With the advent of the internet, more and more homeowners associations are turning to technological tools. If your HOA is considering whether an HOA website would be worthwhile or if you are considering updating your existing HOA website, then it is wise to review the information below.
In this article:
Does Your HOA Need an HOA Website?
Previously, it was quite common for a homeowner who was unhappy with their HOA to knock on doors, write letters, and hand-deliver their notes to HOA board members.
HOAs also used to update residents with any proposed changes and announcements by sliding fliers under resident doors or posting them in elevators. This method often led to confusion amongst residents since many times, they would not get important information or updates from their HOA.
In addition, HOA board members used to physically collect dues and communicate with residents through printed newsletters and physical bulletin boards. Due to the advances in technology that have occurred in recent years, HOAs have the possibility of utilizing community websites for various services including dues collection, maintenance, meeting organization, and security management.
The Benefits of Having an HOA Custom Website
One of the most important tasks of your HOA is to have positive communication with your residents. Without proper communication, you might have unnecessary misunderstandings with residents, which can escalate to potential lawsuits later on.
Residents need reassurance to know their HOA board of directors is operating with complete transparency. They want to know their opinions and thoughts are valued. Through constant communication, the HOA board of directors needs to inspire trust with its residents.
An HOA website is a valuable tool to automate and improve communication. This way, residents never feel neglected or not informed.
While improved communication is one of the major benefits of having an HOA website, it is only the beginning of the incredible benefits that an HOA can experience from investing in a custom website that is tailored to the needs of their community.
With a homeowners association website, you can do the following with ease:
1. Share Governing Documents of Your HOA
Many residents are unaware of the governing documents of their HOA. They are also unaware of how to obtain access to HOA governing documents.
It is important for residents to access these documents should they have a question about any particular regulation that their community is enforcing. By having the governing documents of your HOA on the website of your HOA, residents can read these provisions anytime. This saves your HOA board members from having to respond to resident questions about governing documents since they will be readily accessible to residents.
2. Distribute Important Announcements or Event Information
Whenever there are important announcements or events taking place, it is possible to customize a section of your HOA website to include information about those upcoming events. By doing so, you can notify residents of important announcements or upcoming events.
Furthermore, you can generate email blasts or send out electronic newsletters to remind residents to check their website about important deadlines or events as they arise in the community.
3. Make Information About Community Amenities and Facilities Readily Available
Many residents do not use community amenities or facilities due to a lack of information. By having information about what community amenities or facilities are available, residents can take more advantage of what their community has to offer. Additionally, they can see the value that their HOA is bringing to their community.
4. Eliminate Duplicate Work Along with Reducing Mailing and Printing Costs
Historically, HOAs spend a great deal of time and money on mailing and printing costs. This is particularly true for HOAs that have hundreds of residents to manage.
Having a website and email strategy is vital to reducing mailing and printing costs. Some HOAs even have text message reminders when required.
This also reduces the cost of traditional mailing and printing fees. If your HOA is looking to make a substantial improvement in your budget, reducing printing and mailing costs is a great area to save a considerable amount of capital through having a custom HOA website.
5. Collect Dues and Fees Online
One issue that HOAs face is how to collect dues from their residents. If HOAs can collect fees from their residents promptly, they can pay for their required fees much easier. Previously, fees needed to be paid with personal checks, which took time to arrive. If a resident forgot to pay their fees, it took additional time to receive their check.
If your HOA can receive payments electronically, it will greatly improve the cash flow of your organization so that you can make any required payments on time. It is important for your HOA to remember that the easier your organization makes it for residents to pay their required fees, the less late fees you will have each month, which will make a positive impact on your organization.
6. Share Records of Meeting Minutes
Many residents may not be able to attend meetings that contain important information about the community due to scheduling conflicts. Some states already require the minutes to be readily available.
By posting the meeting minutes, residents and HOA board members who missed the meeting can enlighten themselves. This is particularly beneficial to avoid misunderstandings.
When considering how to construct the most useful website for your residents, make sure to consider having meeting minutes from all prior meetings available. This way, all the information that was discussed and decided is clear. Your residents will view this favorably since it demonstrates the commitment of your HOA to transparency.
The Pitfalls of an HOA Website
Of course, having an HOA website is not all positive. There are also some disadvantages associated with setting them up. For instance, having a website can potentially expose your association to liability.
This includes anything from the invasion of privacy to defamation. To avoid legal risks, make sure to consult with your association’s attorney prior to building the website.
Additionally, if you intend to give homeowners the ability to post or comment on the website, see to it that you have guidelines in place. This way, you can prevent any misunderstandings, rantings, accusatory or derogatory language, and heated arguments.
Another common pitfall is infrequent posting. When your HOA constructs a custom website, it is important to keep it constantly updated. Failure to make use of your website could lead to homeowners disregarding it completely. In the end, it is a waste of money.
Make Your Decision Wisely
Before diving head-first into a decision, your HOA board should weigh the pros and cons of HOA websites. While it is clear that having a custom website has many benefits, any HOA that considers setting one up should know how to avoid the common pitfalls. In addition, your HOA board must ensure your association has enough funds and manpower to build and maintain the website.
If your association needs help in this area, consider partnering with an HOA management company like us. Give us a call anytime.
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