use it can take a lot of time and effort. But, the process is relatively simple if you put in the right amount of work. As you can see, the benefits of software for self-managed HOA communities clearly outweigh the time and cost it will require to start using it.

If your association is looking at HOA software options, consider Condo Manager USA. Contact us today and ask for a free demo!