Running an apartment or condominium complex without software used to be the norm for property managers. Every unit was managed with piles of paperwork that had to be processed every day. Currently, managers can easily run several properties at once with HOA management software. This software varies widely in price because of various features that can be added on as necessary. If you’re in the market for new property software, consider some of the top features that are necessary to run a successful complex.
1. Fits the Mold
One of the most important features of HOA management software is versatility. Every property has a different number of units. You might have only four apartments to oversee, or you manage over 100 units at a time. The condo software must have the ability to be altered and adjusted for size needs. You don’t need certain functions for a small property compared to a large one. In fact, the software might be too complicated if it can’t be adjusted to fit your property needs.
Sorting options and organizational features should be chosen by the management company as they adjust the software to their particular needs. Every property owner uses a different strategy for overall management. Leased, rented or owned units could be managed in slightly different ways so the software should allow managers to manipulate the data as necessary. Ideally, the software will have a simple interface, so that daily operations are streamlined with any volume of calls or concerns.
2. Tracks the Units
Managing a successful property means that each unit is tracked for its payments and maintenance needs. With the click of a computer mouse, property managers can access rent and separate HOA payments. They should be able to sort the payments by month, check number or other category. If any tenants have a question about their unit, the software allows the managers to see the account in an instant. In most cases, the account summary should take up the entire computer screen. Excessive scrolling or clicking through various pages takes too much time when only basic information is needed. These pages are usually reserved for archived information.
Tracking the units also includes maintenance records. Managers will know when a unit has a new paint job or carpeting project to be completed. Water heater, roof and plumbing systems can also be tracked for their proper maintenance schedules. All of this information gives property owners a chance to stay on top of critical service schedules. Neglecting major household systems will only cost management more in repairs over the course of time.
3. Prints Intricate Reports
Your chosen management software should have reporting capabilities for nearly every data input. Print reports on one unit’s payment history, and compare those payments to the property’s value. Explore your property even further by analyzing taxes compared to the units being currently rented. All of this information can be sorted, categorized and printed for further evaluation. You can easily manage the property when you see a steady return for your investment. If the property is actually losing money every month, it’s time to explore different management routes that put you back into the green.
Deposits going in and out of the HOA accounts must be allocated and documented appropriately too. Property managers must pay out certain community charges, such as landscaping invoices, on a regular basis. Printed reports tell the managers when charges are due and in specific amounts. Special assessments paid by each unit can also be tracked and printed out. For a roof replacement covering the entire condominium complex, each unit will normally pay for their share of the costs. Keep track of this information with easy-to-read graphs and charts.
4. Provides Access to Accounts and Mobile Payments for Tenants
Property managers are usually concerned with internal control of an entire complex, but top HOA software products also provide a login process for tenants. They can look up their individual units and verify if a monthly payment has posted. When tenants can access their own information, property management offices benefit as well. The influx of phone calls regarding account concerns will drastically drop in volume. Management teams can concentrate on other concerns and contribute to a better complex community.
These software access points shouldn’t be limited to traditional computers either. Tenants should be able to log in from any mobile device too. Smartphones and tablets might have apps or applications on their screens so that tenants can log in from almost any location. With mobile access, tenants can be immediately notified of community events or notifications. If the power goes out at the complex, a message can be instantly sent through the software to everyone affected.
5. Interfaces Easily with New Property Staff
One feature that’s often overlooked by property managers is software training and ease of use. The property software shouldn’t be extremely difficult to understand. Some training must be involved as a management company initially purchases the software, but future use should be relatively intuitive. The home page should have clear labels, drop-down boxes and other clickable items that contribute to a clean appearance. Managers can click on nearly any item and still have a simple way to escape the page if it’s a mistaken move.
Brand-new employees will only need a short training period when they’re using quality HOA software. A system that is too complicated will cost the management company a lot of time. That complicated internal system will often translate to a difficult user interface for tenants. Ideally, managers should practice with the software as an internal tool and as a tenant. They’ll be able to see the software’s overall benefits and drawbacks with this strategy.
Condo software can be an investment so you should carefully research each product before making a final purchase decision. If the HOA software doesn’t have every feature you require, speak to the manufacturer or simply look for another product. When you have all of the features that you need, the property can almost manage itself.