Best HOA Software for Self-Managed Communities

Best Self Managed HOA Software Solution 2024

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 Self Managed HOA Software for your 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?

Challenges of Self-Managed HOAs

Managing a homeowner’s association (HOA) is a complex and often thankless responsibility. While self-managing an HOA can offer cost savings and a sense of community control, it also comes with unique challenges that can impact both the volunteers and the overall efficiency of the association. Here are some common challenges faced by self-managed HOAs:

1. Time Constraints

Running an HOA can be incredibly time-consuming, requiring volunteers to dedicate significant hours to tasks like financial management, record-keeping, communication, maintenance coordination, and enforcement of HOA rules. Balancing these responsibilities with personal and professional lives can be difficult for volunteers, leading to:

  • Burnout and Volunteer Fatigue: The constant workload can lead to volunteers feeling overwhelmed and eventually losing motivation to contribute, making it difficult to find and retain reliable volunteers.
  • Delayed or Inconsistent Execution: Time constraints can lead to delays in addressing issues, responding to resident inquiries, or completing essential tasks, potentially impacting the overall functionality and resident satisfaction.

Lack of Expertise and Resources

 Self-managed HOAs often lack the professional expertise and resources readily available to professionally managed communities. This can lead to:

  • Inefficient Operations: Volunteers may not have the experience or knowledge to optimize processes, leading to inefficiencies in financial management, communication, or maintenance planning.
  • Legal and Compliance Issues: Understanding and adhering to complex legal requirements and HOA governing documents can be challenging for volunteers, potentially leading to legal or compliance issues.

Financial Management Complexities

 Managing an HOA’s finances effectively requires strong accounting skills and a deep understanding of budgeting, financial reporting, and collection procedures. This can be particularly challenging for self-managed communities, leading to:

  • Inaccurate Financial Records: Without proper expertise, bookkeeping and financial record-keeping may become error-prone, making it difficult to track expenses, manage budgets, and make informed financial decisions.
  • Delinquent Payments and Collection Issues: Collecting dues and fees effectively can be time-consuming and require a firm yet respectful approach. Self-managed communities may struggle to manage delinquent payments efficiently, potentially impacting cash flow and hindering the HOA’s ability to fulfill its responsibilities.

These challenges highlight the potential complexities of self-managed HOAs. While self-management can offer certain advantages, it is crucial to be aware of these potential hurdles and implement strategies to mitigate them. HOA software can be a valuable tool in addressing many of these challenges, as discussed in other sections of this blog.

What are the benefits of self-managed HOA software?

Self-managed HOAs face unique challenges, but HOA software can be a powerful tool to help overcome them and streamline your operations. Here are some specific examples of how software can address the challenges mentioned previously:

Saves Time and Reduces Volunteer Burden

  • Automated Tasks: Software can automate repetitive tasks like sending invoices, collecting dues, tracking maintenance requests, and generating reports, freeing up volunteers’ time for more strategic matters.
  • Streamlined Communication: Built-in communication tools allow for efficient communication with residents through email, text messages, or online portals, reducing the need for time-consuming individual contact.
  • Resident Self-Service: Online portals empower residents to manage their accounts, submit maintenance requests, or view important documents, reducing the burden on volunteers to handle these tasks individually.

Improves Efficiency and Mitigates Risk

  • Financial Management Tools: Software can provide features like online payments, automated budgeting tools, and financial reporting, ensuring accurate record-keeping and informed financial decision-making.
  • Compliance Assistance: Some software offerings may include resources and guidance on relevant regulations and HOA governing documents, helping volunteers stay compliant and avoid potential legal issues.

Enhances Resident Satisfaction

  • Improved Communication: Timely and transparent communication with residents fosters a sense of community and builds trust. Software facilitates easy communication updates and information sharing.
  • Efficient Issue Resolution: Online portals and automated workflows enable residents to easily submit and track maintenance requests, leading to faster resolution times and improved satisfaction.
  • Increased Transparency: Online access to documents, financial reports, and meeting minutes allows residents to stay informed and involved in the HOA’s activities.

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.

Treasurer

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

Secretary

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

Committees

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

Features to Look for in HOA Software (Tailored for Self-Managed Communities)

When choosing HOA software for your self-managed community, consider features that address your specific needs and challenges. Here are some valuable features to look for:

Essential Features

  • Resident Self-Service Portal: Allows residents to manage their accounts, submit requests, view documents, and make payments online, reducing the workload on volunteers.
  • Financial Management Tools: Includes features like online payments, automated invoicing and receipts, budgeting tools, and financial reporting for accurate recordkeeping and informed decision-making.
  • Communication Tools: Provides various communication channels like email, text messaging, and online forums for efficient communication with residents.
  • Work Order Management System: Enables residents to submit and track maintenance requests online, allowing for efficient issue resolution and improved communication.

Additional Features

  • Community Calendar and Event Management: Helps manage and promote community events, meetings, and activities.
  • Document Management System: Provides a secure and centralized location to store and share important documents like meeting minutes, policies, and financial statements.
  • Violation Tracking and Enforcement Tools: Assists in tracking and enforcing HOA violations efficiently and fairly.
  • Mobile App Access: Allows residents and volunteers to access the software and manage tasks conveniently on their mobile devices.

How-To: Utilize Features for Improved Efficiency

Streamline communication with residents using the built-in messaging module:

  1. Create different communication groups for residents, board members, or specific committees.
  2. Schedule automated email or text message blasts to announce important updates, meeting reminders, or community events.
  3. Utilize online forums for open discussions and resident feedback.

Reduce volunteer workload with online resident self-service:

  1. Implement an online portal allowing residents to pay dues, submit maintenance requests, and view important documents.
  2. Encourage residents to register and utilize the self-service portal through email campaigns and website announcements.
  3. Offer training sessions or video tutorials to guide residents on using the self-service features effectively.

Improve financial management with automated tools:

  1. Set up online payments for residents to pay dues and fees conveniently.
  2. Utilize automated invoicing and receipt generation to save time and ensure accuracy.
  3. Generate financial reports regularly to track income, expenses, and budget adherence.

By implementing these features and following these “How-To” sections, self-managed communities can leverage HOA software to overcome challenges, improve efficiency, and enhance resident satisfaction.

The Best Self Managed HOA Software 

Smartwebs 

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

Cloud-based

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 notably saves self-managed communities both time and money by offering a monthly subscription software solution. Moreover, our software is priced at a per-door rate, making it an extremely affordable option for self-managed communities. From a full-platform product (highly recommended) to a-la-carte software solutions, Smartwebs allows you to wisely spend your money only on the applications you are utilizing, thereby ensuring that your valuable resources are not wasted on features you don’t need. Consequently, this strategic approach ensures that every dollar spent is an investment towards enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of your community management.

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 not only keep your HOA’s information more secure but also often make it more readily available than traditional software programs can. This innovative approach enhances both security and accessibility, ensuring that your community’s data is both safe and easily accessible whenever needed. 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. 

Ready to see the Smartwebs Difference?

Running a self-managed HOA can indeed be very difficult. Moreover, it becomes even more daunting when you lack the right software to streamline the process. Get started with Smartwebs today to reduce your workload. Book a demo.