If we think about how technology affects our everyday lives, you will quickly realize that technology affects the way we live, eat, think, and, most importantly, communicate. At the start of 2005, HOA management software companies opened their doors to discovering new ways to integrate technology into the HOA community; this resulted in helping HOAs increase efficiencies, all while reducing time and cost. As HOAs steadily grew, the desire for more advances in the HOA software industry increased. With 2020 slowly coming to an end, forecasters predict an expected upsurge in the global property management software industry by as high as “3333.47 million USD by 2022.”
What’s driving the demand for more HOA management software?
In short — efficiency. Maintaining efficient processes has been a top priority and goal for many property managers and management companies since the beginning stages. In 2016, property management companies also discovered a need to scale up to the needs of incoming generations that may be more accustomed to living in a technological community. Pre-Covid-19, property management companies have seen a large demographic shift from the baby boomer as the majority percentage of homeowners to the millennial’s new desire to move into a more HOA family-like home. Among these trends are the desire to incorporate smart locker storage functions, save time and money, faster communication, and have more efficient ways of managing their day-to-day lives in the home.
What is HOA management software?
An HOA management software is an all-in-one management tool that consists of applications such as:
- online membership database
- communication tool for boards, managers, homeowners, and tenants
- payment portal
- website builder
- and much more
As HOA management software continues to increase in capabilities, HOA communities have found a large amount of success in the overall growth of their community organization for both its board of directors and community members. Management software creates a way for community members to streamline and take part in their day-to-day responsibilities with more ease and efficiency.
How to choose the best HOA management software
Implementing HOA software is an important decision that should be made by the direction of your HOA board of directors. Understanding the needs of your community should be a large priority in the decision-making process. Before making a solid decision, consider discussing the following topics and questions.
- How will including HOA management software affect your overall budget?
- How will including new software affect your staff and volunteers?
- What are the pros and cons of implementing a new HOA software?
- Are there any risks or regulations that your HOA must follow?
- What are the primary goals and needs of your community?
- Will including an HOA software save time and cost?
When choosing the best HOA management software, careful consideration should be taken into account. As a rule of thumb, please keep an open mind and allow other members to voice their opinions. Most importantly, be sure to review your CC&R or advise a legal counsel if necessary.
Here are 9 guidelines for choosing HOA management software.
- Check references and credentials: With the many options of HOA software available in the market, referencing software credentials is an important part of knowing how others have responded to their product. Consider asking other HOA communities how they have seen an impact in their community, along with any new positive changes. You can also check how the app in consideration is rated on the Apple and Android Play Stores.
- User friendly experience: Not everyone considers themselves a tech guru. Selecting software that is user friendly will be a large part of how your community will respond and interact with the product. When new software can easily be utilized and managed independently, users will begin to gain a sense of comfort and reliability.
- Setup process: When purchasing an HOA software, be aware of the process and time that it may take to implement the new system. Be cautious and aware of any additional setup or installment fees that may be required. Also, be sure to ask your representative for a timeline and projected installment date.
- Financial security: Many HOA software come with payment options that your community members can use to make their monthly dues. Also, HOA software can allow HOAs to manage all their accounting and reporting in one system, either natively or through integrations with accounting systems. In this situation, check that the software is PCI compliant and includes a set amount of privacy measures. The advantage of having software that is PCI compliant is that your HOA’s financial records and credit card information are maintained in a secure environment.
- Communication: One of the most sought after reasons many communities find HOA software to be useful is their large ability to increase communication among the HOA board and its members. An HOA software should enable members to communicate and keep track of important decisions easily.
- Support and training: Having an HOA software that offers support and training tools to the users is an important part of utilizing all of your software benefits. Be sure that your software is compliant with all industry best practices.
- Customized solutions: When accessing your HOA needs, you may find specific features that an HOA software may not include. Consider looking for software that provides the option to create and customize solutions that may be more specific to your community, such as TownSq. You can easily customize permissions for select groups or members or give residents specific groups access to certain features like reservations or a community forum.
- Administration: Another advantage of utilizing HOA software is its capability to manage its members' information and groups. When researching HOA software, consider one that allows its users the option to manage members and groups according to your HOA structure. This includes keeping track of all information such as addresses, telephone numbers, emails, and customizing its member role if needed.
- Privacy: A number one priority of HOA communities and properties in maintaining the safety of their community’s information. When it comes to storing your data, consider credible software, and allows you to share data through a secure cloud-based system.
HOA management software features
In addition to our top 9 guidelines for choosing the best HOA software, be sure to research optional features that may be included in your new software.
- Custom HOA website: Having the option to include an HOA website into your software will be a large asset to growing your community. The purpose of a website is to enhance transparency between management and its members. This feature also allows HOAs to operate their daily management, large projects and provide updates to their community straight from their personalized HOA website. As an HOA self-management software, TownSq has created the option for its users to create and manage their websites easily.
- Event calendars: A software that includes an event calendar allows community members to easily schedule and manage their events and meetings without the hassle of making numerous phone calls and follow-ups. Also, this feature allows members to reserve, cancel, and change their bookings without overlapping.
- TownSq offers its users a reservation feature that allows users to book meetings and reserve amenities straight from the app. Other highlights include:
- Automatic standby line
- Reservations, cancellations, and charges report
- Complete acknowledgment of common area rules required
- Managers can block out times if an amenity is scheduled to close early.
- Communication: As mentioned in our top 10 guidelines, finding software that encompasses strong communication is vital to an HOA. For example, TownSq offers community members the option to communicate their opinions, concerns, and updates using a discussion forum and announcements feature.
- Maintenance: A large perk to including an HOA software is the option to operate and manage all matters related to maintenance within the community. This includes tracking facility usage and maintenance requests without the hassle of making phone calls or sending numerous emails.
- Payment options: Payment options are considered one of the most important features that many HOAs find resourceful. This option allows community members and their managers to manage their accounts and document important financial records. For example, TownSq offers a payment feature that allows users to access their accounts and payment history. Other perks include account management, reporting, online payment, and the capability to integrate with accounting software such as C3, Jenark, Yardi, Caliber Software, and VMS.
- Documents: A document feature allows users to virtually access their communities' important records such as financial and governing documents. For example, TownSq offers a document feature that allows users to virtually access records such as meeting minutes, bylaws and regulations, account balances, and governing documents. Other advantages include:
- Private folders for management
- Can make documents private or public
- Share account balances
- Architectural Requests: In most HOAs, there are guidelines and rules for the community. An Architectural Request feature allows homeowners to submit requests and boards and managers to review and approve. TownSq helps to eliminate any unnecessary stress by providing an easy solution for submitting, reviewing, and approving requests all within the TownSq app.
- Package Control: With more people shopping online, the number of packages being delivered has drastically increased. A package control feature allows concierge and managers to receive and notify residents of arriving packages easily.
HOA management software price
HOA software prices can vary on a number of levels. Provided below are common price options that you may find during your search for HOA management software:
Examples of how HOA softwares determine price:
- The number of units or properties: Depending on the package being offered, some HOA software offers monthly fees based on the number of units. For example, plans for 1-10 units may be as low as $20 a month.
- The association size: Price can also be determined by the number of users expected to use the software. As a suggestion, be sure to ask your representative if there are any requirements based on the number of members and users access.
- Monthly plans: Many HOA software provides a range of payment plans that allow you to pay in monthly installments vs. all at once. Depending on the plan level, monthly fees can range anywhere from as low as $45 a month for a standard plan to as high as $600 a month for a more advanced plan. Keep in mind that all HOA software is different and can range in price, especially for those who may request a customized plan. Some software also offer users the option to pay annually, which may increase your chances of receiving an additional discount if paid in full.
As an alternative option, consider searching for HOA management software options that allow you to have a free trial before purchasing. For example, TownSq offers a demo for those that are still in the exploring phase. During this trial, HOAs can ask questions and test different features that may be more useful for their community's specific needs.