RealManage Insight

Creating a Support App for Your Homeowner Community

by Katie Vaughan on Aug 19, 2021 9:40:00 AM

The one thing that is true about any community is that it evolves. The first formal HOA was founded in the late 1940s, a neighborhood of affordable homes for veterans. The trend kicked off by the 1960s expansion boom when many new neighborhoods were needed all at once. An HOA board could communicate with member-residents via flyers, newsletters, and occasional visits in those times. If a member had something important to talk about, they could bring it to the next neighborhood or condo community council meeting.

Of course, in the meantime, the means of communication have changed a great deal between people and organizations. Today, it's far more common to send an email, a text, or open a chat than to attend an in-person meeting. However, we find that many HOAs are still limited to the flyer, newsletter, and meeting to keep the community together. Today, technology is the best way to hold a community together. Connect through a mobile app and manage through a web portal. 

Connecting with High-Tech Modern Residents

Many HOAs are already upgrading their community outreach to online realms. The modern homeowner has little time for a stroll to the clubhouse, but they do have time to check the online community calendar. Today, most people discard paper mail in favor of digital inboxes. They handle everything from yoga class to paying the bills through mobile apps. Unfortunately, the modern homeowner has been connecting through web portals for so long that they assume everything has a website.

Fortunately, an HOA or condo association has a lot to gain from a digital presence. A website and mobile app make it possible to keep in touch with your community like never before. 

Homeowner Accounts and Logins

Give each homeowner their account and secure login. A homeowner's association is a private community of individuals, and so too should your website and app reflect this individualist approach. Provide one login per property so that each account represents a home within your association. This account can become the management dashboard and communication center for each member's HOA or condo property.

Account Information Attuned to Each Property

Furnish each account with information unique to their property. For example, highlight their property on a map of the building or neighborhood. Then, on the dashboard and calendars, share specific tips on how members can best take care of their property based on its location in the community and adjacent to other properties or shared spaces.

For example, provide brick wall maintenance tips for a home bordering the neighborhood's privacy wall or tell-tale signs of roof damage for a condo on the top floor.

Then provide tools and dashboard information to help each member manage their account based on the state of their property. This is also where, say, grass length warnings should appear before a fee is assessed.

Payment Portal for Dues & Fees

One of the most incredible things about online accounts for an HOA is the payment portal. Payment portals send in dues, pay for events, and cover fees quickly and easily for the community. You can also remove some of the emotional weight of dealing with community costs and create a precise digital record for each member's payments and property by taking out the hassle.

Interactive Community Calendar with RSVP

The primary purpose of most Association websites is to share the community calendar but increase the quality of your community app. Make an interactive calendar that can be searched for specific events and provides the ability to RSVP for community parties or meetings. In addition, your calendar can serve as a scheduling tool for meetings with council members, as well as a welcoming list of ways new and old members can enjoy the community.

List various items on the calendar, from when the pool opens in the summer to when members should expect to see the annual maintenance crews around.

Communication Hub for Neighbours, Council, and Maintenance

Last but certainly not least, include a communication hub similar to Slack or Google Chat. Provide a way for members to contact each other and form chat groups about anything they care to talk about. Give everyone a channel to message the council about maintenance or policy concerns and directly to maintenance if maintenance requests are part of your community flow (more common in condo buildings). 

A chat hub with living and asynchronous messaging can not only provide for handy message-sending. In addition, it can bring your community together online in a way that neighbors rarely talk to each other in person anymore.

Building an App for Your Homeowner Community

Mobile apps with web-portal counterparts are easy to make these days by hiring the right designer. You might find what you need out of the box and ready to pop your HOA logo on the front. The key is not how long it takes to make the app but what the app does for your community. Payment portals, live calendars, and community chat are the way of the future homeowner community. So jump on the cutting edge and give your members that digital venue that can inspire better home maintenance, prevent penalty fees, and bring the community together as physical and digital neighbors.

Any HOA committee can decide to have an app designed for the community. Community software is part of your purview in securing resources that every homeowner member can use. Online web portals and mobile apps have become a part of every type of modern organization, including your community.

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