Large homeowners associations have a reputation for being professional, organized, and well maintained. Members are required to follow firm processes and procedures, but in return, their property values remain high and their expectations are met.
Those responsible for managing large community associations understand all of the resources required to keep everything running smoothly. Systems, rules, and constant communication are all necessary when it comes to property (and people) management.
Managers and boards often turn to software programs or apps to help them stay on top of everything. Technology can make a real difference for busy community leaders. Even basic Excel spreadsheets have proven to be more effective than paper records.
Technology is still a developing solution in the HOA management industry, but it’s practically essential for big communities. Unlike people, software and apps are ready to work 24/7. Digitizing processes also makes it easier to keep records, eliminate paper, and create more collaborative workflows.
The right software solution can:
- Improve output and productivity
- Reduce human errors
- Assist with long-term record keeping, data analysis, and forecasting
- Improve transparency for boards and members
- Increase owner satisfaction
- Help managers with time management
But, if a team is using four, five, or even six different systems to manage different tasks, then efficiency levels are compromised and room for error increases.
If you’re in this situation, and are finding it is unnecessarily burdensome to have to switch from one platform to another, you might be happy to learn that there is a way to make things simpler.
Work smarter, not harder
Most of the time, the best way to address complex management challenges is to do less, not more.Start by selecting the most critical items/responsibilities that will have the biggest impact on your community’s success, and focus on doing them better (think budgeting, communications and compliance). That leaves a lot of little things which still need to get done. Here’s where a good software system like Condo Control can help. It has multiple features that assist with automation and organization. But more importantly, practically everything from violation tracking to e-voting can be done from this one platform. There is a console for security, a communication tool, a survey feature, a vendor management portal, and much more. Admins can see everything from one system, get reports about dozens of different things, and even customize some workflows and permissions to better suit their needs. Because they don’t have to log in and log out of multiple accounts, they can work with fewer annoying interruptions and save time too.
When implementing any type of HOA management system, it’s important to give everyone access to the items they need, but also limit permissions and access when appropriate. For example, you would never want a member who is not a part of the board to be able to change settings or view sensitive material. On the other hand, you do need to make sure that authorized individuals can make approval decisions and status updates. It’s all about making a seamless workflow that enables members to collaborate and achieve community goals. After all, it’s impossible to do everything by yourself.
Speaking of goals, it’s easier to assess the effectiveness of a management system (and if it’s making your life easier) if your association has established goals. For example, maybe you want to issue violations within one business day of an infraction being reported. Or perhaps you want to increase amenity usage by 5%. A software system can help you reach many goals, and a comprehensive system will even provide you with community data.
Use numbers to your advantage
Numbers are valuable because they can tell you an analytical story. Good data provides indisputable evidence. It also allows you to monitor the health of important systems (such as common elements or your reserve fund) within the association. By utilizing data for quality monitoring, HOAs can respond to challenges before they become big problems.
Numbers can be a bit intimidating, especially if you’re collecting data in a community with thousands of people. But, several HOA management systems will collect and compile data as people use the system. When you’re ready to run a report, it only requires a few clicks. Here are a few things you can learn from these types of reports:
Facts – Admins can view and compare numbers, such as how many emails were opened by owners in May, or how many guests parked on the premises over the weekend.
Insights – Admins could analyze an entire year’s worth of maintenance requests and identify which months most requests are submitted. If the trend remains the same after two or three years, management can seek to understand what’s contributing to the spike.
Future plans – After assessing amenity usage, you see that the clubhouse is always booked around the summer holidays. Admins could shorten the time limit for bookings during those times so that more people have a chance to use it – or increase the price on holidays since someone is guaranteed to want it.
When numbers are presented in a simple and digestible format, it’s easier to take full advantage of them.
Implement a system that caters to your processes
Most of us are hesitant to embrace change because it’s hard to learn new things. Even if your current systems aren’t perfect, the status quo is less uncertain than an unfamiliar system. But, a good program will allow for flexibility and customization.
Top HOA management platforms build solutions that cater to individual needs and requirements as opposed to forcing staff and board members to get used to the system’s way of doing things. That means the association is able to maintain familiar processes and procedures. For example, if you require owners to sign a “terms and conditions” document before they can use the clubhouse, you can still make that a requirement on Condo Control. It’s just easier because they can consent to the requirements online if the board agrees that online signatures are okay.
An HOA’s management system should work for the people it serves – not the other way around. Since Condo Control was designed based on real feedback from real customers, the features always provide real value to users. The system takes into consideration that all kinds of people will be using the platform, which is why it is so easy to use.
When it comes to HOA management systems, large associations are encouraged to find one robust solution that can effectively streamline operations and reduce manual work for boards and property managers. Simplicity is key, but the program needs to address your community’s unique needs and requirements.
Though it may seem completely counterintuitive to do less when you really want (and need) to do more, that’s often a winning play. The best solutions are usually the most obvious ones. The more you can cut complexity, the happier and more efficient you’ll be. That goes for your entire community, too.