6 Proven Tips to Lower HOA Fees and Keep Your Budget in Check

Lower HOA Fees: 6 Tips for Property Managers to Save Money

As a property manager in a homeowners association (HOA), you know how challenging it can be to keep the budget in check. One of the most significant expenses that HOAs face is the cost of maintaining common areas, such as landscaping, pools, and clubhouses. These costs are typically covered by HOA fees paid by homeowners, but high fees can be a source of stress for both you and your residents.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your HOA fees without sacrificing the quality of your community. In this blog post, we’ll share six proven tips for reducing your HOA fees and keeping your budget in check. From negotiating with vendors to making energy-efficient upgrades, these tips are sure to help you save money and improve the financial health of your HOA. So let’s get started!

Tip #1: Conduct a Budget Audit

Regularly reviewing your HOA’s budget is crucial to keeping costs under control. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Identify areas of overspending – By reviewing your budget regularly, you can identify areas where your HOA is overspending. This might include non-essential services or unnecessary upgrades.
  2. Find opportunities for cost-cutting – Once you’ve identified areas of overspending, you can look for ways to cut costs. This might include reducing non-essential services, finding more cost-effective solutions, or negotiating with vendors.
  3. Plan for future expenses – By reviewing your budget regularly, you can plan for future expenses and avoid surprises. This might include planning for maintenance and repairs, as well as larger capital projects.

To conduct a budget audit, follow these steps:

  1. Review your budget line by line – Look at every expense in your budget and ask yourself if it’s necessary. Consider whether there are any areas where costs could be cut.
  2. Look for opportunities to save money – Once you’ve identified areas of overspending, look for ways to save money. This might include negotiating with vendors or finding more cost-effective solutions.
  3. Prioritize expenses – Prioritize essential expenses, such as maintenance and repairs, over non-essential services. This will help you allocate your budget more effectively.

By conducting a budget audit and identifying areas where costs can be cut, you can keep your HOA budget under control and ensure that your community is getting the most value for its money.

Tip #2: Negotiate with Vendors

One of the biggest expenses for an HOA can be maintenance and repairs. But did you know that you can often negotiate with vendors to lower their costs and save your HOA money? Here are some tips for negotiating with vendors:

  1. Get multiple quotes – Before you choose a vendor, get quotes from multiple providers. This will give you a better sense of what the market rates are, and you can use that information to negotiate.
  2. Ask for a discount – Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount! Many vendors are willing to offer a discount if you sign a long-term contract or pay in advance.
  3. Bundle services – If you need multiple services from a vendor (such as landscaping and snow removal), ask if they’ll offer a discount for bundling services.
  4. Consider DIY solutions – Depending on the scope of the project, you may be able to handle some maintenance and repairs in-house. This can save your HOA money on labor costs.
  5. Research alternative vendors – If you’re not happy with the prices you’re getting from your current vendors, research alternative providers in your area. You may find a vendor who offers better rates or more flexible pricing options.

By negotiating with vendors and exploring alternative options, you can save your HOA money on maintenance and repair costs. Don’t be afraid to advocate for your community and find the best solutions for your budget.

Tip #3: Reduce Energy Costs

Reducing energy costs is a great way to save money for your HOA and reduce your community’s carbon footprint. Here are some tips for reducing energy costs in common areas:

  1. Switch to LED lighting – LED lighting is more energy-efficient than traditional lighting and can save your HOA money on electricity costs.
  2. Install motion sensors – Motion sensors can be installed in common areas to automatically turn lights on and off, reducing energy waste.
  3. Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances – Energy-efficient appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines, can save your HOA money on electricity costs over time.
  4. Use programmable thermostats – Programmable thermostats can be used to automatically adjust the temperature in common areas, reducing heating and cooling costs.

To encourage residents to make energy-efficient upgrades in their own homes, consider the following tips:

  1. Host educational events – Host events to educate residents about energy-efficient upgrades they can make in their own homes. This might include information on energy-efficient lighting, appliances, and insulation.
  2. Offer incentives – Offer incentives to residents who make energy-efficient upgrades, such as a discount on their HOA fees or a gift card to a home improvement store.
  3. Provide resources – Provide residents with resources on energy-efficient upgrades, such as a list of recommended contractors or a guide to energy-efficient products.

By reducing energy costs in common areas and encouraging residents to make energy-efficient upgrades in their own homes, your HOA can save money and reduce its impact on the environment.

Tip #4: Find Affordable Insurance

Insurance can be a significant expense for your HOA, but there are ways to find more affordable options. Here are some tips for finding affordable insurance for your HOA:

  1. Shop around – Don’t just settle for the first insurance provider you find. Shop around and compare rates from multiple providers to find the most affordable option.
  2. Consider bundled policies – Many insurance providers offer bundled policies, which can be a more affordable option than purchasing individual policies.
  3. Look for discounts – Some insurance providers offer discounts for HOAs with a good claims history or for installing safety features, such as fire alarms and sprinkler systems.
  4. Review your policy regularly – Regularly review your insurance policy to ensure that you’re getting the coverage you need at a reasonable price.

To negotiate lower rates with insurance providers, consider the following tips:

  1. Build a relationship – Building a good relationship with your insurance provider can help you negotiate lower rates over time.
  2. Ask for discounts – Don’t be afraid to ask your insurance provider for discounts. This might include discounts for bundling policies or for installing safety features.
  3. Consider raising your deductible – Raising your deductible can lower your insurance premium, but be sure to weigh the risks and benefits before making this decision.
  4. Work with a broker – A broker can help you negotiate with insurance providers and find the most affordable options for your HOA.

By finding more affordable insurance options and working with insurance providers to negotiate lower rates, your HOA can save money on insurance costs and ensure that it has the coverage it needs.

Tip #5: Improve Communication

Inefficient communication among residents, property managers, and the HOA board can lead to higher costs for your HOA. For example, if residents aren’t aware of maintenance schedules, they might call in unnecessary maintenance requests, leading to higher costs for the HOA. Here are some tips for improving communication in your HOA:

  1. Use software to streamline communication – Using HOA software like Smartwebs can help improve communication among residents, property managers, and the HOA board. The platform allows for seamless communication between all parties and ensures that everyone is on the same page.
  2. Send regular updates – Send regular updates to residents on maintenance schedules, community events, and important HOA updates. This will help keep everyone informed and reduce the likelihood of unnecessary maintenance requests.
  3. Encourage feedback – Encourage feedback from residents on how to improve communication and community life. This will help build a stronger sense of community and ensure that everyone feels heard.
  4. Hold community meetings – Hold community meetings regularly to update residents on HOA business and to provide a forum for residents to voice their concerns and ask questions.

Using Smartwebs HOA software as part of your communication strategy can help streamline communication and reduce the likelihood of miscommunication and unnecessary costs.

By improving communication among residents, property managers, and the HOA board, your HOA can reduce costs and create a more cohesive and efficient community.

Tip #6: Consider Self-Managing Your Community

Professional management can be expensive for your HOA. If you’re looking to reduce costs, consider self-managing your community. Self-managing your HOA can offer several benefits, including:

  1. Cost savings – Self-managing your HOA can save your community money on professional management fees.
  2. Increased control – Self-managing your HOA gives you greater control over the management of your community.
  3. Greater community involvement – Self-managing your HOA can lead to greater community involvement, as residents take on more responsibility in the management of the community.
  4. Increased transparency – Self-managing your HOA can lead to increased transparency in the management of the community.

If you’re considering self-managing your HOA, here are some tips for transitioning from professional management to self-management:

  1. Evaluate the feasibility – Evaluate the feasibility of self-management for your community. Consider the size of your community, the level of involvement of residents, and the availability of resources.
  2. Establish an HOA board – Establish an HOA board to oversee the management of your community.
  3. Create a plan – Create a plan for managing your community, including how to handle maintenance requests, collect dues, and enforce community rules.
  4. Train board members – Train board members on their responsibilities and how to effectively manage the community.
  5. Seek outside help – Consider seeking outside help from legal, financial, and software professionals to ensure that your community is properly managed.

By self-managing your HOA, your community can save money on professional management fees and create a more involved and transparent community. However, self-management requires careful planning and effective communication among board members and residents.


By implementing these six tips, you can take control of your HOA budget and potentially reduce your HOA fees. Negotiating with vendors, conducting a budget audit, reducing energy costs, finding more affordable insurance options, improving communication, and considering self-management are all effective ways to save money and create a more efficient and transparent community.

As a property manager, it’s essential to prioritize budget management and take steps to reduce costs where possible. Encourage board members and residents to get involved in the budgeting process. Consider implementing these tips to improve the financial health of your HOA.

Remember, effective communication and careful planning are crucial to successful budget management. By working together and taking control of your HOA budget, you can create a thriving and financially sustainable community.



Common HOA Accounting Challenges & How to Solve Them

Common HOA Accounting Challenges

Some of the most common HOA Accounting challenges can be avoidable.  What accounting and reporting procedures does your property management company use to effectively remain compliant?

One of the most difficult and time-consuming workflows in community association management is accounting. Since it affects practically every area of your organization, from owner retention to upkeep, it is also the most important. As a property manager, you cannot afford to make mistakes in your accounting.

We’ve listed some of the most typical accounting problems that arise in property management below, along with some helpful solutions, such as HOA accounting software

How do you manage dues collection?

Homeowner assessments (HOA dues) provide the primary source of funding for a homeowners’ association’s budget. Homeowners’ associations (HOAs) are able to pay their bills on time when residents pay their dues on time. Supplies are bought, vendors are paid, and reserve funds are added to support upcoming initiatives.

Unpaid dues can result in late fees and a bad reputation for your community management company. Homeowners associations must take dues collection seriously in order to maintain successful management of the property. Even if it means hiring a collection agency, attorneys, or in some cases, an HOA-held lien on a property.

Solution: Offer online payment processing

One way to maintain a positive relationship with your homeowners and ensure timely payments are made is to offer a flexible payment system to homeowners. Use an HOA website portal for simple online payment options. This provides homeowners the freedom to pay dues whenever they want using a credit card, ACH, eCheck, or another payment method.

By automating interactions and fee assessments with the homeowner, the association management software from Smartwebs can save your management company’s accounting team considerable time. To provide real-time data and updates on past-due accounts.

Reconciling books (Bank reconciliation)

A bank reconciliation process compares the balance displayed in the HOA’s financial records to the balance shown on the account’s bank statement for the same account. If there is a difference between these two numbers, reconciliation can reveal any mistakes or omissions that may have occurred.

A number of property managers still use limited systems like QuickBooks and Excel spreadsheets to reconcile accounts. As Quickbooks was not built for HOAs, this can often lead to a lot of double data entry, confusion, and inconsistencies which can require more time spent to resolve. This makes reporting a very manual and challenging process.

Solution: Automate reconciliation with an all-in-one property management platform.

Your HOA property management software should offer robust accounting features such as real-time bank transactions and reports. When choosing the best HOA software solution, make sure that it imports bank transactions daily. With the right community association software, you can maintain automated reports of your bank activity, and handle transaction matching in one easy-to-do step. All of these things can spare your staff the time-consuming task of detangling errors at the conclusion of each accounting cycle.

1099’s and year-end close

One of the tasks most people dread all year long is preparing and sending 1099’s. It’s a time-consuming process that can easily turn nightmarish if you don’t have the right tools in place to simplify the process. If you don’t submit your 1099’s on time, you could face steep penalties with the IRS and expose your HOA to audits.

Solution: Utilize Automation

Automation eliminates the risk associated with manual data entry errors while also making the process of 1099s and closing books considerably simpler. The ability to automatically generate 1099s and supporting reports is very valuable since it saves time and guarantees accurate transparency to owners.

When all of your vendors’ and owners’ information is stored in the system, processing 1099s becomes simpler and quicker. Ensure that the 1099-NEC form, which is now necessary to report on vendor earnings, is supported.

Processing duplicate bills 

It’s more common than you may think, a vendor sends a duplicate bill because they didn’t receive payment yet, or they forgot they already sent it in. To make it even simpler to unintentionally process payment twice, they might even alter the invoice date or invoice number.

Solution: Online vendor management system

An important and overlooked aspect of property management accounting is their software’s work-orders capabilities. When your accounting and work orders management are all in one platform you simplify the management process and leave little room for these accounting errors.

Property maintenance shouldn’t mean filling out so much paperwork and then trying to figure out when the work will be started and completed and payments made. With the right HOA software, homeowners can submit requests online and receive an automated email notifying them that it’s being processed. Staff will review the request and assign a vendor who will be notified via email, text, or voice message. Easily track work orders with our unique link so you always know the status. Eliminating the manual process and paper trail, helps you stay on track and eliminate errors such as processing duplicate bills.

Lack of Insight Into Financial Health

Last but not least, it can be quite difficult to gain an understanding of an association’s financial situation. Especially when data is stored in several locations and there isn’t a consistent view. Employing diverse systems can make it more difficult to obtain a complete picture of your association’s finances. Board members may not trust your association or be unsatisfied if your finances are unclear or deficient. Additionally, limited accounting solutions typically don’t provide the ability to generate specialized reports. It becomes difficult for you to clarify matters to your boards and give them the authority to act on behalf of the neighborhood.

Solution: One Platform

Consider adopting just one solution that has every workflow within your business on one platform. From accounting and reporting to violations and work orders. Avoid duplication or manual entry and have immediate access to your finances. Integrate your association’s financials with the rest of your business processes in a single, cloud-based system.

Streamline your accounting and reporting procedures, save time, and make room for expansion with a system like Smartwebs. Easily handle all of your association’s financial responsibilities with the help of Smartwebs. We’ve got you covered, with a variety of bank integrations, versatile accounting and reporting tools, and more.



How to conduct a pet screening: Sample Pet Screening Application


You as the property manager have the option of accepting renters who have pets or not. You may be unaware of what limitations you can impose on the animals you accept and what details you can demand upfront. Our pet screening application template gives you the details you require to have all of your queries addressed and have crucial discussions with your potential homeowners who own pets.

What is a Pet Screening?

This is essentially a background check on the pet of your homeowners that your association or a third-party agency conducts upon moving into the community. You get insight into the pet’s personality, temperament, and behavior through this approach. You may learn more from it than you would have from a single “in-person” encounter.

Inspecting a pet is just as crucial to enforcing your community’s CC&Rs. You may avoid potential property damage and future noise complaints by doing this.

Animals that go out of control can cause destruction to your community. Untrained animals may bark, upsetting the neighbors who may complain about the noise. These issues can be avoided with the use of pet screenings.

How do you conduct a pet screening?

First and foremost, you should always be upfront with potential homeowners about any pet policies you have (such as size or species limits) and any additional costs they would be liable for if they bring a pet with them. This will save both you and potential renters time when filing an application in the event that the pet is not one you accept or they refuse to pay the needed extra charge.

The primary goal of the pet screening procedure is to prevent a renter from moving in with a pet that might seriously destroy your property or endanger other tenants. Pets who are boisterous, unvaccinated, or that speak frequently might cause issues.

A later, more problematic issue including a notice to depart or an eviction may be avoided with a pet screening.

Pet Screening Application Questions

Making a pet screening application that gives a high-level summary of their pet is a smart place to start. To help you get started, consider these sample questions:

  • Pet Name
  • What is your pet’s weight?
  • How old is your pet?
  • How long have you owned this pet?
  • Proof of up-to-date vaccinations?
  • Has your pet ever bitten/attacked another person or animal?
  • Is your pet house-trained?
  • Does your pet have any behavior issues? This may include bared teeth, growling, raised hackles, or excessive barking.
  • Veterinarian contact information

Download the FREE pet screening application template:

Pet screening application template

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What are HOA Service Animal Policies?

The ADA states, only a dog trained individually to perform tasks or aid a disabled person is considered a service animal. No other animal, domestic or wild, even one that has been taught is regarded as a service animal. Service animals are expected to assist the disabled in all of their responsibilities.

Although the law solely refers to dogs as service animals, several states also classify other animals as such provided they meet the necessary criteria. Be careful to review the laws and guidelines in your state regarding service animals. You should include the necessary guidelines in your request for a pet screening.

In accordance with the Fair Housing Act, you may also ask for adequate documents to show that the individual in question indeed requires a service animal due to a handicap. Not all disabilities are physically obvious. Your prospective homeowners could occasionally have mental illness and need a service dog to help them in social circumstances. Service animals can remind them to take their prescriptions on schedule.

You can request a doctor’s note to confirm that they need a service animal in certain circumstances. What you may and cannot do in relation to service dogs is listed below:

Can do Cannot do
To verify the requirement for a service dog, ask the homeowner for a letter of support or recommendation on your pet application form. You cannot ask for a pet deposit. The homeowner still must comply with all other CC&Rs relating to pet ownership.
You can also obtain the service animal’s identity along with their medical data. Pictures or other forms of identification are acceptable forms of identification. You are not permitted to inquire about a tenant’s medical history or the certification of a service animal.


You can refuse a service animal if:

  • The pet is not legal according to your state’s law.
  • The homeowner refuses to take responsibility for the service animal, refusing to resolve noise complaints or clean up after the animal.
  • The pet is a threat to the other residents of the property.


HOA Budgeting Best Practices

HOA Budgeting Best Practices

The fiscal year is coming to a close for HOAs and community associations. Thus, HOA budgeting season is in swing. Some HOA boards may find it enjoyable to freshen up the data each year, but the majority find it to be rather stressful.

This article will discuss financial habits that every board should practice, a step-by-step budgeting process to ensure that funds are allocated effectively, and when hiring a property management business to help with the process makes sense.

Four Best HOA Budgeting Practices

These financial habits are great for every HOA or community board, regardless of your budget, the size of your area, or where you live.

#1: Reserve Funds

The best advice is occasionally the most basic. This is the situation. Make sure the board doesn’t overextend its resources and find itself in trouble. How? Don’t blow your entire budget.

Keeping money in reserve gives room for unforeseen events. HOA fees should account for all of these factors, which include the size of your community, the types of units on the property, and the services you provide. The precise amount varies widely based on these factors.

#2: Financial Reporting

It has never been simpler to maintain accurate documentation of board actions. Make sure the HOA board treasurer maintains thorough records of all financial transactions and extensive notes. While the budgeting and finances remain transparent, intelligible, and intact, detailed reporting makes it simple to rotate board members and bring in new ones.

#3: Auditing

You should always be ready when dealing with the IRS. You could be surprised by an audit when you least expect it. Make sure you’re prepared in case they ring your doorbell (knock on wood).

#4: Insurance

Every year, check your board’s insurance policy to make sure you have the protection you require. Always take precautions to protect the board and the area in case the worst happens.

HOA Budgeting: Step-by-Step

If the budgeting procedure for your HOA board is unclear or excessively complicated, start by simplifying it into four straightforward stages.

Create. To construct a preliminary draft, use the budget from past years—or, if your board is new, from similar communities. Usually, the HOA board treasurer is in charge of this duty.

Review. The board should gather together when the draft is finished to debate the budget, make any necessary adjustments, and approve the draft.

Prioritize. What are the priorities of the board? The board will determine what is reasonable for the fiscal year. Prioritize what needs to be done now above what can wait until later in the future.

Research. It is now time to conduct real-time price research once priorities have been established and the budget draft has been approved. Although the budget draft may provide pricing estimates, nothing is finalized before the board obtains quotes for the services and projects.

Hire. When your research is finished and the board gives its approval, it’s time to sign contracts with suppliers and other contractors.

Reserve. Finally, you’ll have some unspent money in your annual budget because you’ve undoubtedly been adhering to the first best practice outlined above. It’s time to allocate those funds to the following:

  • Deduct. In case of need, set aside a percentage of your reserves to cover insurance deductibles.
  • Legal. Reserve the remaining funds for any future legal costs.

Responsible budgeting is the first step to financial success.

Every HOA must prepare its budget. You must work as a team and take into account all potential elements when creating an HOA budget. You run the danger of becoming bankrupt if you don’t create a budget. A poor budget strategy may result in incorrectly estimated HOA dues, which may subsequently trigger special assessments or the depletion of reserves. Repairs and upkeep suffer from a lack of funds. You will soon see declining property values and dissatisfied homeowners.

Planning a budget is essential to an HOA’s performance, but it does not end there. Additionally, you will need to make sure that you adhere to the budget all year long.

Part of successful HOA management, financial reporting, and budgeting is using great community association software. Schedule a demo with our team and see how Smartwebs can help you manage your communities smarter. 

How to solve common homeowners association parking issues

HOA Parking Rules: How to solve common homeowners association parking issues

Homeowners associations frequently dispute the HOA parking rules and regulations. Understanding what regulations the HOA can and cannot enforce, however, is essential to finding solutions to parking-related problems.

Establishing and enforcing HOA parking rules and regulations

In order to maintain peace in the community, residents of HOAs are required to follow a number of regulations. However, one of the most contentious HOA laws frequently has to do with parking. It is easy to understand why given that there are around 273.6 million registered motor vehicles in the US.

The first thing your board must do when enforcing homeowners association parking regulations is consulting your governing documents. What your HOA parking regulations are should be spelled out in black and white in your CC&Rs. Your rules should be clear and unambiguous, with no opportunity for misunderstanding. When drafting your parking regulations, be sure to use precise wording so that residents are aware of what to expect.

It might be challenging to balance HOA parking while keeping residents happy. However, since the HOA was established to manage the neighborhood, you must make it clear to every member that these regulations are for the association’s benefit.

Common HOA Parking Rules

What standard parking regulations may a homeowners’ association have? Norms might differ from one group to another. However, HOAs often enforce restrictions regarding what kinds of cars can and can’t be parked inside the neighborhood, as well as where vehicles may park, how long they can remain there, and for how long they can park there.

  • Vehicle Restriction The majority of HOAs have particular regulations regarding the kinds of vehicles that may or may not be parked within the neighborhood. Most localities have restrictions on certain types of vehicles, including RVs, trailers, boats, and junk cars. This is carried out to uphold the property’s value and the visual attractiveness of the neighborhood.
  • Parking locations Most organizations have policies about owner-occupied parking spaces. These regulations are frequently established by the community’s CC&Rs and frequently change from community to community. Typically, homeowners must park in their garage or driveway. Each homeowner is entitled to a specific number of parking spaces. Most residences have a limit of two parking spaces.
  • Parking duration The last of the most typical types of parking regulations concerns how long residents may leave their vehicles in a certain location before they are forcibly removed. If the HOA has a common parking space, for instance, the board could let cars park there for a limit of 24 hours. The HOA may take action if the owner goes beyond that limit. Associations take this action to prevent an accumulation of abandoned automobiles in the neighborhood.

In other instances, organizations could restrict parking to homeowners and to certain times and locations. For instance, only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. may homeowners park in the clubhouse parking lot.

Frequently asked questions regarding HOA parking restrictions and regulations

Can the HOA limit parking on public streets? 

The HOA may prohibit parking on the street. Whether the street is public or private will determine this. Associations typically lack control over public streets. Therefore, unless state laws specifically prohibit it, they are unable to specify whether or not members may park there. When a crime takes place on a public roadway, law enforcement is in charge. In contrast, HOAs are free to control parking on community-owned private streets.

What determines whether a roadway is public or private? A street is considered public if it is open to use by non-HOA members or the general public. The government is in charge of maintaining public streets. Private streets, on the other hand, are exclusively accessible to HOA members and are maintained by the HOA.

Could an HOA restrict how many vehicles you can park?

Although homeowners associations have no say over how many cars a homeowner owns, they do have a say over how many cars are parked in the neighborhood. Most individuals are only allowed to own two automobiles; thus, they must find parking space somewhere for their other vehicles.

Is the HOA permitted to require you to park in your garage? 

Although it may seem unjust, the HOA has the right to require you to keep your car in your garage. Associations typically take this action in regard to automobiles that don’t adhere to their standards or are forbidden in the neighborhood. It’s important to maintain the beauty and make the neighborhood aesthetically pleasing.

How can an HOA better enforce vehicle regulations?

Enforce towing of vehicles

Most board members have the authority to tow vehicles that break community regulations; however, this varies from community to community.

Your board should start by notifying the homeowner through a violation notice that they may be towed if they fail to cooperate within 96 hours. Additionally, you must tell the local traffic police within an hour after authorization and provide the towing operator with documented authorization.

Revoking community amenity privileges 

Some HOA boards may be able to temporarily revoke an owner’s rights to parking or utilizing community amenities, depending on state laws and the association’s CC&Rs. However, this kind of enforcement is only applied to persistent offenders.

Enforcing community speed limits 

Generally, homeowners associations have the authority to set speed restrictions inside the community, as long as they only apply to private streets and are permitted under your CC&Rs. However, be sure that the posted speed restriction does not clash with any local laws. If so, you are unable to enforce it.

How to fix common HOA parking concerns

Parking issues arise in any organization. The key is to develop a plan and process for dealing with them. The following are HOA parking solutions for some of the most typical parking problems:

Limited resident parking If there is insufficient space for residents to park, you can turn some visitor parking spaces into resident parking. This is assuming that you reside in a neighborhood where the HOA controls the common spaces.

Residents occupying guest spaces. All residents must be informed if this is not permitted in their neighborhood, and signs indicating this must be posted. Imposing penalties and revoking rights is a successful strategy for reducing this kind of activity. If the issue is severe enough, you may even need to enforce towing.

Limited guest parking If you reside in a planned community, you have the right to charge visitors who wish to park in guest spaces a parking fee. As an alternative, you might mandate that visitors get HOA parking permits. You’ll be able to stop arguments among owners by doing this. To find out if you have this authority, be careful to review your governing papers.

Insufficient parking for the handicapped. You must make accommodations for residents with disabilities in accordance with the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Make sure there is accessible parking for those with disabilities. If that isn’t practicable, try to redesign the area to make it more accessible for residents with disabilities.

Smartwebs can help

Do you need HOA software to assist you in getting work done and relieve your workload? We’ve got you. To help operate a successful community association, Smartwebs provides an all-in-one solution for community association management and accounting. 

Schedule a demo with our team and see how Smartwebs can help you manage your communities smarter. 

What are HOA CC&Rs and how are they enforced

What are HOA CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions)? 

When homeowners reference HOA CC&Rs, they are referring to either of two things:

  • The rules of a planned community 
  • The HOA document is called the Declaration of CC&Rs. 

If you live in a community with a homeowners’ association, you must follow the rules in the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions.

HOA communities have their own rules, usually described in the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. The Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions is a legal document that specifies all of the HOA community’s laws and regulations. Typically, the Declaration of CC&Rs is filed with the county recorder’s office. It forms part of the land’s and community’s official real estate records.

The goal of these rules is to protect property values in the community. However, this can be frustrating if you want to change your home.

Though most rules are easy to agree with, there are some that might interfere with your plans or seem unreasonable. But it’s worth pushing through those and obeying them because the consequences of breaking them really aren’t worth it. Not to mention, by adhering, you are helping to maintain the beauty and value of your home and community. 

Maybe you want to park your car on the street and convert your garage into storage space. Your HOA may enforce CC&Rs that prohibit street parking or restrict what can be done with garage space. Perhaps you want to build a deck or add a pool. After reading the CC&Rs, you may discover that pools or decks are not permitted in your community. 

HOAs can and should enforce CC&Rs in accordance with the laws of that state and community regulations. Not adhering to the covenants, conditions, and restrictions of your community can result in penalties and fines. 

Common CC&Rs in Community Associations 

Real estate CC&Rs generally include limitations and regulations such as:

Property Maintenance. Your community association’s CC&Rs may require you to mow your lawn on a regular basis. Alternatively, the CC&Rs may stipulate that you cannot allow the siding of your house to become dingy or for the paint to peel. Some HOA communities may provide landscaping and home maintenance services, such as power washing or exterior painting. Other HOAs will require residents to handle these tasks on their own. 

Home decor. Depending on your community’s CC&Rs, the regulations for exterior home decor can be simple or complex. Typically, the goal is to maintain a clean and sometimes uniform look in the community. What colors or shades you may use to paint the house could also be governed by various CC&Rs.

Pet rules and restrictions.

HOA pet policies (CC&Rs) can include, but not be limited to, the following:

Pet registration.

HOAs first need to know how many pets exist in their community before they can properly enforce CC&Rs. Before moving in, associations may require new homeowners to register their pets. Before getting a new pet, current residents should also fill out pet registration documents. Community associations may have restrictions on certain breeds of dogs as well.

The HOA can keep track of all the domestic animals in their neighborhood thanks to pet registration. They can simply pursue homeowners who disobey the pet policy. Additionally, it makes it simpler to monitor the annual rabies vaccinations of pets.

Pet waste cleanup.

One of the most prevalent issues in pet-friendly associations is animal waste. Animal waste may be hazardous and toxic if it is left unmanaged in public spaces.

Consider requiring all residents to tidy up after their pets and properly dispose of their waste when creating your HOA dog poop bylaws.

To promote adherence to the rules, the HOA may provide bags and garbage cans around the neighborhood. You can even choose to impose fines on property owners who fail to pick up after their dogs.

Some HOAs may even require you to submit a DNA sample of your pet for testing of pet waste that is found unattended in order to help enforce pet CC&Rs. 

Dog barking rules. 

What solutions does an HOA have for noisy dogs? Dogs occasionally bark and create noise, but not constantly or loud enough to irritate the neighbors. Therefore, one of your HOA dog regulations may be to ask residents to report any issues with continuous barking to the management. If a pet is unable to go to sleep at night, it may need to be brought inside.

The HOA should speak with the pet owner upon receiving concerns. They frequently have no idea there is an issue. They can brainstorm solutions to noise issues together.

Pet leashing rules. 

Your HOA can require pets to be kept on a leash when walking in the neighborhood. Unleashed animals can be harmful not only to themselves since they run the risk of becoming lost or getting into traffic, but also to other members of the neighborhood.

There are several situations that can make an aggressive pet aggressive, even if they aren’t naturally aggressive. This may cause a catastrophic battle that hurts both people and animals.

The HOA might build a dog park as a middle ground where animals may run about unrestrained. If your neighborhood allows pets, having this feature might be quite tempting.

Parking regulations. 

The community association’s CC&Rs may specify how to park in front of a residence. For instance, your HOA parking rules and regulations may prohibit street parking and control overnight visitor parking. 

Trash can storage.

Trash cans, utility meters, and clotheslines may need to be covered or suitably hidden from view, according to the CC&Rs of your community. 

Of course, the HOA may also have additional requirements. The CC&Rs may, among other things, limit the height of your fence, require a defensible space for fire safety measures, or forbid political posters.

What Are Resolutions?

“Resolutions” are additional rules and regulations that an HOA adopts.

CC&R Inspections

The CC&Rs can be enforced through regular inspections or community drives. An HOA manager often conducts such inspections, checking to see how closely properties adhere to the association’s rules and notifying owners of any potential infractions.

Any homeowner who has infractions discovered on their property will be subsequently notified of community violations. On the following inspection, managers will check to see if the problems have been corrected.

Penalties for violating HOA CC&Rs

When escrow is closed on a property in a planned community, the buyer often signs a number of documents, one of which states that they have read the CC&Rs and agree to abide by them. The CC&Rs are often upheld by the HOA, which may fine you if you violate them.

Penalties for violating community association CC&Rs may include:

  • Verbal warnings or written violation letters. Most organizations will begin with an announcement, either vocal or written. Such a notice’s objective is to inform the resident that they have broken a specific CC&R and to request that they remedy the situation as quickly as possible.
  • Fines. Residents who don’t resolve the problem might be subject to one-time fines or costs for each day it goes unattended. Some HOAs may additionally charge for the labor and supplies the association used to resolve the issue on its own.
  • Amenity suspension. Failing to adhere to community association CC&Rs can result in a loss of access to community amenities such as pools, gyms, and other common areas.
  • Lawsuits. Last but not least, the association may go to court and ask the judge to order a resident to resolve the issue.

Example. Let’s say you have a huge dog despite a restriction stating that a community’s maximum pet weight is 30 pounds. You may face a fine in addition to being ordered to move or give up your dog. Don’t depend on the rules changing, as that is typically rare.

So, before purchasing a house in a planned community, read the CC&Rs.

Do HOA CC&Rs expire?

They usually do.

Naturally, the state legislature will have a significant impact on how long CC&Rs may last before being renewed or changed. However, when that time has passed, the association must vote on whether to continue or end the CC&Rs.

Covenants would naturally expire and cease to be binding if, for any reason, the association didn’t carry such a vote.

HOA Dues and Assessments

Homeowners often need to pay yearly or monthly dues as well as sporadic special assessments to the HOA

The CC&Rs outline the many sorts of payments that the community requires, the procedures for special assessments, and the consequences of not paying, including late fees and interest.

What happens if you do not pay HOA dues or fines?

Failure to pay HOA dues or fines can result in a lien or the foreclosure of your home. Typically, this is the last resort for community associations, but they can and do have the right to do so. 

The HOA may decide to foreclose the lien if it believes you lack the resources in your bank account or from a job to satisfy a money judgment. The proceeds of the foreclosure sale would go toward satisfying the debt. Some states have requirements for how long or how much you must be delinquent on your assessments before the HOA can foreclose. For instance, a California HOA cannot begin the foreclosure process unless the past-due assessments are at least $1,800 in value or have been overdue for more than 12 months.

Ways to Prevent HOA Foreclosure

You might be able to request—or the HOA might require—a preforeclosure meeting to discuss the infraction if your HOA is considering foreclosing on your home. You might be able to negotiate a solution at the meeting, such as agreeing to start a payment plan right away to settle your fees or penalties in exchange for the HOA’s promise to delay foreclosing.

Additionally, you might be able to reclaim your house after the sale if you lose it to an HOA foreclosure. After an HOA foreclosure, certain jurisdictions’ laws permit the foreclosed homeowner to reclaim the property.

To summarize: 

CC&Rs are legally binding documents that outline the permitted and prohibited uses of a property. These rules and regulations are in place to uphold community standards, maintain property values, and protect residents of the community. Failure to adhere to your community’s CC&Rs can result in fines, penalties, lawsuits, and liens on your property.  

10 Best HOA Accounting Software Companies

Best HOA Accounting Software

Manual bookkeeping is no longer used by homeowners associations across the country. You can easily automate accounting processes and generate financial reports with HOA accounting software!

What Is HOA Accounting Software?

If you’re new to technology, you may be asking yourself what HOA accounting software is.

HOA accounting software automates many tasks in finance and produces a full range of financial statements. Useful for HOA boards and managers, this software helps to manage day-to-day tasks such as Balance Sheets, Income Statements, and Cash Flow Statements.

HOA management software is more comprehensive and includes features such as communication and event management. HOA accounting software typically does not offer these services.

What about property management software? Property management software is designed to help you manage rental properties of all types, whether they are residential or commercial. This type of software functions differently from HOA management software because it focuses on property management rather than managing an entire neighborhood.

What are the benefits of using HOA software?

  • HOA software streamlines all of your processes within your community, such as ensuring violations are issued and handled. By automating these tasks, you’re freed up to do other tasks that need your attention.
  • With Cloud-Based HOA software, you can manage your homeowners or community association from anywhere. Having a cloud-based solution allows you to access your HOA software from any device, at any time. In today’s remote work environments, this is especially critical.
  • The best HOA accounting software combines the review of all important association documentation and data in one centralized location. This means that everyone involved will have easy access to relevant information, and can be held more accountable for their actions because they are available at any time.
  • Your data is more secure when it’s in a cloud-based system than stored on one computer or as hardcopy in a bunch of folders.
  • Streamlined communications software can create better communications with your customers. With all information in one place, it’s easier to come to a consensus and make decisions.
  • With all of the data available, it can be used to strategize for a neighborhood’s future. Reporting on an association’s activities and using them to figure out the current situation is helpful.
  • HOA accounting software creates a smaller margin for error. Since the software only requires one accounting entry per transaction, this makes it much more efficient than a manual system.
  • Savings. HOA accounting software saves you time and money. Although you are paying for the software, you cut down on time spent performing manual tasks.
  • Financial reports. With HOA accounting software, you can generate real-time reports with the click of a button. Accurate reports allow you to make smart and informed decisions for your community.

What is the best HOA Accounting Software?

1. Smartwebs

Smartwebs All-In-One Platform + Mobile allows you to say goodbye to time-consuming manual work and outdated software, allowing you to make the most of every minute.

Workflow automation means spending less time on community bookkeeping. Smartwebs accounting software was developed and designed exclusively for community associations, using the most up-to-date cloud technology and security. Powerful workflows, easy automation, and improved reporting will keep your HOA running smoothly.

Rated the best HOA accounting Software for ease of use, Smartwebs makes accounting, violations, work orders, communications, architectural requests, and more not only simpler but SMARTER.

  • Automate Receivables
  • Faster Payables
  • Better financial reporting
  • Advanced Accounting Intelligence
  • Stronger Bank Integrations

Smartwebs pricing starts at $0.35 per door making it affordable for self-managed associations and large-scale alike. You can schedule a FREE demo to see how the software works.

HOA Accounting Software

2. Appfolio

AppFolio Property Manager has some great accounting features for HOAs, including bill entry and automated accounts payable. A full stack of integrations, including debt collection with online payments, and automating late fees.

AppFolio is primarily a property management software designed for corporate accounting, HOAs can still benefit from their software. With features such as:

  • Record corporate transactions in a separate chart of accounts
  • Automatically create bills and invoices between corporate and property books
  • Bill back associations for management fees, admin work, vendor bills, and costs for common area maintenance

Pricing starts at $0.80 per unit per month, with a minimum monthly fee of $250. You can even sign up for a free customized demo.

Appfolio property management software

3. Buildium

Buildium is a property management software that can be used for HOAs as well. It provides property managers with efficient software that is easy to use, even for people who aren’t confident with new technology. Buildium focuses on streamlining tasks so that you spend less time on them. It has quickly attracted the eye of property managers.

Buildium allows you to perform many different property management tasks, like accounting, rental applications, tenant screening, document storage,

Buildium is free to try, and while pricing may not be ideal for all communities, it has plenty of options for those of different sizes. This software could improve small things, such as accounting functions, though it remains a good product overall


Buildium Property Management software

4. FreshBooks

FreshBooks promises to make bookkeeping easy, allowing you to spend time on more important tasks. This software focuses purely on HOA accounting. One key feature of FreshBooks is its ability to be used on the go. That way, if you run into an emergency and need to track your time for a client later that evening, you don’t have to worry about not having the app with you.

You can try FreshBooks for free for 60 days. After that, subscriptions start at $4.50 a month with five billable clients. If you have over 500 billable clients, you will need to contact FreshBooks for custom pricing.

5. Condo Manager

Condo Manager is specifically designed to cater to HOAs and COAs, although property managers can still use their suite of features.

This software provides full-service accounting, from budgeting to bank reconciliations to monthly reports. Condo Manager not only does accounting, but also offers website services, online resident portals, communication tools, and service request management that help to improve your association. You can contact them for a free demo of the software.

6. CINC Systems

CINC Systems provide robust accounting and HOA management software modules. Their pricing starts at $39 a month. This all-in-one association management software boasts modules for accounts payable, collections, homeowner billing and payments, lockbox services, and monthly reports. It also offers other features typical in HOA management software, such as communication, CCR management, and ACC management.

Pricing starts at $39 a month.

7. FrontSteps

FrontSteps is a service that can be used to create and manage HOA websites. With this software, you can customize it to have many useful features such as violation tracking and online payments. This website makes it easy for residents in the community to file work orders. The management side lets you take care of your financial needs with their accounting services.

Pricing starts at $79.95 per month.

8. PayHOA

PayHOA is a cloud-based homeowner association (HOA) management software for communicating with members, collecting dues, and tracking expenses. It boasts of being an all-in-one platform to manage your community associations.

PayHOA offers a 30-day free trial. Afterward, pricing begins at $49 / per month.

9. MoneyMinder

MoneyMinder provides software exclusively for HOA accounting, catering to its needs. Utilizing MoneyMinder, you can track resident dues and other income. This software also displays reports, sends invoices to homeowners for payment, and compares your budget with your actual expenses.

What’s even better is that it is free for the basics, yet comes at $159 for the paid version for full capabilities. Those who want a taste of the features without risking anything are able to download the app for a trial period before paying.

If you’re looking for HOA software solely for accounting, Money Minder is a great option.

10. Quickbooks

QuickBooks is well-known accounting software. While it does not offer options specifically catered to HOAs, it is still a great solution for an HOA just starting out. With this software, you can automate dues payments, wages, and bills. You can also track your income and expenses, allowing you to compare your budget with actual figures.

Pricing starts at $12.50 per month.

HOA Meeting Minutes Template

HOA Meeting Minutes Template: What should it include?

Want to know how to take minutes for homeowners association meetings? You’ll learn what type of information you should include, and how to properly format the minutes with our easy-to-use editable template. 

Because it is the law, HOA boards need to take the minutes of every meeting. This way, there will be an accurate record of what was discussed in the meeting.

If you’ve never seen a meeting minutes template before, writing one can be difficult. Recording minutes the first time can often be daunting.

This article will show you everything about recording HOA meeting minutes, from the order of items to be recorded to word-for-word instructions on what can be left out. You will find a sample of the minutes document below to use as a template for your meetings after reading this article.

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What are meeting minutes?

HOA meeting minutes are a record of everything that has happened between the members during the meeting.

During a meeting, minutes are recorded and detail the subjects discussed, the actions taken, the decision-makers, etc.

Why are meeting minutes so important?

HOA meetings are important because, without them, there could be a lack of proper documentation. As a result, the minute’s document is often the first port of call when there’s uncertainty about whether issues have come up.

Minutes help dispel disputes among board members.

Meeting minutes are open to the public. Residents have the right to view all of the information in meeting minutes. However, executive meeting minutes are not mandatory for publication and include confidential matters.

If you want to provide accessibility for minutes, they must be distributed to all residents within a specified timeframe. The rule can vary from one state to the next.

Who takes meeting minutes?

If an HOA doesn’t already have a designated note-taker, the first thing they should do is appoint someone as a note-taker. Furthermore, they should have a backup in case that person is unable to attend a meeting.

Often, the secretary will take down the minutes. However, it is common for boards to hire or elect a recording secretary in order to free up their general secretary for meeting participation. If the association works with a property manager, then they may be asked to take, prepare, and share meeting minutes.

The ability to write quality minutes for meetings can be learned through education and practice. It’s not a skill that everyone is born with, but most people can learn to do it effectively. Experts recommend that all board members have an understanding of how to record meetings. Even if they’re not responsible for this task, it’s beneficial to know the process.

Board members are encouraged to write their own notes when they attend open sessions so they can have the information immediately after the meeting. Depending on the time length of the meeting and the role of the note-taker, it can take a few days, or more for the note-taker to get the minutes up. 

What to include in an HOA meeting minutes template:

Here are some of the most important points to include in HOA meeting minutes:

  • The name of the association
  • The date and location of the meeting
  • The time at which the meeting started and adjourned
  • A roll call of those who are present and absent with their respective board positions
  • Board of directors reports
  • Unfinished Business
  • New business and open discussions
  • New meeting details
  • Names of members who voted abstained or dissented from a motion
  • A record of all financial transactions including bank account opening and closing, reserve expenditure, etc.
  • Adjournment
  • Signature of the Secretary

Your local or state laws may have other items and rules on how to take HOA board meeting minutes.

Approving Meeting Minutes

Before proceeding with the day’s business, the secretary must approve the minutes from the previous meeting.

What shouldn’t you record in the meeting minutes?

There are some meeting elements that should not be included in an HOA document.

#1 Off-topic or irrelevant discussions

It is not uncommon for board members to engage in a discussion amongst themselves.

It’s a common mistake for new meeting note-takers to believe that every meeting discussion needs to be recorded in the minutes. That is not the case.

Unless the conversation is relevant to an issue listed on the agenda, it does not need to be recorded. 

#2 Personal Beliefs 

Personal and or irrelevant views and opinions discussed by the board members, or recording persons, similarly should not be included in the meeting minutes. 

#3 Disagreements

Similar to that of personal opinions, arguments, or disputes that have occurred between members should also not be included in meeting minutes. 

HOA Meeting Minutes Template

Here is an example of an HOA meeting minutes template. To make this your own, you can download this template and edit it for your own board meetings. 

HOA Meeting Minutes Template

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How long should the HOA maintain its meeting minutes?

An HOA board must maintain their meeting minutes register indefinitely as part of their official records. Check your own local and state laws as to how long your HOA is required to keep meeting minutes records. 


Looking to streamline your HOA accounting and management? Smartwebs is the pioneer in HOA management software!

From violations, inspections, work orders, sending notices and dues payments, etc., smartwebs makes HOA management easy. 

Want to see Smartwebs in action? Book a Demo. We’d love to show you how it works.

Are you using Quickbooks for HOA Accounting?

HOA Accounting Software vs Quickbooks

Can you use Quickbooks for HOA Accounting?

If you’re like many volunteers for homeowners associations, you probably use traditional accounting software—like QuickBooks or Zoho—to manage your community’s finances. 

The basic out-of-the-box software solutions like Quickbooks can still serve your needs, but you are missing out on the customized features offered by HOA software.

Managing your Community Association goes well beyond invoicing. Quickbooks and other run-of-the-mill accounting software lack the capabilities that make running your HOA easier. That’s where HOA software can bridge the gap between accounting, communications, violations, work orders, and everything else that goes into your HOA operations. 

Quickbooks vs Smartwebs 

Quickbooks is a one size fits all accounting software designed to work for any individual in any industry. That being said, the biggest con of using QuickBooks is that it was not designed specifically for HOAs. Community association accounting software was designed to incorporate industry specifics to make HOA bookkeeping easier.

Smartwebs HOA accounting software was developed and designed exclusively for community associations, using the most up-to-date cloud technology and security. Powerful workflows, easy automation, and improved reporting will keep your HOA running smoothly.

HOA Accounting Software

Customer-based accounting vs unit-based accounting 

Customers, individuals, and businesses use Quickbooks to pay for or send invoices for products or services provided by others.

QuickBooks fails to realize what makes HOAs unique – units. 

In QuickBooks, you must create a new customer every time an occupant moves into a unit. Over time, each purchase will generate one new account with the same address, making it difficult to compile documentation by unit, only by the customer. 

Community Association Management software helps you organize records of individuals and units

Smartwebs keeps records on both units and individuals, making it easier than ever to establish a documented history of owners, maintenance, architecturals, payment activity, and more at the touch of a button. 

HOA accounting software was designed to make community association management simpler. With built-in tags and custom fields, you can segment units and owners. 

Do more than just HOA accounting 

With Smartwebs, you can manage every aspect of your HOA, not just accounting. 

Smartwebs is an all-in-one software solution to help you manage your day-to-day community association tasks, such as work orders, architecturals, violations, and more. Using the community messaging feature, you can notify your community members of emergencies, such as storms and flooding, power outages, etc.


Quickbooks doesn’t capture communications between the biller and the payer. 

If you want to engage with your homeowners outside of billing, you’ll have to resort to other tools disconnected from your accounting software.

Quickbooks is not your HOA informational hub.

Smartwebs bridges the gap and unifies communication between the HOA board and homeowners. Through resident portals, homeowners can respond and engage in real-time. 

  • Send mass emails, texts, and voicemails from within the platform.
  • Send direct mail like paper invoices or print newsletters, at the click of a button with zero-touch mailing. 
  • Issue violations
  • Receive maintenance and architectural requests.

Static software vs Dynamic 

QuickBooks regularly updates its products to work within an ever-evolving tech environment. They fit within a scheme of other tools, each playing its own part in the business operation.

QuickBooks is a potentially powerful tool for managing financials for any business. However, HOA management is not on its list of services because of the specific requirements of these organizations.

Smartwebs is constantly improving to better serve HOAs. 

As we expand our products and capabilities, we make them available to all of our users.

We know what it takes to run an HOA, it’s in our DNA. That’s why we’ve included features to help streamline the process for you. Such as readymade templates for maintenance requests, violations, and architectural requests.

Quickbooks vs HOA Accounting Software

How HOA Software can save Self-Managed Communities time and Money

Managing an HOA property requires a significant financial commitment from the homeowners and can impact the annual budget. Self-managed HOAs, as opposed to Management Companies, save the association money and make for more personal ownership for volunteers on the board, especially those in charge of finances. That is why you need the best HOA Software for Self-Managed Communities. 

Board members can create impressive and creative solutions for their communities, but they need support in areas such as finance and legal processes. One tool that provides this support is HOA self-management software. With the right software, board members can streamline operations and make processes intuitive to create an improved community for all involved. 

40% of HOAs choose self-management

Self-Managed HOA Software

Running an HOA without the assistance of a management company can be daunting. But without self-managed HOA software, it gets even more difficult. Some may find managing their HOA to be as easy as tying their shoes, but others find it to be a never-ending battle. This article will explore how a single solution can help your self-managed HOA thrive. We’ll go over what self-managed HOAs are and the type of services they offer. Lastly, we’ll provide a step-by-step process to help you decide what solution is best for you.

What is a self-managed HOA?

A self-managed association or homeowners association is one that strictly relies on members of the association, the HOA board, to run the community. Self-managed associations save money by not hiring an HOA management company but instead self-managing.

Whether it be large or small communities, self-management is becoming an increasingly popular way to manage your HOA. In fact, 30 – 40% of all HOAs are self-managed. 

To be successful as a self-managed homeowners association, board members must invest lots of their own time and have enough experience in each area they run to be successful. The question at hand is – should your HOA consider turning to self-management?

What are the benefits of self-managed HOA software?

Having self-managed HOA software plays a critical part in the overall success of an association.

1. Streamline Communications – Create better communications with your residents. We know it’s hard keeping HOA residents in the loop on what’s happening in their community. HOA  communications software delivers faster messages to your residents by email, text, or voice message within seconds. Create and use customized templates to quickly send communication to all residents at once from newsletters, annual meetings, severe weather alerts, amenities being serviced, and much more.

2. Cloud-based document storage – A cloud-based software solution better protects your data and makes it simpler to deploy and access from anywhere. The software also makes it easy to maintain continuity. Anytime there is a change on the board, the data will continue on the cloud and new members can start where their predecessors left off.

3. Time savings – When it comes to running a self-managed HOA, you likely have a lot on your plate. Logging data and chores can get tedious, but fortunately, the software has simplified many aspects of the process. With software, you’ll have the convenience of accessing all the information instantly, and often on the go with mobile apps too. As a result, tasks and requests can be processed much faster and more accurately! Plus, many software packages allow the automation of time-consuming processes so that they can be completed without your direct involvement at all.

How to use self-managed HOA software:

Many small and medium-sized associations successfully self-manage. The Community Associations Institute estimates that 40% of HOAs choose self-management. Managed homeowners’ associations can choose to go self-managed, which will have long-term benefits with the potential for cost savings in unit fees and other management costs.

The board of directors may use self managed HOA software in different ways, depending on their position.

Self-Managed HOA President

As President, an individual facilitates communication between board members and the community. The President ensures that every voice is heard as they make decisions that affect the community. They may prepare meeting agendas and ensure meetings remain focused on relevant topics. A President is also responsible for signing contracts and other legal documents for the association, which they may have to co-sign all checks.

Here are some ways that the President can use self managed HOA software to secure and efficiently complete their duties:

  • Share and manage documents, keeping HOA-related business separate from personal or professional documents.
  • Send mass emails, text messages, and automated phone calls directly to residents.
  • Use a shared HOA calendar to manage a busy schedule.


The treasurer is one of the most critical people on the board. The treasurer manages all financial transactions and often collects dues from homeowners. This can take a considerable amount of time if the HOAs collect dues by hand in the form of paper checks. HOA self-management software automates the process for the treasurer, finance officer, and even the homeowners who can now easily pay online. 

The Treasurer must be able to produce financial reports for board meetings, assist with the association’s annual audit, and pay vendors approved by the board.

Poor management of association funds can lead to distrust among board members and even legal action. Most HOAs use accounting software designed for the general market but not for residents’ specific needs. 

An HOA self-management software can offer an HOA several benefits. It allows HOAs to streamline their finances by creating more harmony between the board, property manager, and homeowners.

  • Automate collecting dues, late fees, and other charges
  • Making and sharing real-time accounting reports with ease
  • Building an annual budget and tracking income and expenses with custom charts and reports
  • Creating vendor profiles and paying vendors directly from the software
  • Sending professional invoices with a return envelope and perforated payment slip


The secretary is often responsible for notifying homeowners of meetings and recording the minutes. The secretary manages important documents, such as homeowner information and maintenance history. Homeowners have the right to access these documents on demand according to covenant documents, so the secretary must maintain up-to-date records.

Secretaries can utilize Self Managed HOA Software by:

  • Consolidating and storing essential documents, tracking maintenance history, communications, and payment history
  • People who use the portal can have easy access to documents and account information, anytime, anywhere.
  • Communicating via text, email, phone, or mail


HOA committees offer advice and assistance to board members. These groups come together to take care of relevant issues in the community. Committees are typically small groups of volunteers that serve advisory roles. Still, they can be a small committee with ongoing responsibility or an ad hoc committee that deals with specific projects. Committees empower shareholders and create communities involved in decisions made at meetings.

HOA Self-Managed Software helps Committees by:

  • Send mass emails, SMS, and automatic phone calls, and view engagement communication data
  • Email custom PDFs to homeowners for special events and topics 
  • Send surveys and vote digitally with the option of anonymous voting and capturing results within the software
  • Build a custom website for the community

Choose the best HOA software for self-managed communities

Efficiency and scalability should be the primary considerations on your list during this evaluation. Factors will include the size of your organization, the scale of your operations, and the type of experience that you need. Find customizable software for your unique needs that can take over labor-intensive tasks to free up volunteer hours. Check for any errors or mishaps with automation in mind to find ways it may have mitigated a human error.

When selecting self-managed HOA software, consider: 

The Best Self Managed HOA Software 


Best HOA Software for Self-Managed Communities

Smartwebs HOA Software can save Self Managed Communities time and Money. HOA software tailored to Self-Managed community needs takes care of many standard services, as well as gives staff the freedom to focus on other jobs. This leads to less stress and a more complete feeling of satisfaction.

Self-managed systems can help with continuity as well. Intuitive documents and resident information make it easier to prepare for changes, such as board turnover.

Advantages of Smartwebs for Your Self-Managed HOA


Choosing a cloud-based HOA software solution can lead to considerable savings for a variety of reasons. Smartwebs cloud-based software removes the startup costs that an HOA has to pay for purchase and installation. No more installation of several devices, freeing up space on your hard drive and removing the hassle of manual regular system updates. Rather than investing massive amounts of money in hardware and software resources, cloud-based HOA software is easy to use, maintenance-free from a customer end, and allows you to work remotely from any device, anywhere.

Monthly subscription based

Smartwebs saves self-managed communities time and money by offering a monthly subscription software solution. Our software is priced at a per-door rate making it an extremely affordable option for self-managed communities. From a full-platform product (recommended) to a-la-carte software solutions, Smartwebs allows you to spend your money only on the applications you are utilizing and not waste your resources on features you don’t need.

Ease of use

Smartwebs is the leading HOA software solution for ease of use and scalability. Just ask our customers! You don’t have to be a computer scientist to start implementing our software for your communities. Designed with the average user in mind, Smartwebs was made for HOAs, it’s in our DNA. Smartwebs can quickly adapt to your usage plan. As your community grows, so do your software needs. With our cloud-based software, you can easily scale your solution usage with little to no downtime. Moreover, you can access our solution anywhere on the planet where you have internet access.

Increased Security

In many circumstances, a cloud-based solution can keep your HOA’s information more secure and often more readily available than traditional software programs can. For instance, at Smartwebs, we perform regular and automated scans of our network to identify weaknesses and bolster security. We take your data seriously. This also significantly decreases the risk of downtime with our product offerings. 

Use Our Self Managed HOA Software Solution

Running a self-managed HOA can be very difficult, and it’s daunting when you don’t have the right software. With the right HOA solution, you can get more done. Get started with Smartwebs today to reduce your workload. Book a demo.

Guide for better HOA Management & Growth

Set the stage for success and streamline your HOA Growth and Management.

This guide helps You STOP Juggling HOA Accounting, Work-Orders, and everything else your community associations manage.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Top Violations for Communities and How to Minimize Them
  • How to Welcome New Residents
  • How to Become A Top HOA Community in Your City
  • How to Streamline HOA Growth and Management.
  • The Importance of HOA Management Software in Your Community
  • How to Choose the Right Community Association Management Software

Top Violations for Communities and How to Minimize Them

Garbage Cans 

Residents leaving their garbage cans out for too long after trash day is a common violation in HOA communities. Most property managers probably know this violation all too well and have written up several violation letters because of it. Remembering to bring in those cans can be hard, especially when working from home!

How to Help Minimize This Violation

Reminding your homeowners that trash day is over and they can put away their cans is a great
way to minimize this violation. If you have a system like SmartCommunications, you can send out a weekly reoccurring text or email reminding residents to remove their trash bins from the road.


We all know it can be challenging to find the time to mow your lawn, but alas, it has to be done! This is a common violation HOA managers face and are crucial to making your community look its best. As the property manager, you want to maintain the beauty of your HOA association and make sure everyone in the community is proud of their neighborhood!

How to Help Minimize This Violation

Making sure your HOA rules are clear and easy to understand can help your residents know precisely what is and isn’t a violation. Once a quarter, you should send out communication that lists the common landscaping issues your community sees and the landscaping rules. This way, everyone is informed and can help fix problems before they even start!


We love our pets like family because they are! But residents not picking up after their furry friends is something that HOAs face all the time. This can be a problem that you hear a lot from other residents, and they might ask the property manager to help minimize this violation.

How to Help Minimize This Violation

This can be a tough violation because it’s hard to catch residents in the act of not picking up after their pets, so you need to be proactive about a solution. Making sure you have enough waste stations around the neighborhood is key to helping eliminate this problem. Sometimes residents forget to bring bags with them, so providing plenty of spots where they can grab a bag and remove the waste is crucial for your community!

How to Welcome New Residents to your HOA

Are new residents moving into the neighborhood? That’s great! New homeowners moving into the community provides an opportunity for you to welcome them to the area, make sure they are set up for success and deliver essential documents they need to enjoy their new home.

Send a Welcome Packet

Welcome packets are a great way to help new residents feel excited about where they are
moving to. So what should be in a welcome packet?

Governing Documents

One of the most important items to include in your governing documents, as this is what they will need to make sure they have a positive experience in the community. Many rules are violated not out of intent but because they are unaware, so having a well-written document outlining the rules and regulations of your community is crucial!

Welcome Letter

In your packet, including a welcome letter. Let them know you’re glad they are here and make them feel special! Noting who the board members are and their roles in the community are excellent information for any newbie. Also, if your community has a Facebook group or Nextdoor neighborhood, they could join. This is a great addition!

Community Map and Info

Your community probably has fantastic amenities and can be the main reason why residents
chose your neighborhood, so point them out. Providing a neighborhood map pointing out where the pool, fitness center, playground, and any/all amenities are will help your newcomers navigate the community. You should also include access information like your pool code or how to get a key card to use the amenities to their fullest.

Resident Portal Information

Do you have HOA software? We hope so! If you do, make sure your new residents know how to access it, their login info, and what information they can find. Suppose you have a resident portal like the one at Smartwebs. In that case, residents can submit architectural requests, communicate with the property manager directly, and find governing documents with a couple of clicks. This will be key for your residents to make sure they are continuously updated with new info and easily communicate with their property manager.

Welcome Committee

Establishing a welcome committee for your neighborhood can help new residents feel at home. By already having a contact in the community to ask questions about things like schools, favorite restaurants, and where to get their hair done. A welcome committee can also put together gift baskets for new homeowners that include your welcome packet, local businesses to check out, and how to meet others in the neighborhood. Greeting newcomers to your community will help set you apart and keep your residents happy for the long term!

How to Become A Top HOA Community in Your City

You want your HOA community to be somewhere people desire to live and are proud to
participate in. So, how do you become a top HOA community? Here are some tips we think can help you do just that!

Community Events

Community events are a great way to get residents involved and meet their neighbors. Throwing cookouts for the fourth of July or having a neighborhood block party every quarter can boost morale and get your community talking about their HOA. Is anyone in the community a part of a band? Ask them to perform at the neighborhood park and invite everyone to come out and enjoy it! Any event you throw can be a great way to get your community together and more involved.


Having great amenities is a huge selling point for any HOA community, so maintaining them is crucial. Is your playground equipment rusting and old? Maybe it’s time to replace it. Getting ahead of requests/complaints about older equipment will make your HOA look proactive and prepared. If your budget allows it, look for more amenities you can add to your community as well. Maybe even small ones like having free fitness in the park days or adding soccer nets to open spaces.

Community Involvement

Getting people involved in their community helps them feel a part of something like they can impact their local neighborhood. Starting Facebook groups or a social committee is a great way to get your neighbors involved. This also helps alleviate your responsibilities and helps others feel important to their community.

How to Streamline HOA Growth and Management.

Growing a property management company is exciting and rewarding, but how do you get more
HOA communities to sign on with you? This can be challenging, but we think you can grow your business with ease with these steps.

Provide Great Service

The most important thing a business can do for itself provides excellent service. While this may be a no-brainer, we think it’s the most important as this is what will set you apart. If your company is known for always treating your clients right, going above and beyond, and getting the job done, you will, in turn, create advocates for your brand, making it easy to refer you.

Create a Referral Program

Referrals are a great way to grow your business as people enjoy talking about things they love.
Once you’ve created a brand worth talking about, make a referral program to incentivize clients to refer others to your business. Offering things like a free month of service or even gift cards are a great way to help gain referral business.

Attend Networking Events

Nothing beats meeting clients in person, so attending local or national networking events can
help your business get in front of key decision-makers. This can also help you build relationships with other vendors and services that could benefit you.

Increase Your Online Visibility

Are you visible to your potential clients on the internet? Make sure you’re updating your website and social channels frequently, as this is how people will find you. Here are some ideas to help increase your visibility:

  • Regularly post on social media – Facebook and LinkedIn are essential channels.
  • Start a blog that is updated consistently with important topics to your industry.
  • Join Facebook and LinkedIn groups related to your industry to connect with others.
  • Start a podcast or YouTube channel answering some of the important topics in your industry.

Partner With Other Vendors

If there are prominent vendors in your area that you can partner with, this could be great exposure. Make sure your core values are aligned before committing. Then you can leverage that other brand to help you grow yours and vice versa!

If you enjoyed this guide to help streamline HOA Growth and Management, check out the tools Smartwebs offers to help streamline and automate that growth.

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Top 3 HOA Management Software Companies

What goes into identifying the Top 3 HOA Management Software Companies?

Running an HOA is a difficult task. Your hands are constantly full with managing architectural reviews, service requests, enforcing CC&R regulations, scheduling board meetings, taking online payments, making sure that accounts are in order, managing the community website and residents’ databases, communicating with those people, and dozens of other tasks.

HOA management software aims to help board members and property managers work smarter by automating repetitive processes and creating systems that work together. If designed correctly, HOA management software can help streamline HOA management and can save you time and money.

With a wide range of options available, it’s essential to find the system that is best for you. Some software specializes in accounting, while others have a solution for almost everything.

If your HOA regularly does the following, you may want to look for property management software:

  • Mailing community announcements/updates/notices to homeowners.
  • You create financial records on Excel or a similar program that limits you to the same computer.
  • Work Orders and Architectural requests that take weeks to process.
  • Tracking homeowner violations that you struggle to keep organized and with zero automation. 

According to the 2022 State of the Property Management Industry Report, 46% of property managers considered residents their top priority in 2021. 41% stated growth was the main focus. 25% expressed a desire to improve efficiency.

Industry leaders: Top 3 HOA management software Companies

We have looked into many software options, and have identified the Top 3 HOA Management Software Companies. 


Smartwebs best community association management software

Smartwebs All-In-One Platform + Mobile allows you to say goodbye to time-consuming manual work and outdated software, allowing you to make the most of every minute.

Rated the Best HOA Management Software for ease of use, Smartwebs makes accounting, violations, work-orders, communications, architectural requests, and more not only simpler but SMARTER. 

Smartwebs pricing remains competitive in the market and is as simple to understand as the software. Smartwebs offers an a la carte option for services such as Management and accounting, or access to their full, all-in-one platform for HOA Community Association Management. 


Top 3 HOA Management Software Companies Appfolio

AppFolio is an easy-to-use solution with a mobile experience. It offers cloud-based software for property managers of HOAs as well as those who have mixed portfolios. AppFolio was founded in 2006 and acquired MyCase in 2012.

AppFolio is a multifunctional property management platform that includes a suite of tools that can help managers take care of their building maintenance, track payments, and stay competitive on the price of rent.

Some clients noted that the accounting feature is not very user-friendly, but those with some accounting knowledge should be fine using the system.


Top 3 HOA Management Software Companies Buildium

Buildium provides property managers with efficient software that is easy to use, even for people who aren’t confident with new technology. It focuses on streamlining tasks so that you spend less time on them. It was founded in 2004 and has quickly attracted the eye of property managers.

Buildium allows you to perform many different property management tasks, like accounting, rental applications, tenant screening, document storage, 

Buildium is free to try, and while pricing may not be ideal for all communities, it has plenty of options for those of different sizes. There are small things that could be improved on this software such as accounting functions; however, it is still a good product overall.

What features should you be looking for in HOA Software?

If you are shopping for HOA management software, don’t only consider the price. Consider how expandable the software is and its total value to you. Pricing for this type of product varies on the features and support available.

Once they find the right software, property managers have no regrets and only look back on why they didn’t invest in HOA management software sooner. Online software comes with many benefits and can help property managers overcome challenges more efficiently than ever before.

Simplified Community Association Accounting  

Whether you have an accounting background or not, online accounting software is a great option. It minimizes human error and makes it possible to manage the finances of multiple properties from one place.

HOA accounting software is a comprehensive suite of tools to help you manage the financial accounting needs of your HOA. It’s important to choose the right software that can handle all of your needs, whether you’re just starting out or are an established HOA with many members. There are several key features and benefits to consider when evaluating HOA accounting software.

Overall Community Management

Your software should make HOA Management smarter, not harder. Why search for multiple solutions that don’t integrate or work seamlessly? Why have multiple tabs opened on your computer if you can do it all on one platform?

Seamless Integrations

Each software can offer different strengths, so it’s important to find the one that is most compatible with your needs and the current programs you love. Most companies provide the option for integration and some have a more diverse array of options. This can help you experience the best from two platforms without switching back and forth between them.


HOA management software is an excellent tool that streamlines the operations of HOAs by providing a way to reach your goals while strengthening communication and organizing tasks. These programs provide different qualities, but they all have the same objective: to help people succeed in managing their properties efficiently. Before purchasing HOA management software, make certain that it offers the features necessary for helping you reach your goals.

These programs may seem overwhelming but most are surprisingly easy to handle. Most people don’t find them too challenging – and there is typically a support team if you do. Your entire community can benefit from great Community Association Management software.