4 Traits of a Good HOA Manager

Managing a homeowners association is no joke! As an HOA manager, you need to be able to do everything from scheduling meetings and managing finances to overseeing maintenance and keeping the place safe. A good HOA manager needs many skills—but the good news is that you can learn them all! Here are four of the most important traits of a good HOA manager.

HOA Manager Job Description

What services does the HOA management company offer? The duties of an HOA manager or management company include managing the community’s overall operations and day-to-day activities.

A group of managers known as the board of directors is in charge of overseeing homeowners organizations. However, board members frequently lack the time and expertise needed to carry out management duties. For support, many associations employ an HOA management company or manager.

Remember that not all businesses provide the same services. The agreed-upon services outlined in the management contract will determine the precise duties held by the HOA manager. However, common duties for an HOA property management company do exist, including but not restricted to the following:

  • Understand the CC&Rs or governing papers of the HOA
  • Make sure the HOA conforms with all applicable federal, state, and local
  • Assist with budget preparation
  • Ensuring that the HOA keeps within its budget
  • Dues and assessments
  • Monitor invoices, receivables, payables, and delinquencies
  • Obtain the appropriate insurance coverage
  • Report managerial and financial reports to the board on a monthly basis.
  • Plan and attend board meetings
  • Document and keep records of meeting minutes
  • Violation Inspections
  • Enforce rules and regulations on a consistent basis
  • Provide recommendations to update policies as needed
  • Address homeowner concerns and questions
  • Update members through communication channels
  • Send resident notices
  • Maintain and properly insure common areas
  • Govern projects
  • Resolve community disputes or discrepancies
  • Promote board elections
  • Tax Preparation
  • Provide the board advice on various issues and decisions
  • Work alongside experts like lawyers, accountants, reserve specialists, etc.

Hiring an HOA Manager

Are HOA management companies and HOA managers the same thing? HOA management companies are firms that offer management services for homeowners associations, albeit they do share the same duties. HOA managers, on the other hand, are the ones that associations really work with.

An HOA manager will normally be assigned to your neighborhood if you select an HOA management company. You can’t collaborate with a faceless corporation, after all. Having several point people for various management duties is also impracticable. The operations of the community will be managed by an HOA manager, who will also assist the board and serve as a liaison between you and the management firm.

Traits of a good HOA manager

How can you tell whether your HOA manager is skillful? One technique is to see whether they attempt to go above and beyond the responsibilities of the HOA property manager. This demonstrates their genuine concern for your community and that they go above and above the call of duty. These are additional crucial characteristics of an HOA manager.

#1. They Can Manage Financials

A good HOA manager will ensure the financials are managed correctly. Handling revenue, expenses, and budgeting is a key part of the job, and it needs to be done well in order for the HOA to function optimally. A good manager will be on top of all financial activities:

  • Determining monthly fees from members
  • Tracking payments from members
  • Creating budgets based on estimated expenses for each year
  • Keeping an eye out for unexpected costs that may arise throughout the year (e.g., if there’s a calamity that causes damage to common areas)

HOA software tools are available to help manage these tasks. For example, Smartwebs HOA Accounting Software offers a complete package with many useful features including:

  • Reporting capabilities
  • Centralize all of your community documents
  • Easily integrate with your banks
  • Manage all of your accounts in one place
  • Residents can see real-time balances

#2. They Communicate Effectively

While effective communication is a vital part of every relationship, it’s especially important for an HOA manager to be able to communicate effectively. This includes communicating with homeowners and board members as well as vendors and contractors. After all, if your HOA manager can’t communicate well, how will they be able to make sure projects get done on time and on a budget?

When it comes to good communication skills, it’s always better to over-communicate than under-communicate. It’s also important to have the right tools in place for your HOA manager to easily communicate with homeowners. Smartwebs HOA Communication Software helps managers do just that! They can easily email or text residents individually or even send out mass communications to the entire community. 

#3. They Stay Up-to-Date

It’s important for HOA managers to stay up-to-date with changes in the law and industry, so they can provide accurate information to their boards. Regularly attending local seminars and state or national conferences is a great way to acquire continuing education credits. These events also give you the opportunity to meet other people who share your interests and chat with vendors and suppliers who might have new products or resources you need.

Trade publications are an excellent source of news and articles from experts in the field, so make sure you’re subscribed to at least a few of these magazines. The most popular trade magazine for homeowners association professionals is Community Associations Institute (CAI), which has over 45 years’ worth of content addressing topics including but not limited to board management, managing multiple HOAs as a consultant/manager, budgeting/finances, and even using social media effectively when working with your communities.

Lastly, it’s important that HOA managers have a good understanding of the community’s governing documents or covenants—including bylaws, CC&Rs, policies & procedures—and how they relate to state laws regarding homeowner associations. Thorough knowledge of these governing documents will help ensure that the manager abides by them when making decisions on behalf of their HOA boards. You should also know where residents can find copies of these documents if they’re unfamiliar with them; many HOAs post their governing documents on their website for members’ use.

#4. They Know the Rules

The rules in a homeowners association are only as good as their enforcement. If the HOA manager is unable to apply them fairly, they’re not worth the paper they’re written on. The board will establish rules with the best of intentions and they must be enforced consistently in order to keep conflict at bay and to protect the integrity of your neighborhood.

It can be difficult for an HOA manager to keep up with all the rules and regulations (particularly among larger communities where it’s easy for different HOAs to have slightly different bylaws) but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that it becomes second nature. Managing violations can be a daunting task but with Smartwebs HOA Violation Software, it doesn’t have to be! With our HOA software, you can easily track, submit, and report on community violations with just a few clicks. 

You’ve Got This.

HOA management can be a busy job but one that is also rewarding! Having the right HOA software will be key to being a good manager as it will help you do your job more efficiently. Schedule a demo with our team today to see how Smartwebs can help you. 

What is HOA Accounting Software?

What is HOA accounting?

HOA accounting is the bookkeeping, record-keeping, and financial reporting that takes place in homeowners associations (HOAs). HOAs are communities with a governing authority that enforces rules, collects dues, and maintains common areas for residents. This entity is called a Board and can be managed either by volunteers or by a paid HOA management company. If the Board members are unpaid volunteers, they are responsible for performing HOA accounting. If the community uses an HOA management company, then this company is responsible for most of the association’s accounting tasks.

Is it different from regular accounting?

Many of the same financial accounting principles apply to both HOA accounting and traditional accounting, but there are major differences. You can use virtually any software that complies with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to do your HOA’s books, but you’re much better off using software that was specifically designed for HOAs.

HOAs have many financial transactions that are different from regular businesses or individuals. They also have more transactions than most other types of entities and a large number of recurring monthly transactions such as mortgage payments and common area fees. For these reasons, it’s important to use an HOA-specific application if you have this type of entity.

What is HOA accounting software?

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.

There is special accounting software for HOAs.

While most accounting software will work for an HOA, there are some products that are specially designed to function in an HOA setting. These products can make managing the finances of your association a much easier process and help you save time by streamlining tasks.

HOA accounting software tends to include basic accounting features, such as general ledger, accounts payable/receivable, invoicing and payment processing, reporting capabilities, and budgeting tools. In addition to these basic features, HOA accounting software can also give members access to view their own financial records through a secure portal.

These special programs can also simplify the process of collecting dues from members by automatically sending out collection notices when payments are late or missing. Some even offer online payment options for community members to pay their dues quickly and easily by credit card or e-check.

Tell me more.

Wondering where you can get software like this? You need SmartBooks! We built our accounting software specifically for HOAs and their distinct needs. Our software will help you manage your books with ease and also easily integrate with our management software to create one single platform to manage your communities. If you’re looking for superior HOA accounting software, schedule a demo with our team today and see the power of SmartBooks.

How to Attract Top Talent for Your HOA Community

Ask Yourself What Makes Your HOA Community Unique

How do you attract top talent to your HOA? Your community’s mission statement, vision, and culture are some of the most important factors determining whether it attracts top talent or repels prospective residents. To get a step ahead of the game, it’s important to consider what makes your community unique. Is it in a desirable location? Is it in a city that’s known for its art scene? A university town? If you’re putting together an ad for potential candidates, ask the following questions to make sure you’re appealing to who you want to be:

  • What is your community’s mission statement and vision?
  • What is the reputation of your community and how has it been established in your market?
  • What are the values that define your community (e.g., caring about family members, environmentalism, etc.)?
  • What is the culture of your community (e.g., we’re a low-key place where people take care of their neighbors)?
  • Who are the current residents and what draws them to live there?

Offer Competitive Benefits to HOA Employees

It can be hard to stand out as an employer and entice qualified candidates in a competitive hiring market. Fortunately, you have a secret weapon: benefits. By offering certain kinds of benefits, you can make your HOA community an attractive place for potential employees to work.

Benefits are something that employees and job seekers value highly in their careers, so offering good benefits is a great way to attract top candidates. As you’re building your list of benefits for HOA employees, include both tangible and intangible options so that there’s something for everyone.

Tangible perks might include paid time off (PTO), paid sick leave, free parking or other transportation reimbursement options, help with continuing education and training expenses, or discounts at local businesses that your employees frequent. Intangible perks might include flexible scheduling options, unlimited vacation days, or a casual dress code. Offering these kinds of benefits may also help you attract younger talent—millennials are especially attracted to workplaces with a flexible culture.

Create Clear Job Descriptions

To attract top talent to your HOA community, you must make sure to have a clear job description posted. Your job description should provide a list of responsibilities and what you expect out of an employee.

Here are some elements to include:

  • Job title
  • Company name
  • Full description of the job
  • Requirements and qualifications needed

Make The Interview Process Smooth, Efficient, and Enjoyable

Now that you have a pipeline of candidates to interview, it’s important to make your interview process as smooth and efficient as possible. Nobody likes interviewing for a job. But with the right approach, your company can make the interview process enjoyable for everyone involved.

Before an interview is scheduled, be sure you’re clear about what the next steps will look like and when they’ll happen—for example if you’ll be doing onsite interviews or phone screens before making a final hiring decision, let candidates know that in advance so they don’t get their hopes up unnecessarily (or worse yet, cancel another potentially better opportunity).

Then, once that candidate has an offer in hand, follow up with them as soon as possible—especially if they’re also interviewing at other places. You want to make sure they have all the information they need to decide while it’s still fresh in their minds.

After an offer is accepted:

  • Be very clear and upfront about when the new person will start working at your company. If there’s a delay in starting due to visa issues or some other external factor (like Covid-19), keep them informed of any changes to this timeline so there aren’t any surprises along the way. If possible send them regular updates on what’s happening until their first day does arrive; this will help build trust between both parties before work even begins!

Consider Working With an Employment Recruiter

  • Consider working with an employment recruiter. An experienced recruiter can help you connect with the best candidates for your HOA’s open positions. They will act as a liaison between you and the highly qualified people who may not be actively looking for a job but would jump at the chance to work for your community association. The recruiter will save you time, as they are able to source potential employees quickly, and money, as they are able to define exactly what qualities in a candidate make them right for your HOA community.

Ready For Your Next Great Employee

Attracting excellent talent to your HOA community can seem challenging, but if you know how to market effectively and build the right team of people, the results are worth it.

To attract top talent to your HOA community, you need to build a strong team. This is not an easy or quick feat, and it will take time and resources, but it’s an important step in building the foundation of your company.

To build this team, you will need to network! Your team should be made up of people who have different skills and experience. Networking helps you find talent that isn’t limited to what’s available on the market right now.

We hope you find your next great employee and that these tips help you do just that. Once you’ve hired the right person, make sure they have the right tools! Smartwebs helps HOA community managers do their job with ease. Schedule a demo with our team today to see what Smartwebs can do for you. 

 

HOA Communities: 3 Tips for How to Write a Violation Letter Template

The first planned community in the United States is defined by its curvy streets and park-like scenery just outside of Chicago. This planned community modeled the modern HOA communities we see today. In order for these communities to thrive, homeowners have to agree to rules and regulations. When a homeowner breaches that agreement, a violation letter is the first notice. Violation letters can consume the lives of HOA leadership, especially in large communities. That is why you need a simple and thorough violation letter template. Continue reading to learn 3 tips for how to write a violation letter template.

Stay Professional in Tone

Nobody wants to receive a violation letter. What’s worse than a violation letter is one that is poorly written and informal. Your letter needs to be professional. It should be more cover-letter-like. A letter template will standardize your violation letters. This gives the letter a more professional appearance. You should first state the purpose of the letter, give evidence of the violation, then request the needed changes. Many HOAs also include the specific agreement citation to direct homeowners to exactly what they are violating. Written evidence is helpful, but photos are the best evidence. Having a space in your template to easily insert photos will make your templates more effective. Also, every violation letter should provide a reasonable timeframe for making changes. Your letter should not be a fine, but it should request that the homeowner resolve the violation.

Include the Next Steps

After a homeowner has received a violation letter, they need to know what to do. Legally, every homeowner has the right to dispute a violation before being penalized. HOAs are legal entities, which means a homeowner has the right to file a lawsuit against an association if they disagree with their violation. Violations do not always lead to lawsuits though. The first step is a disciplinary hearing if you would like to dispute the violation. Detailing the next steps for homeowners in the letter will ensure your HOA community is communicating well.

Decide How to Record Violations

Your letter template should make filing and sorting violation cases simple and effective. Whether it is a code, organized by property, or kept in a spreadsheet, your violation template should assist your organizational efforts, not harm them. For this reason, many HOA communities will begin with a digital violation letter and work from software or a database. Many HOAs decide to invest in software for its organizational features.

Use Software to Handle Your Violations in HOA Communities

Violation letter templates are difficult to write, which is why many communities prefer to automate the process. For HOA communities who are looking to get paperwork off of their table, using HOA software can make tracking violations simple. If you want a little more automation than a simple template, you should consider SmartViolations. Learn more about how SmartViolations can save you time and stress.

 

Should I Hire an HOA Management Company?

Self-managed HOA communities rely on their elected board of directors to run their community. They are responsible for dealing directly with homeowners to answer questions, collect HOA fees, issue violations, and so forth. Having a very active and accountable board is crucial to the community’s success. So how should you decide if you should hire an HOA management company to run your community? Read these tips to determine what’s suitable for your association!

What does an HOA management company do?

An HOA management company’s essential duty is to manage the community’s daily operations, including communicating with homeowners, scheduling maintenance, and other administrative work. Your communities board will still be essential, as will the HOA management company. The HOA management company is there to act as your community’s advisor and help run your community smoothly. 

What are the benefits of hiring an HOA management company?

Easier Management

Your HOA board members usually aren’t community association professionals who have been in the industry for years which can make it difficult for them to handle everyday HOA tasks. With an HOA management company, you get experience and expertise in managing a successful community association and can relieve your board members from these duties. They will take over administrative duties such as communicating with homeowners, processing violations, handling arch requests, and property maintenance. 

A management company will also be helpful for your residents as they will have a clearer picture of who to communicate with. They will have a designated point of contact and someone who will respond quickly to their questions. 

Industry Knowledge

A management company will also help your community be less risky by following all the rules and regulations to comply with the law. Having this industry knowledge will be a tremendous benefit for your association!

Are there disadvantages to hiring an HOA management company?

There are always disadvantages to having someone take over your community’s management, but do the pros outweigh the cons?

Increase in Costs

Hiring a management company will increase your costs for your association as you’ll have to pay for this service. You can increase your HOA fees to cover this cost, but your residents might not be happy with this decision. 

Less Control

While your board is still in control of all the crucial decisions for your HOA, hiring a management company can decrease the board’s governance. If your board is very involved and worried about their duties reducing this could be a disadvantage. However, you can help mitigate this by ensuring the management company and the board are on the same page.

Self-Managed HOA vs. HOA Management Company: Which should I choose?

The answer is: it depends! If your community is small and operating efficiently, it might be unnecessary to have a management company. However, it could be a great option if your board members are struggling with the responsibilities and your community is large enough to cover the cost. If you’re looking at hiring a management company, read this article to guide you on doing this correctly!

 

Either way, remember that Smartwebs can help you or your management company. With our software, you’ll be able to easily manage your association’s violations, arch requests, work orders, and even accounting. Get a demo of our software to see how Smartwebs can help you!

 

How to Hire the Right Property Manager for Your HOA

Hiring the right property manager for your HOA community is crucial to your community’s success. These managers are the face of your HOA and are integral parts of the maintenance and care of the property and residents. Having a caring, proactive, organized, and responsive manager is key to making a great community. Follow these tips to help you hire the right property manager for your HOA association!

Determine Responsibilities

Before you can find the right individual, you need to understand what responsibilities they will have in the community. A common and, in most cases, most important task will be homeowner management. This includes answering questions homeowners might have, communicating with them about events, helping them submit architectural requests, and answering violation questions. Excellent communication is crucial, so you want to ensure you have the right tools in place. SmartCommunications allows you to send messages to homeowners in a few clicks! Tag residents into different groups to help send targeted messages out to your community and make communication that much easier.

Managing violations will be a large part of an HOA manager’s job. This will include creating violations, sending out violation letters, and communicating with homeowners. Managing violations can be extremely time-consuming, so having software like SmartViolations will significantly benefit a property manager. Managers will be able to map, submit, and report on violations making it simple to stay organized. 

Vendor management is another responsibility of an HOA manager as they will get bids, hire vendors, and follow up as needed. With software like SmartWorkorders, you can schedule maintenance with your preferred vendors, track the progress, and pay them directly. This helps everyone stay informed on what maintenance is being performed, and with the mobile app, vendors can directly track their progress. 

These are just a few duties of an HOA manager, and there are many more, so it’s important to understand what they will be doing so you can hire the right candidate. If you want a more comprehensive list of HOA manager duties, you can visit HOAmanagement.com!

Licensing and Credentials 

Does your state require property managers to have some sort of license, certification, or other credentials? Make sure they have them! Even if your state doesn’t require them, it’s a great benefit to hiring someone with industry knowledge as it means they are invested in the industry. In your application, you can simply ask each candidate to input their specific licenses/certifications they have acquired. 

Speak with Their References

References can be a benefit to anyone searching for the perfect candidate. You only see what comes across on their resume or interviews, so speaking with individuals who have previously worked with the candidate can be insightful. Have each candidate give you one to two references for you to reach out to during the interview process, and make sure you look at the references to make sure they have previously worked together. 

Conflict Resolution Skills

Asking personality questions will help you see if the candidate is a good fit for your position. One of the most essential aptitudes for any property manager is conflict resolution skills. We know dealing with angry homeowners, tracking down vendors, and communicating with many different people can be challenging. You want to make sure this individual has excellent problem-solving and communication skills. Asking them to give examples of difficult situations they had to resolve or handling conversations in challenging scenarios will help you better understand your candidates. 

Hiring the right manager for your HOA community can take time, but it will be rewarding in the end! Property managers are a great asset to your community and can help the perception of the HOA in your resident’s eyes. Once you’ve got the right manager in place, make sure you have the right tools as well! Smartwebs’ all-in-one platform can help managers run their communities smoothly. Violations, Architecturals, Work Orders, Communications, Resident Portal, and Accounting management are all at your fingertips. 

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

How to Explain Your HOA Community Fee Increase

How to Explain Your HOA Community Fee Increase. It isn’t news most homeowners want to hear: that assessments might increase. But sometimes, a fee increase is the best way to keep an association in good financial health, and sometimes, increases are unavoidable. Here are some of the reactions homeowners typically have when they hear that their fees are about to increase, followed by the related rationales for an increase.

“I can’t afford the increase HOA Community Fee Increase.”

When you live in an association, you need to be willing to share the costs, as described in the governing documents you agreed upon in escrow. Keep in mind that if the association does not maintain its property, real-estate values can decline.

“I probably won’t be living here in 15 years when the streets need repaving. Why should I have to pay now?”

Senior citizens and young people living in condos they consider to be starter homes often pose this question. The problem with this “short-timer” logic is that these people are themselves benefiting from the use of the streets, pool, and other shared assets paid for by members who lived there before. Members should pay for the incremental use of these items each year they live there.

“Why don’t we just have a special assessment for a specific project?”

It can be difficult to collect money when you suddenly have a significant expense. It’s better to obtain it gradually, so the funds are there when you need them. Also, a special assessment unfairly penalizes homeowners who happen to live in the association at the time.

We hope this helps you combat some common questions when fee increases happen in your associations. With SmartCommunications, you can get ahead of these questions by sending out notifications via text, email, or voicemail to your community. Not currently using SmartCommunications? Schedule a demo at Smartwebs.com/demo.

 

Why You Want to Use Professional Landscapers as a Community

Maintaining common areas is one of the board’s most basic responsibilities. To fulfill that responsibility, it’s a good idea to hire professional landscapers.

These fees may seem like an added or even unnecessary expense, but the additional cost will be less than the losses you would face without professional help in the long run.

Consider the advantages:

Professional Expertise

It takes more than a green thumb to maintain attractive and functional landscaping. A contractor employs experienced staff and trained labor crews. This expertise translates into a cost-effective and successful landscape maintenance program for your community.

Bulk Purchase Savings

A landscape contractor purchases plants and supplies in bulk quantities at reduced prices and can pass the savings along to your community.

No Equipment to Buy or Maintain

The association doesn’t have to purchase, store, insure, maintain, or buy fuel for equipment.

Improved Plant Survival

Trees, turf, shrubs, and other plantings are costly. Without proper care, they don’t survive, especially immediately after installation. A landscaper will guarantee newly planted shrubs and trees, so you don’t have to pay for replacing dead plants.

Reduced Liability

An association’s landscape contractor is appropriately insured and knowledgeable about and compliant with all local and federal environmental requirements and safety regulations. Your contract should shift the responsibility to the contractor and reduce the association’s liability.

Landscaping is essential to a community’s quality of life, its image, and its value. However, maintaining it can be costly. Is it worth an association paying for these services? Yes! Failing to invest in professional landscape maintenance is a false economy because curb appeal makes a neighborhood desirable and contributes to the value of your homes.

Did you know with the release of SmartBooks, you can pay contractors directly? No more managing payments in different systems! One login, one platform. Schedule your demo today at Smartwebs.com/demo!

5 Tips to Winterize Your HOA Community

Winter is quickly approaching, which means falling temperatures and cold weather on the horizon, so it’s essential to protect your HOA communities. When you winterize your communities, you are helping to protect them and avoid expensive repairs in the future. Is your community ready for the upcoming season? Here are some tips to help get you prepared for winter!

Seal any cracks in your pavement

When cracks in your pavement are left unrepaired, ice will build up and expand the pavement making your crack even worse than before. This is a great time to check your sidewalks, playgrounds, pavilions, and more to see if any cracks need to be filled before winter begins.

Plan for snow removal and power outages

How prepared were you last time you had snow or power outages? If you live in an area that gets snow every year, you probably already know how to deal with it. But if you’re in an area that doesn’t get snow, it’s still essential to have a plan in place, as we saw with Texas communities last year. Make sure you can communicate with your community during these times and keep them updated on any news. Power outages during snowstorms are common so make sure you have generators ready for your communities to keep the heat on. Educating your residents on how to stay warm during a power outage is also a great idea!

Protect your pipes

Bursting pipes are a big issue when you endure cold weather, especially in areas where it’s not common. If the weather is forecasted to drop below freezing, make sure you turn your faucets on to drip and keep your sink cabinet doors open. You should also turn off and drain all of your outdoor faucets, a vital task! If you have any outdoor pipes, you can add insulation to them to keep them from freezing.

Know who to call in case of an emergency

We can all hope that nothing serious happens during a winter storm, but you truly never know. Having a file with your important contacts for repairs and even personal injuries is important to prepare for the future. This list will not only help you in times of need but also your homeowners as well! If you can provide a readily available list to them, it can go a long way in their happiness with your community.

Inspect your HVAC system

Having your HVAC system serviced twice a year is a good rule of thumb and right before winter starts is a good time to have a technician inspect it! An experienced technician will be able to not only tune-up your HVAC but also catch any issues that could be potential problems. This will be an important preventative item for you to take for your community.

Getting your community ready for the upcoming season is crucial for the future of your community. Homeowners will appreciate you for it and know they live in a place that takes care of its facilities. We hope this winter season is filled with a lot of fun and joy, so make sure you’re prepared for anything that could happen!

Smartwebs Hosts a Team-Building Company Picnic

Our employees are our backbone, and we love getting together as a company! On Friday, November 5, Smartwebs employees met at Lake Creek Park in Round Rock, TX, for a team-building picnic. We were able to eat lunch together, share some laughs, and join in on some fun!

Company Picnic Building Bikes Building Bikes

After lunch, we broke off into four teams to build bikes for the kids at Texas Baptist Children’s Home. Texas Baptist Children’s Home provides a safe home and a stable family environment where children, single mothers, and youth aging out of foster care can learn, grow, and ultimately experience a happy, healthy future. We loved getting to work together on a project that would directly impact children in our community! This activity also helped us get to know one another and different working styles to complete a common goal. 

Hole Tarp Game

Once we finished up building our bikes, we started our team-building activities. The first game we played was called Hole Tarp, yup you read that right; it’s called Hole Tarp. Why? You guessed it, because there is a tarp, and it has holes in it! This game took major communication skills and strategy as each team had to get their tennis ball to go through the correct spot. The tennis ball(s) were placed on the tarp, and each group was told which color hole it needed to go through. It was entertaining to see how each team interpreted these instructions and how to do it effectively. One group just dropped the tennis ball through the hole since there weren’t any rules against it. We had to be given more rules once our CEO, Shawn Feilding, realized we were all a sneaky bunch! This game helped us see who in our groups were natural at stepping up and giving directions, who was more systematic in their thinking, and how to interact with different personalities.

CEO Playing Land Mine

After this, we played a game called landmines, where each team had to direct their teammate through a series of obstacles to the other side without stepping on any of the items. Pictured above is our CEO, Shawn Feilding, trying to get through while others were putting more obstacles in his way! This activity was challenging as each team was allowed to distract the other once they had made it through, making it difficult to know who to listen to. In this game, we learned how it’s better when one person is directing and not the whole group, so the participant knows who to listen to. We also learned that sometimes louder isn’t better as other people were giving wrong directions to distract us. 

All in all, it was a day filled with fun and good weather! We enjoyed getting together as a group, some of us meeting each other for the first time, and connecting as a company. We are excited to continue to do events like this together as our next company get-together is in December for our Holiday Christmas Party! If you ever want to host a community event for your neighborhood, having SmartCommunications is a great tool to have so you can send out mass communications to your community. Contact our team today for a demo!

Your Guide to HOA Management Software

Did you know that 25% to 27% of the U.S. population lives in private communities governed by homeowners associations, condominium associations, and housing associations? But for homeowners, it doesn’t matter how many HOAs there are—all that matters is finding the right community and the right HOA. And that’s where the right HOA management software can make a world of difference for your customer experience.

Here’s a look at what HOA management software is, why you need it, and what features to look for in the best software.

What is HOA Management Software?

HOA management software is your one-stop shop for everything related to property management. It used to be used by sophisticated property management companies with large and complex holdings, but these days, software evolution and pricing has made the same functionality available to even the smallest of HOAs.

Most managers use HOA management software for one of five reasons:

  1. Accounting
  2. Building management
  3. Work order or maintenance management
  4. Marketing tools
  5. Tenant portal

The benefits for HOA managers are just as good, and in many respects, this software allows you to take charge of what’s going on in your community.

Of course, the real benefit isn’t just that you can break out a resident portal or simplify your accounting. The real benefit is that you no longer need to rely on an endless chain of people to handle small jobs. Instead, great software allows you to automate a lot of small tasks so that you can focus on the big ones.

In addition, good software provides an unbeatable customer experience. The reality is that no matter who lives in your community, today’s homeowners come with an implied degree of technical sophistication. They have certain expectations of professionalism, and those show through in your customer experience.

HOA management software allows you to meet (and exceed) those expectations every time.

What to Look for in the Best HOA Management Software

What separates good HOA management software from the best?

Start by looking for a few core features. For example, good software should include basic features like association management, owner communication, administrative functions, and accounting.

For HOAs, you’ll also want tools like online architectural request forms, a work order portal, and violation software.

The best software goes one step further. Not only are these features easy to use, but they’re integrated into a single powerful dashboard with all the functionality your community needs.

If you have to mix and match solutions, you’ll confuse and frustrate your members, and more importantly, you’ll constantly fight an uphill integration battle. Look for one system that does everything and does a wonderful job of it.

The one thing that great software is not? Free. Unfortunately, free HOA management software is often mutually exclusive from good software.

The Software You Need to Strengthen Your Community

Ready for HOA management software that goes the extra mile?

Here at SmartWebs, we know that property managers need a smarter way to do business. That’s why we offer a variety of software options tailored to your unique needs, like our SmartArchitecturals software that allows for easy architectural request submissions and 24/7 access throughout the process. It’s just one of the ways we’re improving the property management experience.

And best of all? We specialize in HOAs, which means you get software made for your unique needs.

Ready to give your HOA members an experience they’ll love? Schedule a demo today to learn more about how our software can help.

Process violations on the go with our offline mobile app

We understand that some communities are in areas that don’t have the best signal or no signal at all. This is why we developed our offline mobile app to help community managers still do their job without data. Process HOA Violations on Mobile. Smartwebs is one of the only property management software companies that are able to accommodate processing violations in the field without a signal. Keep reading to know why it’s important for you to have this feature as a part of your HOA management software. 

No data? No problem! 

Smartwebs was designed and developed to keep HOA inspections moving with no data needed. Quickly download your community or communities on an Apple or Android device and you’ll have access to a virtual map with the location of properties to process violations with speed. Once you’ve completed your drive/inspection(s), upload the information with one click and it will be processed seamlessly into the Smartwebs office site.

GPS Tracking

Did you know it’s still possible to use GPS tracking even without a signal? With our software, it is! The app is able to track you throughout the community so you know exactly what units you are viewing. Never lose sight of your community again! In the mobile offline app, you can see your current location, choose the unit you need, click the type of violation, snap a picture, and click submit. It’s as easy as 3 clicks and a pic! 

Zero Touch Communications

Sending out violations letters has never been easier. After you have processed your violations with our offline app, they will be ready for Zero Touch Mailing once you get back. Zero Touch allows you to send off a pre-designed letter template straight to the resident by email and mail with a click of a button. No more printing, stuffing and mailing violation letters by hand, it’s already done for you. 

We built our software to meet your company’s needs and are constantly improving by listening to our customers. Excited about this feature? Schedule a demo so we can show you how your community can do things smarter. After all, Smart is in our name!