8 Features Every Self-Managed Condo Association Needs

Self Managed Condo Association

A self-managed condo association runs its community’s daily operations without a management company\’s assistance. Unlike associations managed by professional community association management companies, board members of self-managed condo associations are tasked with overseeing the day-to-day operations. While this grants your community more control and saves costs, it can also feel overwhelming because of time constraints.

Managing communications, data, maintenance, and resident inquiries can consume precious time, leaving little room for building community connections. However, technology can help lighten the load for self-managed condo associations. With the right technology platform, you can automate tasks, streamline operations, and improve resident satisfaction.

In this article, we’ll discuss 8 important features that can help your self-managed condo association automate time-consuming tasks and strengthen community relationships.

Why use self-managed condo association software? 

  • Create strong community relationships – Build community while informing residents through communication and self-service resources.
  • Get more done in less time – Keep track of important tasks and collaborate with other board members.  
  • Save your community money – Self-managed communities can save long-term costs by reducing manual labor and moving to digital processes. 
  • Protect your community’s data – Security measures can help protect sensitive information, safeguarding residents\’ privacy and preventing unauthorized access.
  • Compliance – Based on your local regulations or governing documents, some communities are required to leverage software for data retention purposes.

1) Resident Communications

Board members often struggle to communicate and get residents on the same page.  Between overwhelmed communication channels, language barriers, generational preferences, and making sure residents receive the message, communication can be a challenge.  Let’s unpack these hurdles and discuss what features to consider when evaluating software. 

Overwhelmed communication channels

Managing numerous communication channels like newsletters, emails, websites, social media, notice boards, and more can feel overwhelming. First, concentrate on a small handful of communication channels where residents are most likely to stay informed.  As you learn more about your residents’ communication preferences, you can scale it up and use other channels. 

It\’s vital to ensure the technology platform you\’re considering provides you with various ways to connect with residents through phone, text, email, postal mailing, website, or portals. With Pilera, self-managed condos can effectively communicate with residents by enabling them to select their preferred methods of communication.

Cultural barriers/generational gaps

In culturally diverse communities, bridging communication gaps is essential to ensuring that residents not only receive messages but can easily understand them. Additionally, generational differences in communities can influence how you connect with residents, considering their communication preferences and comfort level with technology.   

Evaluating technology for your self-managed condo association should involve considering whether the software allows for language translation in email or text messages. It\’s important that residents have the option to choose their preferred language and set their communication preferences. With Pilera, emails and text messages can automatically be translated into 100 languages. Phone calls can be made in Spanish.

Lack of feedback mechanism

One hurdle that board members often encounter is whether residents receive messages and how to gather feedback. Implementing a feedback tool that enables board members to understand what’s working efficiently in the condo association while identifying areas that need improvement is important.  

Choose a technology partner that enables residents to respond to your community notices and archive these correspondences within the system for future referencing.  Your software platform should also maintain a clear record of every message sent, recipient, and delivery confirmation.  Additionally, delivery confirmation and analytics should give you insights into delivery status, responses, and bounces.  

Pilera’s communication platform provides delivery confirmation for phone calls, emails, and text messages. Additionally, when residents respond to emails, their responses and attachments can be tracked directly within Pilera.

Does your communication software have these features? 

  • Resident communication & language preferences
  • Mass messaging
  • Text, phone, email, and postal mailing
  • Distribution groups based on unit and location
  • Email reply tracking
  • Message archives
  • Emergency messaging
  • Delivery confirmation
  • Language Translation
  • Advanced scheduling 

2) Maintenance Tracking

Keeping up with the community’s maintenance repairs is vital to a condo association\’s health. When maintenance repairs are successfully managed, you can improve resident satisfaction, maintain property value and community appeal, help keep the premises safe, and reduce unplanned expenses. But it\’s no secret that many condo associations grapple with handling maintenance duties, keeping track of resolutions, and handling unforeseen repairs. Let’s explore these challenges and how software can help you manage them. 

Coordinating maintenance tasks

The stress and confusion that come with endless work requests, each one more urgent than the last, can be intense. Your team is scrambling to track and prioritize maintenance issues. Meanwhile, the residents grow frustrated with the perceived delays in work order resolutions.   Your vendors, too, are left hanging, waiting for information and coordination. 

HOA maintenance software can help you better manage work orders and scheduling so everyone knows their responsibilities and nothing slips through the cracks unnoticed. With Pilera\’s maintenance software, you can set due dates and priorities and assign tickets to staff or vendors. With Pilera, you can also access visual charts that offer insights at a glance on work orders by priority, category, and vendor.  

Managing unexpected repairs 

Condo associations may face unforeseen repairs resulting from structural damage or equipment failure, leading to high costs, time investments, and stress for leaders. These unexpected maintenance projects can also trigger an increase in assessment fees, causing frustration among residents. To prevent such unexpected costs, managing routine maintenance repairs effectively is crucial.

Whether your community is dealing with emergency issues or large repairs identified in community reserve studies, having a well-defined plan for urgent maintenance is essential. This involves maintaining a comprehensive database of trustworthy vendors you can quickly contact for assistance. It is equally important to regularly check and ensure that vendors\’ licenses and Certificates of Insurance (COIs) are up to date, so you can minimize the community\’s liability for incidents involving uninsured vendors.

Consider a software platform that enables you to monitor key vendor information, including staff contacts, email communications, and timely reminders for license expirations. This proactive approach ensures a more efficient response to maintenance issues while reducing potential risks for the community.

Keeping track of maintenance resolutions 

Data retention is vital, yet many condo associations struggle to retrieve information when needed.  There are many reasons why condo associations may need to access historical work order information, such as onboarding new board members, addressing resident complaints, evaluating vendor performance, or handling legal matters.  However, relying on traditional methods such as emails, sticky notes, and spreadsheets can be inefficient, as they can be lost or fail to provide details on what transpired.  

HOA maintenance software can help you track work orders from creation to closure. It is important to select work order software that can capture all relevant information, including creation dates, assigned vendors, unit details, documents, photos, resident and vendor comments, resolution dates, and more. This ensures thorough documentation and easy retrieval of maintenance history, facilitating efficient operations and minimizing potential legal risks. Pilera\’s work order software provides automatic audit logs that document every action taken on a work order, giving you insights from start to finish.

Maintenance features to look for: 

  • Resident service requests
  • Unit work orders
  • Common area work order tracking
  • Attach photos & documents 
  • Work order assignments
  • Vendor communication
  • Vendor data tracking
  • License expiration reminders
  • Visual charts 
  • Audit log 

3) Task management for board meetings & beyond

Having a clear agenda is important to facilitate a smooth board meeting. Condo board members often struggle with long, disorganized meetings and keeping everyone focused.  

Task management technology can help organize all the tasks you need to bring up during a board meeting and even beyond it. It also opens up a collaborative workspace for you and other fellow board members to work together on community tasks and issues. With Pilera\’s task management feature, board members can collaborate with one another by assigning tasks, updating everyone on projects as they progress, and leaving comments.

Task management features to look out for: 

  • Task creation and assignment
  • Set priorities and due dates
  • Categorize by topic
  • Update Status
  • Communicate with other board members
  • Automatic email notifications 
  • Dashboards and reports 

4) Document Sharing

Overseeing a condo association involves keeping track of various documents, such as financial records, budgets, CC&Rs, and more, for legal and resident transparency purposes.  Without a centralized system in place, managing documents can become chaotic.  This may frustrate residents and eat up valuable time of board members, which could be dedicated to more strategic tasks.  There are also security concerns to contend with.  Without proper security measures, you may be leaving the door wide open to unauthorized access or even losing important data.   

It’s important to choose a document management platform that allows you to manage files easily and takes security seriously.  Instead of losing hours to answering resident questions or recovering lost files, you can channel your time and energy to more strategic tasks. Pilera’s document-sharing feature enables you to restrict access to files by roles, organize them with subfolders, and upload new versions of files when needed.

Document sharing features to look out for:

  • Folder and subfolder organization
  • Share via a secure link
  • Restrict access to documents based on user role
  • Unlimited document storage
  • Upload new versions of documents

5) Streamlining Architectural Change Request approvals 

Residents frequently work on home renovation projects to enhance their living experience, boost their property’s value, or improve their home’s safety.  Board members of self-managed associations are tasked with reviewing ACR requests. They oftentimes will form a dedicated committee to manage the approval process.  ACR processes are often lengthy, leading to delays and resident dissatisfaction.  

It is important to choose an ACR software solution that simplifies the process of submitting and reviewing an ACR, complete with images and documents.  It should facilitate the board members’ approval process and efficiently communicate the decision to the residents.  This approach can transform a potentially frustrating experience into a streamlined, resident-friendly process.  

ACR features to consider:

  • Resident submissions
  • Photos and documents
  • Special instructions before ACR submission
  • ACR committees
  • Board approval/decline
  • E-notification to residents
  • Comments & Collaboration 
  • Reports
  • Visual charts 

6) Sending RFPs & Hiring Vendors    

Condo associations often need a vendor for regular repairs or capital expenditure projects. To perform due diligence in hiring, it’s best practice to send a Request for Proposal to potential vendors to establish a clear project scope and get pricing.  

However, the challenges of getting well-defined project scopes, limited vendor participation, and evaluating options can feel overwhelming. This is where a Request for Proposal management tool can help. It centralizes all activities related to your community’s RFPs in one place, including communications, responses, documents, vendor information, and license expirations.  

Pilera’s RFP management tool enables you to make more informed vendor choices, ensuring compliance and cost-effectiveness in the process. With our RFP management platform, you can centralize all activities related to your RFP process, such as documents, conversations, and vendors, all in one place.    

Features to consider in RFP management: 

  • Create RFPs and send them to vendors.
  • Manage vendor information and communication
  • License expiration notifications for compliance tracking
  • Vendor and staff reply tracking
  • Review vendor responses
  • Visual charts and reports 

7) Resident Engagement

As self-managed condo associations often operate with limited resources and time, it can be challenging to dedicate attention and effort toward resident engagement and feedback amidst operational tasks.  Providing your community with a resident portal can help it become more self-sufficient while creating a sense of community.  When your community is more self-reliant, it frees up your time for strategic planning and decision-making. 

Invest in a resident portal software that offers your residents many ways to be informed and engaged. Ideally, the software should allow residents easy access to community information, submit service requests, and connect with other residents, all with minimal manual intervention. Pilera’s resident portal provides secure access to important community information and empowers residents to be more connected to their community.

Features to consider for Resident Engagement:

  • Easy, secure resident login
  • Request support and work orders
  • Submit ACRs
  • View documents, directories, and events 
  • Participate in discussion boards
  • Manage guests and contacts
  • Online payment

8) Voting & Elections 

Shaping a community\’s future often involves condo associations conducting votes or elections to make important decisions or to elect board members.  However, between security concerns, the laborious task of vote counting by hand, and the necessity for numerous meetings to finalize a decision, voting can be a real hassle for self-managed condo associations.

Security and ease of use should be top of mind when choosing voting software. Many residents are concerned about the integrity of their community’s voting process, so it’s important to consider software with tamper-resistant technology that can prevent misuse. 

PileraVOTES offers a more secure and streamlined way to run voting or elections in your self-managed condo association compared to generic forms. With features such as tamper-resistant technology, real-time ballot tracking, and customizable questions, community leaders can conduct fair voting and improve decision-making.

Features to consider for Voting and Elections:

  • Easy to use & modern voter portal
  • Surveys, amendment changes, and elections
  • Custom questions and write-in candidates
  • Fractional voting with unit weights
  • Restrict to one vote per unit
  • Secure access link
  • Tamper-evident technology
  • Visual charts & reports

Build Community Relationships with Self-Managed Condo Software

While managing a self-managed condo association brings autonomy and cost savings, it also presents challenges because of time constraints and operational efficiency. However, technology can help lighten the load by improving organization and collaboration. 

To recap, 8 features that can take your self-managed condo association to the next level include:

  1. Communication – Keep residents informed by communicating with them according to their preferences.  
  2. Maintenance Tracking – Streamline community repairs and resident requests through vendor and staff assignment and organization. 
  3. Task Management – Keep track of important tasks and collaborate with other board members. 
  4. Document Sharing – Securely share documents with residents and organize them to be easily accessible. 
  5. Architectural Change Request – Streamline the approval process for resident\’s ACR requests.
  6. RFP & Vendor Management – Choose the most appropriate vendor for your community projects and get clear project scopes. 
  7. Resident Engagement – Create more self-reliant communities and reduce your team’s workload. 
  8. Voting & Elections – Shape your community’s future, improve decision-making, and save time with secure and accessible elections software.

About Pilera

Pilera Software is the premier community management software that has helped thousands of board members enhance communications, streamline operations, and enhance compliance. If you would like to learn how Pilera can help improve efficiency and reduce costs, book a personalized demo

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