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 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.