5 free software program for HOAs

You get what you pay for. Whereas a bit cliche, this phrase additionally holds lots of fact. We’ve all skilled remorse after buying one thing off of a web site with a price ticket that appeared too good to be true. When you acquired the merchandise, you realized that certainly it was.

Free software program might be equally disappointing, particularly for those who had been planning to make use of it to enhance HOA operations. We’ve written about the issues with free software program earlier than; the platforms are glitchy, the options are restricted, and there’s nobody obtainable that will help you for those who run into issues. However, there are at all times exceptions. On this article, we’ll take a look at free HOA software program that’s well-designed, practical and straightforward for board members and property managers to make use of.   


Free software program’s to assist handle your HOA

  1. Google Docs – Creating paperwork and price range sheets
  2. Base – Sustaining a resident database
  3. Mail Chimp – Sending month-to-month newsletters
  4. Google Drive or Dropbox – storing and sharing paperwork
  5. Fb – Making a neighborhood discussion board


Why ought to HOAs use software program?

Earlier than we get into the very best free software program for HOA communities, it’s essential to know what the software program will do for you, your group, and/or your residents.

HOA software program goals to automate, streamline and simplify operations and communications for associations. For instance, as an alternative of printing and mailing out a publication to your whole householders, you should use software program to put in writing and share it with everybody just by urgent “ship.” Not solely do messages and paperwork get to individuals quicker, however house owners are extra seemingly to concentrate to them if they’ll learn them on their smartphones.

Managing information turns into remarkably simpler with the assistance of software program. As an alternative of getting to manually archive your whole assembly minutes or preserve monitor of violations in a giant binder, you possibly can set up and save every merchandise on the cloud. This lets you discover what you want in seconds utilizing a search bar, and you’ll entry paperwork from any pc as an alternative of getting to return into the workplace.   

Sure, you possibly can nonetheless get by with out software program, but it surely’s lots more durable to efficiently handle a neighborhood when calls for proceed to extend and you continue to have the identical variety of hours in a day. HOA software program permits your neighborhood to perform issues extra effectively so that you’ve got extra time to concentrate on larger duties and objectives. 


Nobody likes change…however

You’re proper. Change is difficult, which is why many people delay adjustments till our present scenario turns into insufferable. However, you don’t need to proceed tolerating inefficient processes or ineffective communication. The reality is that software program will make life simpler for everybody, so it’s greatest to make the change before later.

Do you know that board and committee members within the U.S. spent roughly 98,500,000 hours governing their communities in 2021!? If each neighborhood used only one platform and diminished their workloads by 50 hours a 12 months, and there are about 58,000 American associations, that’s 2,900,000 hours saved.

Actually good software program is consumer pleasant, which means you don’t need to wrestle to learn to use it. Plus, the time you’ll save in the long term is properly price the additional hours you’ll spend organising your workspace or account. Plus, a lot of the software program addresses points for each HOA leaders and residents.


Basic software program vs. HOA-specific software program

The free software program choices featured on this article are common software program options. Meaning they weren’t designed for a selected trade or consumer. As an alternative, they intention to assist people and companies with widespread points akin to communication, record-keeping and transparency.

HOA-specific software program goals to sort out distinctive points that home-owner associations face. Often, these platforms provide extra related options.

Free HOA software program can nonetheless help with primary capabilities, however we haven’t discovered one that actually provides a stress-free consumer expertise. In distinction, paid software program provides HOAs superior, customizable options akin to analytics, accounts payable and portfolio administration. Paying for HOA specific-software is nearly at all times the higher selection, even when your affiliation has a modest price range.  

That being mentioned, you possibly can nonetheless avoid wasting cash with free software program. It was estimated that every hour a board or committee member gave to their HOA was price just below $30. The full worth for all volunteer work was just below $3 billion. If every affiliation saved 50 hours of labor annually with free software program, they’d even have an additional $1,5000 to make use of. So, for those who’re not on the level the place you’re able to spend money on a platform, otherwise you wish to check out common options first, then think about downloading a few the next applications.


Prime 5 free software program for HOAs

These free software program applications are most fitted for small to mid-sized associations. As talked about earlier, they’re common options, however they nonetheless assist to streamline and automate HOA processes. All of those platforms are free, however many additionally provide premium packages for an affordable worth. Every software program offers a particular performance, and a few provide a number of options that HOAs would discover helpful.   


#1. Google Docs – Phrase processing for free of charge

Google Docs is a web-based phrase processor. It’s much like Microsoft Phrase, however it’s free to make use of. All you want is a Google account. Google Docs lets managers and board members create letters, notices, kinds, proposals, and just about some other kind of HOA doc that must be written up. It additionally has a set of templates for newsletters, insurance policies and contractor agreements. 



It saves work mechanically – It’s comforting to know that you’ll by no means lose an essential piece of labor in case your pc abruptly crashes. Google Docs autosaves each couple of minutes so that you could concentrate on ending work as an alternative of preserving it. 

It has enough storage – Google Drive, the platform that hosts Google Docs, offers as much as 15GB of space for storing. Whereas that gained’t be sufficient for bigger associations, customers do have the choice of buying extra storage for an affordable worth.    

It permits for collaborative work – The cloud-based phrase processor makes it simple for groups to work collectively, even when they aren’t bodily collectively. It’s doable for a number of individuals to view and contribute to a doc on the identical time. That is very helpful when paperwork require closing approval from a board member, or when a number of individuals are making a plan for a challenge. 



You want a Gmail account – Not everybody has or desires to make an account with Google.

File storage can get messy – Though customers can view information in record or grid format, the window used for finding paperwork will not be as visually pleasing as Phrase’s storage system. You may additionally find yourself with a number of “untitled paperwork” for those who discard drafts or neglect so as to add a title to your doc. This could make it difficult to seek out afterward.

Some superior options are lacking – In case you are already accustomed to a processing system like Phrase, you’ll discover that Google Docs lacks a number of the premium formatting and enhancing options.

Learn extra about utilizing Google Docs for hoa paperwork.


#2. OpenOffice – Maintains your resident database

OpenOffice, also called Apache Open Workplace, is an open-source workplace suite. It’s like gaining access to Phrase, Excel, PowerPoint, and Entry, however with out having to pay a subscription charge. Whereas HOAs might use OpenOffice for a lot of completely different duties, we wish to spotlight the utility of Base.

Base is a database program. With it, HOAs can create tables, queries, kinds and reviews. Admins can set predefined desk definitions to optimize knowledge about residents and house owners, pets, funds, autos, cellphone numbers, and extra. HOAs trying to create or switch a grasp resident database will discover that this program meets their wants. Base will not be intuitive for those who’ve by no means used database software program earlier than. However there are lots of free tutorials on YouTube that will help you study. 



It offers context to resident databases – Base does extra than simply retailer emails and cellphone numbers. It means that you can create connections between knowledge. So, you possibly can see what number of renters vs. house owners are utilizing parking spots. Or if there are months that house owners usually tend to be late on funds.

Paperless record-keeping – Since Base is a cloud-based system, you possibly can rapidly and simply replace your resident database in minutes. You don’t need to be onsite or at your workplace to see the information. This is useful if there may be ever an emergency and you might want to name a resident or their member of the family.

Customizable – Though Base doesn’t give you a starter template, customers can customise tables nonetheless they need. They will additionally arrange very particular guidelines, akin to limiting the variety of characters in a sure column, to reduce human error.



Base will not be simple to make use of – Base might be very difficult to make use of in case you are unfamiliar with one of these software program. Whereas expert customers can do lots with it, new customers might want to make investments time in studying the fundamentals.

Lack of buyer help – For the reason that software program is free, the builders don’t owe customers something. Meaning for those who run into hassle or have a query, you’ll have to discover the reply your self. There are neighborhood help boards, however you’re not assured to get the reply you might be on the lookout for.

Fewer choices and customizations – Like several free software program, Base gained’t have as many options as applications that cost a charge for customers to entry.

Learn extra about utilizing OpenOffice to construct a resident database.


#3. Mailchimp – Ship skilled newsletters that house owners will truly learn 

Thousands and thousands of individuals use and luxuriate in Mailchimp as a result of it’s simple to grasp, it produces high-quality newsletters, and its most elementary plan is free. Mailchimp is greater than a platform for digital newsletters; it’s truly a advertising and marketing automation platform and electronic mail advertising and marketing service. Whereas it’s ultimate for advertising and marketing groups, as an HOA supervisor, you undoubtedly do some advertising and marketing to your residents.

You possibly can ship out surveys to recipients, accumulate suggestions about what residents favored and disliked in regards to the publication, what initiatives they really feel must be prioritized, and way more.



Contact lists might be created rapidly – If you have already got a resident electronic mail record in Excel or the same program, you possibly can import it straight into Mailchimp. It’s also possible to create lists manually, and including a brand new contact takes seconds.   

You possibly can model and customise emails – There’s a small however clear assortment of templates for customers to select from, and making these templates your personal is refreshingly simple. It’s also possible to add your affiliation’s brand and colours to the publication, create clickable buttons, incorporate movies and pictures, and extra.

Cell compatibility – Mailchimp will get how essential it’s for newsletters to be cellular pleasant. As such, you possibly can ensure that your content material will look good on a cellphone display screen with out having to do additional work.



No scheduling choice with free plans – Mailchimp used to supply a scheduling function on all its accounts, however has eliminated that without cost accounts. Moreover, free account customers solely get entry to 30 days of electronic mail buyer help.

Pricey for giant communities – Paid plans get costly slightly rapidly. If you happen to handle a big neighborhood with 1,000 residents, you may pay near $100 per thirty days only for publication and survey distribution.

Emails might be incorrectly flagged as spam – Since so many individuals and firms use Mailchimp, your publication may get flagged by an electronic mail platform as spam.

Learn extra about sending newsletters with Mailchimp.


#4. Dropbox/Google Drive – Protected and dependable storage for essential HOA paperwork

There’s a couple of option to handle essential HOA paperwork, however making an attempt to maintain paper information so as is a problem for even essentially the most organized individuals. To not point out that paper is prone to mildew and fireplace.

Dropbox and Google Drive are each digital file storage platforms. They permit customers to securely save information within the cloud, synchronize information throughout units, and share gadgets with colleagues or workers. Each platforms are free, with choices to pay for extra space for storing.



It can save you all varieties of information – Dropbox and Google Drive help you save pictures, movies, kinds, contracts, and way more. Admins can set up folders in a way that is sensible for his or her workflow.

You possibly can management who has entry to folders – Each platforms help you set permissions and decide who can have entry to information. This is essential for HOAs as a result of not all workers ought to have entry to each doc.

You possibly can preserve HOA supplies safe – By having digital copies of essential paperwork, you possibly can relaxation simpler figuring out that even when there was a hearth or a flood, you’ll nonetheless have these gadgets. Moreover, you possibly can improve safety and make it onerous for anybody to steal or corrupt information by turning on 2-step verification.


The free model will not be ultimate for greater than 1 individual – If you happen to’re not trying to pay for the service, Dropbox’s 2GB storage restrict gained’t get you very far. Dropbox’s free providing is noticeably disappointing.

Prices might be excessive if in case you have a number of customers – Most of Dropbox’s plans are designed for just a few customers. There may be an enterprise answer obtainable for giant organizations, however you’ll need to achieve out to the corporate to get pricing particulars for that choice.

Consumer expertise might be higher – Customers have talked about that the interface, add instances and even search performance might be improved.

Learn extra about storing affiliation information with Dropbox and Google Drive


#5. Fb – A platform without cost neighborhood boards

Fb is a free social media platform. Most of us use it as a option to sustain with information, join with family and friends, and keep knowledgeable about native occasions. However Fb has developed considerably since its inception, and now provides many various providers and functionalities, together with neighborhood boards.

HOAs can use Fb efficiently to have interaction house owners and spark significant conversations. Since Fb is cellular pleasant, members may even check out what’s happening whereas they’re commuting or operating errands.  



Capacity to average – Many boards and managers keep away from social media platforms as a result of they’re so chaotic. Group members, a few of who could not even be residents, can say or share something, even whether it is hurtful or offensive. There’s additionally a priority about holding confidential affiliation info non-public. This isn’t place to put up entry codes or private cellphone numbers. Nonetheless, managers can create and management boards on Fb. As an admin, you might have the ability to average or assign somebody to be a moderator. Giving somebody this function is essential as they’ll approve or deny requests and posts, take away posts, and block members who violate discussion board guidelines/insurance policies.

Possibility to ask individuals to affix – Admins have the power to create a personal group, which is really helpful for those who’re making a discussion board simply to your HOA.  Admins may conceal teams from most people. Solely those that are invited will be capable to discover the group. That is a simple option to guarantee that solely HOA members can see what’s going down within the discussion board.

Most individuals have Fb – Fb is acquainted, and it’s one thing many people take a look at when we’re not at work. By internet hosting a discussion board on this platform, you usually tend to get the eye of people that don’t typically attend member conferences.



Fb owns your knowledge – Whereas the platform is comparatively safe, something you share on Fb belongs to this social media big.

Laborious to navigate, simple to overlook posts – Group posts aren’t at all times displayed in chronological order, which suggests it could be simple for a member to overlook one thing essential. The Fb algorithm usually reveals posts primarily based on which of them have had essentially the most engagement, and trying to find a specific put up might be difficult.

Fb can change the way in which its discussion board works – Though admins can management discussion board setting choices, Fb in the end has the authority to vary how teams run and function at any time. This lack of management might be irritating for some.

Learn extra about making a neighborhood discussion board with Fb.


The free software program we’ve featured right here can definitely assist make particular HOA duties simpler. However Apartment Management can do just about every part that these options can do, and a lot extra.

From violation monitoring to accounts payable, to amenity reserving and bulletins; Apartment Management has over 40 options that had been made with board members, managers and residents in thoughts. Whereas our platform will not be free, the money and time you save exceed the price of the subscription.

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