If your condominium association doesn’t have a website, I strongly recommend you get one. They can provide a plethora of services at a relatively reasonable cost and can be a self-managed association’s best friend when trying to provide large quantities of information to residents in an efficient manner. Further, they are a great way to publicize your property as most prospective buyers and renters begin their condominium search online. Not sure that a website would be of that much use? This post is dedicated the many ways that self-managed condominium association Boards can use a website to their advantage.
Don’t have a tech savvy Board? No problem! Services like AtHomeNet provide websites exclusively for community associations that can be customized to meet the needs of your property for as little as $35/ month. All of the website perks I discuss below are available through this service.
A gallery of quality photos can make your property appealing to potential buyers. If you make them available on your website, you will find that realtors will begin to actively use these pictures in their property listings.
Associations have an unending list of things to communicate to their residents. Your website can be used to post and send email notices about association projects, policy updates, cable and internet options, homeowner maintenance reminders such as air conditioning service, Board meeting agendas and minutes, social events, and much more.
Board Member Contact Information
One way Board members can make themselves more accessible to homeowners, which in turn tends to make homeowners more confident about the Board’s ability to management of the property, is to make their contact information available to homeowners. I recommend that each Board member establish a unique email address used exclusively for association business.
A website events calendar is a great way to community upcoming events to residents. This can be used for association-sponsored social events, area events, board meetings, proxy/ voting deadlines and timelines for major association projects, just to name a few.
Classified and Condos for Sale/ Rent
Most association websites offer homeowners a place to list personal items for sale, condos for sale or condos for rent.
Community Policies and Forms
It’s smart to keep all frequently requested policies and forms on your website. Good examples of this would be the property’s rental policy, the association’s bylaws and declaration, insurance certificates, maintenance fee schedules, or a frequently asked questions sheet.
Credit Card Maintenance Fee Payments
Many association website companies offer homeowners the ability to pay their maintenance fees by credit card on the website. Usually there is a several dollar convenience fee but for residents that need to make a payment immediately, this can be a good option.
Official Record Storage
As discussed in our post about the Official Records section of Florida Statute 718, condominium associations have a responsibility to maintain certain Association records and make them available to homeowners upon request. What would be easier than to direct homeowners to the property’s website to review specific records? It probably isn’t feasible to store all of the Association’s records on the website; however, the most commonly requested documents certainly can be. These documents include recent meeting agendas and minutes, monthly financial statements, the Association’s budget and maintenance fee schedule, and any property rules and policies. The website also serves as a web-based backup system for your key official records.
Though not a necessity, providing information about your property’s surrounding area can be a nice addition to your website. You can include emergency contact information (e.g. the local fire and police departments, emergency hotlines), evacuation information if you are in a flood zone (e.g. shelter locations), additional parking options if parking on your property is limited, local restaurants and sites, local government website and information on recycling programs. Further, your website can be a great way to communicate with residents before or after a hurricane (learn more about hurricane preparedness for your association here).
In all, a website can be a tremendous tool for condo association Boards and is definitely worth the reasonable annual fee. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
Emily Shaw is a condominium homeowner in Tampa, Florida and a Director of VERA Property Management, a firm providing full-service community association management in the Tampa Bay Area as well as consulting, financial and legal services to all Florida community associations.