October 28, 2020

Self-managed HOA Software: 3 Tools to Run a Single HOA

Have you ever checked how much of your day goes towards running your self-managed HOA? Are you wondering if there’s a way to reclaim at least some of that time back? 

Good news, there is. You see, many software packages can help running a small HOA more easily. These programs help streamline administrative and many other tasks, saving you and the self-managed HOA time and resources in the process.

In this post, you’ll learn everything about self-managed HOA software options that you could consider. 

Before we get there, though, let’s talk about why you should invest in software to help run your HOA.

What Running a Self-managed HOA Looks Like

Think about everything that happens in your small HOA in a typical week. 

  • You or another board member might spend time reviewing financial records. 
  • You’ll also have to process maintenance requests, issue work orders, and collect online payments from tenants and residents. 
  • You must manage a team, including the board and other stakeholders in the HOA. 
  • Then, there is all the communication with residents, and doing that is no small feat either. 
  • Enforcing CC&R rules can take up a lot of time too. 
  • Finally, in any given week, someone also has to manage and update the community website, to ensure that all the information is up to date. 

And that is just the tip of the iceberg, isn’t it?

Then, there’s all the work required to maintain HOAs records. Practically all of the tasks on the list require information and data entry to complete, after all. 

Take CC&R violations, for example. You need to track them and know where you are in the process of resolving each of them. And for that, you need to keep records of everything. 

The same goes for maintaining financial reports, keeping track of service requests, and more. 

Many self-managed HOAs use the simplest tool to track their data - Spreadsheets

HOA managers often use them to track CC&R violations. And although the tool gives them all the access to the data, managing those records is a tedious and never-ending process. Not to mention that it can lead to human errors and omissions. 

That’s where software comes in. 

Various self-managed HOA software packages help streamline these tasks and processes and even speed up completing them. 

Benefits of Using Self-managed HOA Software

A software can help you run the HOA in many ways:

  • First and foremost, using software will save you time. It will also simplify many aspects of running your self-managed HOA.  Since you can access all the information instantly, and often also via a mobile app, you can process tasks and requests much faster. Not to mention that many software packages allow automating many processes. As a result, they can complete some of the tasks without your active involvement.
  • With software, everyone involved in running your self-managed HOA will have instant access to the data. Since you’d be using a web-based solution, you will no longer have to forward spreadsheets to other people or give them access to a shared computer to access the information. 
  • The software simplifies continuity. Any time there is a change on the board, the data on the cloud continues, and new members can pick up right where their predecessors have left off. 
  • Finally, using software reduces the possibility of errors or omissions in the data. The software will complete many tasks automatically, after all, and might flag inconsistencies in the data as well. 

3 Best Software Packages to Run a Small HOA

We’ve covered what self-managed HOA software is and why you should consider implementing various packages to help run your association. 

But what packages should you consider, specifically? Which software would work best for your small HOA?

In this section, you’ll discover what we believe are the three most essential software packages that help with the most critical (and often, time-consuming) aspects of running an HOA:

  • Financial Management,
  • CC&R Enforcement, 
  • Communications.

(A side note: If you’re looking for packages that would help streamline other HOA activities, like manage a website or build a community portal, check out our full list of HOA software tools.)

#1. Financial Management Software - QuickBooks

Financial management is one of the critical aspects of running a small HOA, and QuickBooks is the most common accounting software choice to streamline the process. 

For one, QuickBooks is an industry-standard for accounting. It is also relatively easy to use for a self-managed board or utilize a bookkeeper or accountant for this part of the HOA duties. QuickBooks is also relatively cost-effective and accessible even to smaller HOAs.

At the same time, QuickBooks is one of the most robust accounting packages on the market. It features all the functionality a small, self-managed HOA would require, including full cashflow management, online payments, financial reporting, and more. 

(Image - Quickbooks)

#2. CC&R Enforcement - HOALife

CC&R enforcement - inspections, tracking violations, reporting - is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. But it has to be done. Enforcing CC&R rules is one of the primary duties of any HOA, after all. 

The problem, it takes a lot of effort and time, particularly if you do it manually.

Juggling a camera and clipboard at every inspection isn’t fun. Nor is compiling reports in Excel and Word and sending out and tracking violation letters. When done manually, the process is impractical for any meaningful enforcement. 

HOALife makes this entire violation enforcement process easy. What’s more, the tool has been designed from the ground up to streamline this one, particularly HOA duty. 

With HOALife, conducting inspections is easy, and you can import data via a mobile app on the spot. The software also generates violation letters and reports automatically. 

HOALife is a cloud-based tool. As a result, all your records are available anywhere and allows any stakeholder access to the data. 

In short, HOALife provides a way to have a friendlier violations process that defends against “selective enforcement” and allows for two-way communications between violators and the Board. 

HOALife Violation Software

Try HOALife for Free!

#3. Communications - Constant Contact

Communicating with residents and tenants is another critical aspect of running a small HOA. You must keep the neighborhood infrared about any new developments within the association and the area as well. 

In practice, this means that you have to send at least a semi-regular email newsletter and keep the website up to date. 

Constant Contact is a software platform that will help with both of those tasks. 

This email marketing software features all the capabilities a self-managed HOA would require to notify residents of the latest development and engage the community.

A bonus is the platform’s website building feature. It allows you to create a professional-looking, fully mobile-optimized website in a matter of minutes. 

(Image - ConstantContact)

Conclusion

Running a self-managed HOA can take a lot of time, effort, and resources. Luckily, many of those tasks can be streamlined with dedicated software that helps:

  • Automate tedious and time-consuming tasks,
  • Provide all stakeholders with instant access to the data to speed up task completion, 
  • Eliminate human errors and omissions, and 
  • Allows for easy continuity in case of changes to the HOA’s board. 

In this post, you’ve discovered three of the best self-managed HOA software tools. Try them out, and see if they’d fit your HOA requirements too.

Good luck.