HOA website; Does your community need one?

Date Published : Jan-31-2020

Written By : Phillip Livingston


Back in the day, when a homeowner was unhappy about something they would type up letters, knock on doors, and hand-deliver their notes to board members. They might even post fliers in the building elevators, or slide them under owners’ doors.
HOA board members would have to physically collect dues, and communicate through physical bulletin boards and newsletters. Thanks to technology, those days are long gone.
Now, homeowner’s associations can use community websites for pretty much anything, including due collection, meeting organization, maintenance, and security management! Most websites even come with dedicated features to facilitate smoother and faster communication between residents and board members.
If you’re one of the few who still doubt the power of a homeowner’s association website, you’re missing out. After reading the following on why every HOA community needs a website, you may want to reconsider your position.

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HOA Website Uses by the Board and Residents

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Of the many responsibilities that must be handled by the HOA, communication has to be the most paramount. That’s because, without proper communication, it’s practically impossible for the association to maintain a harmonious community where members work together with the HOA.
Homeowners need the reassurance of knowing that the HOA board is transparent with them and that their opinions and thoughts matter and the HOA needs to facilitate that trust and reassurance by maintaining constant communication.
An HOA website allows you to automate and simplify communication so that members never feel neglected or out of the loop. But, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many practical applications of an HOA website that can benefit an association board.
An HOA website opens a world of convenience that allows you to complete most of your duties with ease. That includes:

  • Sharing the association’s governing documents, financials and meeting minutes
  • Sharing information on community amenities and facilities
  • Distributing important announcements
  • Sharing information about upcoming events and allowing residents to get involved in the planning process. For instance, you could share a survey on which activities the communities would prefer on the next block party.
  • Create a password-protected member’s area where you can safely share private documents.
  • Use online voting features on the website to pass document amendments
  • Getting rid of duplicate work
  • Reducing mailing and printing costs
  • No need to carry minute books and document files to meetings. Simply pull up the information from the website through your tablet or laptop.
  • The board can also use the HOA website to take care of ARC requests and assessments
  • Collect fees and dues online

HOA members can also benefit a great deal from an HOA website.

  • Residents can pay dues online
  • It minimizes postage costs
  • Allows residents to make facility reservations from anywhere using a smartphone or tablet.
  • Residents can send maintenance requests without collecting and mailing a physical form document.
  • A community website can also be a conduit of information to keep residents abreast of community changes and facilities.

Most importantly, an HOA community website can help to improve safety, communications, accessibility, and interactivity among residents.

 

Benefits of an HOA Website

 

–           HOA community websites build stronger community relationships

Planned community developments are created for the purpose of fostering a sense of community among its residents. It’s about more than just sharing the same amenities and space. It’s about participating in community events, getting to know your neighbors and creating a sense of belonging.
Unfortunately, much of that has been lost due to city life and the advent of technology. But it is with that same technology that the HOA website can help to bring back that community spirit.
Through the HOA website, the board of directors can create open forums that encourage transparent communication between residents and the board.
The board can also use the website to share information on community events, in a bid to encourage engagement and get people excited. When residents are well-informed about the goings-on in their community, they cannot help but participate.
Something as simple as sending weekly reminders of upcoming events can improve turnout and minimize printing costs significantly.
The HOA website can also serve as a digital meeting place for residents and it has been shown to foster positive and healthy community relationships. That’s because residents who wouldn’t normally run into one another around the neighborhood, get an opportunity to interact and share their interests, things they like about the community, or ideas they may have about its improvement. Taken together, all of these factors can do wonders to strengthen the community.
information that’s important to the community, thus helping to strengthen that sense of community.

 

–           To simplify communication

HOA websites have come a long way since the days of the dot com boom. Nowadays, you can customize your community website to include all sorts of nuanced communication features.
For instance, the Condo Control Central community website allows you to create login and registration buttons for residents to access the private section of the website where you’d post all the community’s pertinent information.
This feature alone has freed a lot of HOA budgets from being spent on traditional letters, fliers and bulletin boards.
You can even customize your HOA website to include a “review section” where residents would share their feedback and experiences with local contractors that may have helped them with repairs and maintenance.

 

           Creates an informed community

Let’s face it; most people don’t really have the time or inclination to read the stack of papers that are their HOA documents. As a result, most residents are gravely uninformed about their own community and the values that guide it.
However, it has been shown that people are more inclined to read digital documents that are available in a mobile device, as opposed to documents that come in physical form. That’s why it’s so important for an HOA to make sure that it has a mobile-optimized website that makes community documents and information accessible from the palm of one’s hand.
Keep in mind that well-informed residents are much more likely to participate and be interested in community affairs than those who aren’t.

 

–           It’s a great way to advertise your community association

Besides providing useful information to your community, an HOA website can expand your marketing efforts beyond just fliers, posters, and billboards. If you want to attract quality residents to your community, you need to make sure that your website accurately depicts what you have to offer such quality prospects.
Well-curated content can teach people a lot about your community without them having to actually visit your office.
People might be searching Google for a home in your area right now. Make your website stand out through aesthetically pleasing design and relevant information.

 

–           Enables you to control the narrative

An HOA website allows you to control how people perceive your community. In that sense, your website is a reflection of the community itself. If your website looks modern and well-maintained, then that’s the impression people will get about your community as a whole.

 

–           Save time and costs

Because an HOA website is active 24/7, 365, it offers a reliable resource that community members can turn to when they need clarity on any subject. An HOA board can save a considerable amount of time just by sharing important updates and documents with residents because it can minimize the inquiries and incidents that occur.

 

–           It’s convenient

Most HOA websites feature an online payment system that adds a level of convenience to community living. Residents can pay their dues at any time using credit cards, debit cards and automatic EFT transfers on the web page.
Just make sure your website hosting provider offers powerful encryption technology to secure payments and information from cyber-threats.

 

–           Provides safe information storage

Another benefit of sending and receiving information electronically is that you can store it on a cloud interface so that it’s immediately available to everyone.
Residents can access, download and store the information on their own devices for easy access. And it’s much more convenient and reliable than keeping physical information files that might get lost or destroyed due to water or fire damage.

 

           Offers access to important services 

The HOA may use a community website to provide links to things like local government websites, utility companies, recreation centers, emergency contact information, etc. You can, in essence, create liaisons between the community and local services simply by posting that information on the website.

 

Conclusion

As you can see, a community website is a great way to organize information and automate most of the HOA’s responsibilities. It can also act as a central location through which to disseminate information and build relationships between residents and board members.
It gives the board an opportunity to post information online about HOA initiatives, thus keeping the residents abreast of all board actions, including minutes, agendas and changes to legislation.
Of course, HOA managers and boards can do a lot more with customized websites, including maintenance and safety management, collecting dues, security management and organizing association meetings, to name but a few.
Due to these and other factors, a community website is essential.

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