Why Online Support Has Never Been More Critical
The idea of taking the ‘real-time’ physical community of an HOA to a ‘virtual community’ of online support has been around for quite some time. A website, enabling ‘instant’ communication between the board of trustees and individual members is the current topic of discussion amongst many HOA boards.
The ins and outs of online support
While this idea is generally welcomed by most, some common concerns include the cost of the web development process and the monitoring of online message boards or chat forums. Monitoring by volunteer trustees of the board would take time from board volunteers with other home and job commitments. Hiring personnel to respond is an option, but that could amount to a significant budget increase that would need to be passed on to homeowners via their HOA fee assessment. Some HOA board members have information privacy concerns that their community’s website will be hacked or copied by those posing as community members, giving the general public inaccurate or false information.
Welcoming your digital presence
It may be time to cast these doubts and fears to the wind and realize that it is the 21st century. The speed of digital communication between the board of trustees, property management team, and individual homeowners is the most significant benefit of having an online support system, not to mention informative.
Imagine the satisfaction of homeowners who can quickly place a maintenance request with one simple online form and instantly receive an automated e-mail reply. Imagine the ease of paying the HOA monthly maintenance fee online and homeowners having access to their accounts that show ‘at a glance’ the monthly assessments paid. They’ll also have the satisfaction of receiving community updates regularly, so they know they are informed. With an HOA online support website, community members can instantly download the community’s documents such as the rules, regulations, policies or financial information.
In a digital world, an HOA website can be another means of keeping the community connected via e-mail, rather than ‘snail mail,’ and cut down, but not eliminate, the cost of printed material to make community announcements. A website may bring the community to know their board members better as well as pertinent community issues and information.
The decision to create a website, have an online chat forum or message board, and whether to have it exclusively monitored by the community, or an outside management firm, can be a daunting task. AR Management has the expertise to advise and guide HOA boards in deciding on administrative upgrades. Contact us today!