Streamlining Architectural Reviews Using Condo Control

The Village at Oxford Greens HOA

Location: Oxford, Connecticut
 

Executive Summary

Janet Van Tassell is the onsite Property Manager for The Village at Oxford Greens Homeowners Association. The Connecticut HOA is an active 55+ community. The Village at Oxford Greens had a “homemade” software system, but the solution ended up creating more work for Janet and her team, as well as the owners. They decided to use Condo Control to streamline data entry and improve operations, including the architectural review process.

About Janet

Janet cares for The Village at Oxford Greens community. She facilitates communications between the board and homeowners. She is also responsible for ensuring the property is safe and clean. Janet likes to keep detailed records, but the old system she was using didn’t cater to her needs. She ended up entering information on Excel spreadsheets instead. 

 

Background Information

The Village at Oxford Greens is a very active 55+ community with lots of activities onsite and offsite. It consists of 341 standalone homes. More than 1/3 of owners snowbird during the colder months. Owners are responsible for maintaining their homes, but they expect the management team to clean up the property after a big wind or snowstorm. The HOA regularly encounters violent weather, but owners were hesitant to submit maintenance requests using the old system.

Challenges

The Village at Oxford Greens was using tedious, time-consuming methods for communications and record-keeping. Janet and her team were working harder than they had to, and they weren’t happy with the pace at which items were processed and closed. 

 

Manual request entry

“I couldn’t get everything in the system. I was using Excel spreadsheets as it was much quicker to enter things.” After one destructive tornado passed through the area, Janet said there was significant tree damage. Residents were submitting a high volume of requests to get the debris cleared away, and since most were not using the software system, Janet had to enter the information herself. It was very difficult to keep up. 

Repetitive documentation

On a similar note, Janet didn’t like how long it took her to document maintenance items or updates. “If I was out on the property and saw some things that needed to be taken care of, I’d have to come back and use my owner list to look up the full names, addresses and phone numbers of the residents. It was time-consuming to enter.”

 

Multi-round process for sending out communications

Janet and her team were using email to send out notices and updates, but she would still have to send out the same message five or six times. Most programs don’t allow senders to enter 300+ email addresses at the same time.

 

No easy way to pull reports

When trying to figure out what had been approved or closed, and what was still pending, Janet had to do everything by herself. Data was not organized in a way that was useful to her.

 

The Solution

Janet spoke with her boss about finding a solution that would automate some of these repetitive processes and help her and her team be more productive. After doing some research and seeing what was available, Condo Control stood out as the best option.

 

A system for architectural reviews and requests

 When Covid hit, owners couldn’t travel. As a result, more people ended up working on their homes and putting money into improvements. Condo Control’s architectural review/variance request feature really came in handy for the HOA. Owners use the new system to submit requests, and Janet could get back to them with a response much more quickly.

“There’s one board member who oversees this, and she’ll advise back to the other board members and then they vote via email within the system. Once they have enough votes, I notify the owner, then we mark it in the system and then we close it out.”

A similar process has been implemented for maintenance requests. Janet doesn’t have to use Excel sheets anymore to log and track requests.

The pie chart above shows what types of requests were submitted throughout 2021, as well as the total number of requests submitted in that year.

Improved communications and processes

The Village at Oxford Greens’ staff can now reach all owners with a single announcement. They simply select who needs to receive the notice, write the message, and hit send.

The image above details how many announcements were sent between April 2021 and March 2022.

Janet can also work more effectively when she’s doing property inspections. If she needs to enter something under a home, she simply types in the address and all of the other owner information auto-populates. “Not having to pull out an ownership list and enter all of the information over and over again – that was a huge time saver.”

 

Ready-made reports

The reports feature has been a tremendous help to Janet. Now she can always get up-to-date information about how many requests are open, pending, and closed. The system automatically creates the reports, and many can be customized.

Support for owners

The majority of owners use Condo Control on a regular basis, and have no problems using the system. However, when they do have a question or need help, they can call Condo Control and get assistance from someone who works for the company. Janet appreciates that there is a dedicated support team available to all HOA members.

 

Results

The Village at Oxford Greens is very happy that they decided to try Condo Control. Many of the manual processes that Janet and her team used to complete have now been automated and streamlined. Residents are also using the system and doing more for themselves.

Janet

  • Gets more work done in less time
  • Has a better idea of what’s going on in her community
  • Is better equipped to deal with the aftermath of a bad storm
  • Has more time to focus on bigger tasks and projects

Board

  • Has a centralized place for documents and data
  • Can better serve their community and process requests in less time
  • Is more productive and collaborative

Residents

  • Can do more for themselves, including submit architectural reviews/variance requests
  • Have access to the Condo Control support team
  • Hear back from the board/management sooner

 

Final Words

The system’s definitely helped me in my position here. It has speeded up so many things and made things so much easier – automating it, streamlining it. It definitely helps things.”