A community is a network of people who look out for each other. It’s more than just neighbors—it’s a group working together towards a common goal.
As such, it is imperative to get full involvement from all the members of your community to create solutions that work for everyone. But bringing people together in an organized way can be tough to do without a medium and infrastructure to help. A homeowners’ association (HOA) is one way that we do it, and even those have a long way to go before they provide a smooth path to togetherness.
A (very) brief history of the HOA
Homeowners’ associations evolved as a new form of common interest developments (CIDs), which were the result of urban planning movements after World War II. As soldiers returned home, more affordable and available automobiles made it increasingly feasible for families to exit city life and move to the suburbs, with its abundant common area spaces for growing families. From this, CIDs formed into HOAs for the purpose of privatizing residential government and removing local governments from the conversation. Now, over 60 million Americans find themselves living in communities bound by homeowners’ associations.
The responsibilities of an HOA are established by a Board that is typically a group of community members. This is important because it gives incentive for the board to operate for the betterment of the whole community. Their responsibilities are to create community solutions like policies and events for the community, ensure that the neighborhood’s buildings are visually appealing (both for the benefit of current residents and to attract future buyers), and manage a budget of fees paid by the residents. These fees go towards building upkeep, paying any applicable taxes, and providing resources for residents.
With the advancement of technology, managing an HOA is now becoming even simpler. However, organization is far from the only desired goal—communities need tech that will bring them together.
Miscommunication divides communities
Our chaotic lives and crazy schedules too often mean that regularly and casually interacting with neighbors and knowing their stories is a thing of the past. We don’t take the time to get to know those that live around us. In short, community is declining. We have become digitally hyper-connected but physically disconnected from our own communities.
Despite it being so simple to chat to someone across the world, we often find it difficult to say hello across the fence, or to know where to start when it comes to welcoming a new person into the neighborhood. It’s a little more awkward than it used to be, and this breakdown in communication between neighbors is what divides us.
Your community will always need things. Whether they be updates to community offices, a new gate, or the resources and ability to handle a legal issue affecting residents, there will constantly be logistics to be dealt with. With this comes a responsibility for an HOA to properly communicate the correct information about issues facing the community as a whole, and their plan to solve them. Unfortunately, these issues tend to turn into a game of “telephone”, and incorrect information gets distributed. Confusion and distrust often ensue! This will only make the HOA’s job even more difficult.
The community manager has a large plate of responsibilities including budget management, liability management, building management and, on top of that, ensuring that all residents are following the community’s general HOA rules. These unglamorous, unpaid and often unpopular responsibilities, as well as the time needed to deal with the many homeowners involved in each issue, means that many people are not eager to take on HOA leadership positions. But with the right community involvement and the right solutions in place, HOA management can become a much simpler task.
Technology can bring people together.
And not just those in opposite corners of the globe! Technology is making it easier than ever to manage issues and communicate effectively in a way that benefits communities. Sending an alert out to your neighbors about recent crime in the area, a leaking community roof, upcoming local events, or introduce a newcomer, for example, can now be done with the push of a button.
Many communities have websites that exist to communicate basic needs like collecting rent, where to contact the HOA, your address, and important community documents. However, these sites are often little more than rarely-updated notice boards. On our platform that is designed with real community in mind, you can customize your website to your needs, promote events, upload photos, publish updates, and much more to create a holistic digital experience to bring neighbors together. It also saves time that can be spent getting to know each other!
Connecting properly on a specialized platform is great, and having it facilitate real-life events is even better. Getting together in person is very important to relationship building, both in business and in communities. Meeting face to face allows for broader and deeper understanding of people, their needs, their passions, and their concerns.
A platform to connect both online and in person means that everyone can be involved in community solutions. Many times, we look to leadership for all the answers, rather than consulting with the members. If we are able to flip that script, positive change is inevitable.
A solutions-based approach to HOA management
Frictions will always be present whenever groups of people live in close proximity, which is even more reason to provide community solutions through effective HOA management. With the right balance of technology and personal touches, HOA management can become a much simpler undertaking, leading to an overall more positive community.
It’s the 21st century, and a virtual meeting place (one that also facilitates in-person connection) is a great solution for community members and managers to stay on the ball and in step. Technology doesn’t have to distance people from one another! Neighborhoody has the resources you need to create a beautifully efficient HOA website for community associations, condos, and community management agencies. Contact us today for more information!