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Buyer's Guide

by Taylor Short,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: March 15, 2017

Condominium managers spend the majority of their time managing maintenance of a complex's common areas, managing tenant relationships and assigning duties accordingly. Since these areas are shared, a homeowners association (HOA) makes decisions as a group regarding the properties. This is where HOA software comes into play.

Common Features of HOA & Condo Management Software

Association management An HOA is about more than just the individuals, it requires management of the association itself. This means corporate information, assets, rules and bylaws, meeting details (dates/minutes/attendance), elections and more.
State regulations HOAs must comply with state statutes governing associations. Although these vary from state to state, associations must ensure the enforcement of regulations. Managers must be aware of their authority to charge mandatory fees, enforce maintenance requirements and maintain quality of association properties.
Tenant/owner communication Store detailed information on each resident, including service requests, participation in community activities and special needs (for emergency services). This information helps streamline communication to and among residents within the HOA.
Administrative functions When selecting a system, HOA and condo association software should consider which administrative functions they want to integrate into their condo and HOA accounting software. Some programs can be combined with homeowners association accounting and tenant and lease and building maintenance management system for a complete system.

Buildium software user dashboard

Buildium software user dashboard

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Before purchasing software, you’ll want to know what kind of a buyer you are. HOA and condo management is a small market that is part of the larger property management software segment. A majority of the profiles we see in this market fall in the following categories:

Self-managed HOA and condos: As the name suggests, self-managed HOAs and condos are for owners who want to manage the home’s day-to-day operations on their own. This kind of management style comes with its own challenges and rewards. Some of the challenges are lack of experience or training in running a community, enforcement of rules defined by a board across the community and finding the right volunteer to manage everything. The self-management style also has a few advantages, such as low monthly unit fees, transparency and reliability of community accounts as well as no interference of external management. This type of management is best suited for small units because managing a large number of units manually requires a lot of time and effort.

Third-party property management buyer: Properties with a large number of condos and HOAs hire a third-party property management company to manage their community operations. If you are a third-party company that manages multiple condos or HOAs, you may want to opt for a condo management software. A wide range of software is available in the market that is suitable for small units (of up to 50) to large units (of more than 10,000). SaaS-based condo management software, which is currently trending, are low cost and provide multiple options for access. Some property management software have the capability to manage multiple types of properties, including condos and HOAs. Check out our guide for more information on property management software.

Expected Benefits

Condominiums and HOAs that opt for management software may realize many benefits that include the following:

  • Residents can participate in the association’s decision-making via emails, discussion forums and online surveys. They can be kept up to date with the latest notices and announcements by sending emails and displaying content on community web portals.
  • Users can download important building documents, such as rules and regulations and minutes of board meetings, as well as check rental/sales listings and forms. All these documents can be accessed via a community web portal or mobile apps.
  • Condo managers can manage, track and analyze the association’s budget and expenses such as unit fees, late fees and other utility bills.
  • The software help users maintain the community calendar, schedule meetings and manage staffing.
  • Use of the software encourages a paperless culture as the bulk of the tasks is done digitally.

Key Features to Consider

Here are a few factors to consider while evaluating the various options in the market:

Consider what medium of communication is more comfortable for the residents. With the widespread use of the latest technology, residents are now accustomed to using electronic devices such as mobiles and tablets. One should consider a system that integrates with communication medium such email, text messages, web portal or even a mobile app.

Enable an easy method of online payment collection. Collecting funds, unit fees, rent and other required payments becomes much easier when it is done online rather than manually. In addition, residents have the freedom of paying online from anywhere and anytime.

Use maintenance requests to track issues. This feature helps residents submit a service request and track it until it’s been resolved.

Take care of all accounting and reporting needs. The system should be able to take care of all the accounting needs of the association or condominium. Users should be able to generate monthly reports that feature all the accurate financial records.

Manage all documents within the solution. Document management is an important factor to consider while evaluating solutions. This feature allows residents, committee members and other stakeholders to download and review documents, including HOA rules, society by-laws notices, forms and other files, when required.

Market Trends to Understand

Software as a Service (SaaS). Many managers are opting for Web- or cloud-based HOA management software that they can access from anywhere, rather than on-premise solutions. Hosted systems boast a less costly initial investment than on-site servers. Cloud-based solutions provide the convenience for accessing pertinent data about a specific community or an entire portfolio of properties.

SaaS deployment is gaining popularity for many reasons—among them, that Web-based software is easily accessible on mobile devices, making data and programs available on-the-go. However, not all Web-based software is optimized for use on the smaller screens of smartphones or tablets. For more on mobile HOA software use, see our mobile property management apps guide.

Community-based websites. A common feature of condominium management software and homeowners association software is a personalized, community-based website. These portals often lead to increased attendance to HOA meetings, and allow residents the opportunity to interconnect with public postings, event invitations or announcements, building a sense of community.

Automated fund collection. Similar to automated payments for landlords, HOA dues and other fees can be collected via an online portal, simplifying the transaction process for both HOA/condo managers and community residents.

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HOA Software Comparison Guide

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Property Management Software Pricing Guide


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