Apps for Better Neighborhoods and Homeowners Associations
Recently I joined the board of the Homeowners Association in my neighborhood and discovered what many others have discovered about their HOA: a lot of frustration around management of the community and the lack of support the residents receive from the board. According to the Community Associations Institute trade association, it is estimated that HOAs govern 24.8 million American homes and 62 million residents. This leaves about twenty percent of Americans living in a community managed by an HOA.
On each HOA, the board of directors are required to make decisions regarding the association, including management of the association’s finances, protecting the associations tangible and intangible assets, and enforcing the governing documents. Often times, the board of directors contract a community management company to help manage the finances, complete work orders and maintain a standard of living in the neighborhoods they manage.
Wanting to make it easier to complete work orders in the community, know all my neighbors, and help maintain a standard within my own neighborhood, I created a couple Fulcrum apps to help with these tasks.
Sharing Resident Information
Our HOA Resident Directory App is designed to put all neighbor contacts at your fingertips. It makes it possible for each board member to know who everyone is, their phone number, email addresses, and of course mailing address. If the property manager is also given access to the app, they can update each property with the history of the property, late payments, past fines, or other details that are important to record. The app also allows for quick capture of violations with a photo. It is even possible to cut and paste a pre-scripted letter to email the resident of the violation. The app then keeps records of each warning letter and photo proof of the violation so when it happen again there is a record of all warnings sent.
An additional app that I highly recommend using in conjunction with Fulcrum is Nextdoor. Nextdoor is free private social network for your neighborhood community. If the HOA supports the adoption of Nextdoor, it will help gather the contact information for the HOA Resident Directory app quickly.
People are using Nextdoor to:
- Quickly get the word out about a break-in
- Organize a Neighborhood Watch Group
- Track down a trustworthy babysitter
- Find out who does the best paint job in town
- Ask for help keeping an eye out for a lost dog
- Find a new home for an outgrown bike
- Finally call that nice man down the street by his first name
Managing Neighborhood Assets & Amenities
The HOA Asset Report App allows the HOA board to quickly collect all assets in the neighborhood including light posts, signs, equipment, trash cans, gates, etc. Start by adding board members to the account and asking each member to collect all assets near their home until all assets are collected. This took me a few walks around my neighborhood to accomplish. When something is reported as broken and needs maintenance, the status of that asset can be changed to “Needs Attention” and if setup with Zapier, an email to the property manager can be sent so the item can be replaced or fixed in a timely manner. It keeps everyone on the same page and accountable. Once the issue is handled, the property manager can update the status of the record and all board members can be notified of the job completion.
While using Fulcrum and Nextdoor combined, board members and property managers together can now respond to issues in a coordinated and transparent way. With better communication and more transparency in the community an HOA can better serve the neighborhood it was design to support.