When it comes to managing a homeowners association (HOA), effective communication is crucial. Ensuring that homeowners and stakeholders are kept up-to-date prevents misinformation and guarantees transparency. As a landlord, you should exert every effort to make sure that your residents feel part of the community.
Several HOA communication tools allow you to establish a close-knit community regardless of the number of residents in your multi-family property. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each one:
#1 Homeowners Association Newsletters
Printed homeowner’s association newsletters are ideal for communities or neighborhoods in rural areas, or where its main residents aren’t in touch with technology. Older residents will prefer traditional ink-and-paper over e-newsletters. It gives them something to read without the trouble of figuring out how to download files over the internet.
Newsletters can be circulated weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly. They should include relevant information such as announcements, upcoming events, policies, and the like.
One downside to printed newsletters, however, is the cost. Printing newsletters every month can be expensive especially for highly populated communities. Plus, it may be difficult to send out last-minute advisories when relying on newsletters alone.
#2 Homeowners Association E-Newsletters
An e-newsletter is a digital form of a traditional newsletter. Communicating with HOA members through email is significantly cheaper — and sometimes free! Several online services allow you to send email blasts to hundreds of homeowners at once, saving your association time, money, and energy.
Another advantage is that HOA e-newsletters are more accessible especially to tech-savvy homeowners. They can download the e-newsletters whenever and wherever. However, the downside to this is that they may opt-out, which means they won’t be receiving important updates from the HOA.
If you want to create a “one-stop-shop” for your residents, you should consider building a website for your association. HOA websites allow you to share as much information as possible, including maintenance schedules, meeting notices, and the like. More importantly, a website encourages homeowners to voice out their concerns through a contact form.
However, one disadvantage of an HOA website is that it’s available to everyone — including outsiders. It isn’t private, which means that non-residents can access information about your community. Another downside is that older residents may have a difficult time navigating the internet. They may not even have a computer!
To better understand the demographics of your investment property, it’s best to conduct a comprehensive market analysis with the help of a professional property manager or real estate agent.
#4 Social Media
Social media platforms are accessible and, most importantly, free. Your association can benefit from creating a Facebook Page where you can share relevant updates concerning the community. Its main advantage is that it invites members to engage with one another by discussing neighborhood changes, suggesting improvements, and even holding virtual garage sales!
Keep in mind, however, that Facebook Pages are visible to the public. Hence, you shouldn’t use it to disseminate sensitive data. Facebook Groups offer greater privacy but don’t forget to double-check that your Group’s members are actually homeowners.
You should also assign a board member to moderate the Facebook Page or Group. It’s best to establish rules on how the members should behave online, such as prohibiting offensive language or posting indecent images.
#5 Text Blasts
Text blasts are great for disseminating last-minute information. For instance, if an accident has happened on one street and has blocked the road, sending a text can notify your residents right away. Compared to emails and social media posts, texts are better suited for urgent updates since people are more likely to check their text messages regularly.
The only downside to text messaging is that it’s expensive. While it is possible to manually send out texts, it is time-consuming. If your association decides to communicate with homeowners through text, you will have to use a text blast service. Prices range anywhere from $20 to $700 per month, depending on the number of homeowners in your community.
Everyone has a phone, whether mobile or landline. If your community has a lot of older residents, calling would be better than texting. Keep in mind, though, that calling is ideal for disseminating urgent information. Hence, it should be used alongside other communication tools such as newsletters or emails.
Remember that calling can be time-consuming especially if you have to call hundreds of homeowners. To save your association time, consider using a software that delivers automated voicemails to your residents. The downside to this is that it feels less personal and prevents residents from asking questions.
#7 Online HOA Portal
If you’re looking for a communication tool that has the advantages of every communication tool listed above, a members-only portal may be for you. An online portal allows you to post updates, share files, interact with residents, and much more. It basically lets you do everything all in one place.
Since online portals are members-only, they offer greater privacy compared to websites and social media. Hence, you can safely upload documents without the risk of unintentionally sharing them with the public.
Keep in mind, though, that not all homeowners will know how to access the portal. Again, if you have older residents, it may be best to stick to traditional modes of communication such as newsletters and phone calls.
Whatever communication tools you choose, be sure to go for the one that your residents prefer. If you have older residents, stick to printed newsletters and calls. If you’re renting out to the younger crowd, social media and texts are perfect. Remember, no one wants to be kept in the dark — it’s crucial that your members receive regular updates.
If you’ve hired a property management company, they can evaluate the needs of your community to determine the ideal communication tool for your association. At Luxury Property Care, we’ve helped many multi-family property owners oversee their HOAs through expert and efficient management strategies.