Do you need help managing your condo or homeowners association? If you’re not ready to hire a professional management company, why not consider HOA software instead? To help you make this decision, here’s everything you need to know about HOA management software.
What Is HOA Software?
HOA software is an industry-specific computer program that performs essential community association management tasks. It functions as an all-in-one management tool that can make HOA board members’ lives easier. Condominium association software is the same thing, except that it is made for COAs.
HOA Software vs Generic Software
Generic software is designed to work across industries. It offers essential management features, which can be very helpful for HOAs. However, adjustments may be needed to adapt the generic software to the specific needs of your community. On the other hand, HOA software is already tailor-made for your association management needs. It will be easier and more intuitive to use.
HOA Software vs Spreadsheets
Many self-managed HOAs are likely familiar with Excel, Google Sheets, and other spreadsheet programs. It’s a low-cost option that allows HOAs to track their income, expenses, budgets, reconciliations, and other financial transactions. Spreadsheets can perform a wide variety of accounting functions. And even though macros and formulas can be difficult to learn, there are many tutorials and resources available to board members
The main drawback of spreadsheets is that it cannot perform more complex tasks that are essential to HOA management. Spreadsheets are also not efficient because it requires manual data entry, which can lead to as much as 88% errors. Scalability is another issue. While spreadsheets may be sufficient for a small HOA, it will become harder and harder as your community grows. While software may cost more, it’s much better at serving your current and future needs.
HOA Software vs Property Management Software
Property management software is also an industry-specific program. It is used by landlords to manage rental properties. Though they may have some overlaps, HOA management and property management also have unique responsibilities. As such, property management software may not have all the features that you will need to manage an HOA — and vice versa.
What Are the Features of HOA Software?
No two HOA software are exactly alike. Nevertheless, here are essential features that you should look for when choosing the best software for your community.
Accounting and Bookkeeping
Managing finances is one of the most difficult responsibilities of the board. As such, many look for HOA accounting software that can make financial tracking easier and less tedious. With a digital ledger, board members can easily keep track of money coming in and out of HOA accounts.
With HOA software, the board can send announcements and updates to the entire community. The program also keeps track of all personal communications with homeowners so you won’t have to keep rehashing the same details over and over. In addition, some software options offer a forum or community board where homeowners can communicate with each other. These communication features are essential in creating a sense of community.
One of the best features of HOA software is robust financial reporting capabilities. You can create comprehensive and detailed reports that help keep track of the HOA’s finances. Financial reports are also customizable so you can make them as simple and easy to understand. This will help board members make accurate and sound financial decisions for the HOA.
Board members can use association management software to keep track of maintenance requests, work orders, and vendor payments. The association can also create maintenance schedules and to-do lists for each service provider.
HOA or condo association software may include an online portal for the members of the community. Homeowners can log into their account to view assessment due dates, payment history, communication history, architectural review applications, amenity bookings, service requests, and events calendars. They can also conveniently access HOA reports and documents instead of having to request them from the management office.
Board Member Portal
HOA software may come with a separate HOA portal for board members. It comes with password protection to ensure that confidential or sensitive documents such as annual budgets, financial reports, delinquency reports, incident reports, and reserve studies are safe and secure. This ensures transparency among board members and can help them work more efficiently.
In a large community, software can be essential in keeping track of homeowners’ violations. With an all-in-one platform, each violation can be seamlessly integrated into homeowners’ accounts and the accounts receivable sheet. Automation also enables the software to send notices or emails to offending homeowners. Thus, the board can save a lot of time since they don’t have to manually perform these tasks one by one.
Should You Use Free Software?
HOA software is an investment. Associations that are hesitant to spend that kind of money may consider free software instead. Is this the right move for your HOA? Here are the pros and cons of free software.
Benefits of Free HOA Software
- Little or No Cost: Free software is an attractive option for communities that have limited budgets. It allows them to experience the benefits of HOA software without having to shell out a lot of money.
- Basic Features: Free software may not have extensive features, but it can still help associations perform essential administrative and management tasks.
- Free Trial: Most software options have free trials so that you can experience the features first-hand. If you are stuck between two software options, you can use the free trial to determine which one is better suited for your community.
Drawbacks of Free HOA Software
- Limited Features: Free software won’t have the same features as paid versions. It will perform basic functions but you won’t be able to access more complex features such as analytics, forecasting, and financial reporting.
- Intrusive Ads: Free software may offer full features but with ads. These are not only intrusive and annoying but they also bring up security concerns. Make sure to read the fine print because some companies may be selling your data to third-party marketers.
- Lack of Support: Don’t expect frequent updates — or if any at all — with free software. Since the software company isn’t making money from the program, it also won’t have the funds or resources to continuously update and improve the program.
Why Consider Paid HOA Software?
Going for the full, paid version is still the best option for associations. Contrary to popular belief, HOA software is not that expensive. Most companies offer different packages at different price points. It’s up to you to find the software that meets your community’s specific needs and budget. You can also start with the basic package then move up to higher tiers over time. This way, you won’t be spending more money than is currently needed.
Investing in HOA Software Is a Commitment to Your Growth and Success
There’s no doubt about it; HOA software can make board members’ lives easier. With essential features and automation capabilities, the association can save valuable time, money, and effort. Board members become more efficient and thus, are better able to serve the community. Though purchasing software may be a long-term financial commitment, it brings with it amazing benefits that can serve as the impetus for your community’s growth and success.
Interested in self-managed HOA software? Feel free to reach out to the Condo Manager team today! We have created comprehensive and innovative software solutions designed to meet the needs of HOAs and COAs. Call us at (800) 626-1267 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free demo.
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