5 Productivity Apps For HOA & Condo Managers

5 Productivity Apps for HOA and Condo Managers

Welcome to another Evercondo “tech tips” post, where we share some of the best apps and technology solutions out there for helping property managers, board members and residents get more done with less time.

We all want to be more productive in life. Fortunately we live in a time when helpful technology is plentiful and cheap—it’s never been easier to find web and phone apps that make it simple to stay organized at work and at home. Here are five of our latest favourites:

Unroll.Me (Free; iOS)

Gain control of your inbox by getting rid of junk mail and unwanted subscriptions in just a few clicks. Simply go to the Unroll.Me homepage and click on the “Get started now” button. Signup is easy (either provide your email or sign in via Google or another service). Unroll.Me gives you the option to unsubscribe from junk emails right away; keep them coming into your inbox; or to compile them into a single “Rollup” of all your subscriptions in a single place. You can choose to have your Rollup delivered in the morning, afternoon, or evening to read at your leisure—clean, simple and convenient.

LastPass (Free and paid versions; Android, iOS, Windows)

Login passwords are one of modern life’s biggest hassles. Having to remember them, having to create them each time you sign up for a new service—it’s safe to say passwords (while necessary for data security) are a waste of time. Naturally there’s an app for that. LastPass remembers your passwords (and keeps them secure) so you don’t have to. We like the LastPass Premium app ($12 per year). It’s a password vault, strong password generator and browser rolled into a single mobile app. You can sync your password vault so the LastPass browser automatically fills in forms and login details on websites, either through the in-app browser, Safari or Chrome. You can also use LastPass on all your devices for free.

Todoist (Free and paid versions; Android, iOS, Windows)

The human brain is hardwired to keep thinking about unfinished tasks. This may have worked thousands of years ago when survival was the main priority. But in today’s multitasking world it can lead to stress, overwhelm and burnout. We’ve found that Todoist is a great tool for getting things out of your head and onto your to-do list. From there it’s much simpler to organize and prioritize tasks and projects, so you know exactly what to focus on and when. Keep track of everything you need to get done and plan your day for maximum focus and productivity with Todoist. The app lets you share projects, delegate tasks, and collaborate with anyone.

Nudgemail (Free and pay-by-donation; all devices)

Maybe you dream of attaining the “zero inbox” level of productivity (or maybe you simply want a more manageable inbox). In either case, Nudgemail may be just the solution. Most of us are bombarded with e-mail requests every day. Setting up calendar alerts for each new meeting time or appointment; sending ourselves reminder emails so we don’t forget important tasks; figuring out a foolproof system for never missing a follow-up or to-do item—these are the challenges we face inside the inbox. The beauty of Nudgemail is that it turns any email service you use (the software works with all email clients and on any device) into a productivity app for creating simple reminders or follow-up notifications. So if a supplier emails you about placing an order next week, you simply forward that email to “nextweek@nudgemail.com” and Nudgemail will send it back to your inbox seven days later. Or if a resident emails you with a question that can wait until tomorrow, just forward it to “tomorrow@nudgemail.com” and deal with it when it arrives the next day. The program comes with a variety of commands (including the handy “EOD@nudgemail.com” which arrives at 6 p.m. for emails you need to address by end-of-day).

Plan (Free; iOS)

If you use more than one project platform for your work, Plan might be the tool you need to bring it all together in one place. Think of Plan as a work concierge—one that organizes projects and tasks from all the tools your team may use in a given day: calendars, email, JIRA, Zendesk, Salesforce, and Github. Use the app to plan out your day. Block chunks of time to work on important tasks; create meetings and invite teammates; view your upcoming day, week and month to stay on track. See all your action items in one place so you don’t have to worry about something slipping through the cracks.

What are your favorite productivity apps? Tell us about them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo is the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a live demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.

5 Apps That Makes Life Easier for Condo / HOA Managers

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The tech world today is more advanced and sophisticated than ever. There’s a lot that the condo / HOA management industry can benefit from but with so many options out there, where do we even begin? That’s why we will be featuring some of the best apps and technology solutions that can benefit you as a manager, board member or resident. Here are the first 5 apps that we think will help you get more done with less time.

Your workday as a manager is hectic, jam-packed with tasks to get done. But all too often your attention is hijacked by demands or situations that interfere with your other priorities. We can’t all afford a personal assistant and with only 24 hours in a day, you need technology to help you do more in less time.

A property manager’s job would try the patience of a Zen monk. Typical days are hectic and crisis-filled, making it tough to balance the overflow of “inputs” (building emergencies, requests for information, resident complaints, etc.) on top of your already-full plate.

Fortunately, technology can help take some of the pressure off and make your days easier to manage. Here are 5 easy-to-use apps for getting things done more efficiently:

Slack

Team messaging – real time communication that works. Its a chat app and who says managers and board members aren’t a team. We believe that communication between board members and property managers should be a constant activity and not just a once in a week or month chore. Slack can really get things moving and keep your inbox clean.

Grammarly

Billed as “the world’s most accurate grammar checker”, Grammarly is a free Chrome plug-in app that helps you write mistake-free on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and most other web platforms. It corrects more than 250 types of grammatical mistakes and poor vocabulary usage with word-choice suggestions that instantly improve the readability of your copy.

Boomerang

Both a mobile app and Gmail plug-in, Boomerang gives you more control over your email habits. The app lets you write emails in advance and schedule them to be sent automatically whenever you want. You can also use the app to set follow-up reminders for sent emails, so important replies don’t slip through the cracks. Boomerang is available in a free version (with 10 messages per month) as well as three other paid versions that offer more features and unlimited messages.

Calendly

One of the most frustrating things about booking meetings with the board or other groups is keeping track of the “when are you free?” back-and-forth email conversations. Calendly eliminates that problem without the need to give up control of your calendar. You simply set your availability preferences to ensure meetings only happen on your time, and keep all details of your existing appointments private. It checks your Google or Office 365 calendar for conflicts, so you’re never double-booked. The app has a free version as well as moderately priced premium and pro versions, and it can be used on a smartphone, tablet or desktop.

Evercondo

Sure we’re tooting our own horn, but hear us out. Ever wondered whether your residents actually read the bulletins you sent out? Our bulletin feature allows managers to send out important notifications to all residents via email, SMS, push notification and voice calls with tracking capability. This means, when a resident opens up an email of your bulletin, it will be tracked and logged for your reference. No more worries. It’s magical. You can try Evercondo free for 30 days—sign up today to see why thousands of property managers, condo associations, and HOAs rely on it to optimize their daily operations.

What are your favorite productivity apps? Tell us about them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

How to manage shared facilities in condos without getting into a war

How to manage shared facilities in condos without getting into a war

Unlike squabbles over who gets the last scoop of ice-cream (summer is here!), conflicts over shared common facilities between multiple communities can’t be easily resolved through just a game of rock-paper-scissors. We’ve seen how ugly it can turn out to be, but the good news is, there’s a better way to put a smile on everyone’s face while managing shared facilities.

Before we get into the juicy details, let’s go over some general facts:

What are shared facilities?

Shared facilities are typically common areas that are developed to be shared by multiple phases of a condo development project. This often results in multiple condo boards being established to represent each phase. The usual suspects when it comes to shared facilities are the swimming pool, guest rooms, party rooms and tennis courts, just to name a few.

The purpose of sharing facilities is to reduce development and operating costs. Additional benefits of sharing facilities include the creation of a supportive living environment. Sharing facilities can also enable residents to enjoy a broader mix of amenities than would be available to a single development phase.

With lesser operating costs (i.e., lesser monthly condo fees) and more to enjoy for all residents, what’s there to fuss about?

Why is it such as pain in the &#%!

Let’s put this into something more relatable. Imagine this. You’ve recently purchased a single detached house that promises a swimming pool, tennis court and sauna room at an incredible bargain. The catch is, you’d have to share it with 3 other neighbours. Now you start to think and wonder:

  • Who pays for the maintenance and upkeep of these facilities?
  • Who gets to use what first and at what time?

You can start to see why managing shared facilities can make things difficult between condo boards if not managed well, which is the case in most condominiums today.

The war is over

Let’s get a few things straight. We are all not naturally born to hate one another and conflicts are usually the result of miscommunication due to process/procedural flaws. If we start to accept the flaws and find ways to resolve them, there’s no reason why living in a community with shared facilities between hundreds of condos would not work. It’s all in the process and it starts with alignment.

1. Align your goals

Well it’s too late to split up the shared facilities so why not make the best out of what it is today by working towards a common goal – to make sure all the facilities and bookings are well maintained & managed at a shared cost structure that makes sense for everyone.

2. Setup a separate joint entity

It seems that the most common structure today amongst condos with shared facilities is to establish a separate joint entity with representatives from all condo boards involved. This is by far the best structure we’ve seen and it seems to work out well in terms of both financial management as well as coming together as a joint committee to decide on what works for all.

3. Put in place a set of fair & effective procedures (i.e., booking approvals)

It’s all about the procedures in place. Without a good set of procedures that make sense for everyone, a joint committee meeting would only result in more squabbles. For example, the property managers of each community have the ability to approve / reject reservations made by residents in their respective communities. This is not the case is some of the setup we’ve seen so far. A power struggle is the last thing you want to see happening.

4. Agree to a standard for shared facility usage, rules and restrictions

Here’s an example. Condo A and B both share the same guest suite. According to the restrictions set in condo A, residents can reserve the guest suite 365 days in advance of the booking date whereas it is only 60 days in advance at condo B. What happens here is that the residents at condo A would then have more guest suite reservations during the year. Other areas of concern would be to also have a standard usage rule to always make sure the shared facilities are clean and appropriately used to prevent disruption to other reservations.

5. Use the right software to facilitate procedures in place

It’s easier said than done and you’re probably right. That’s why you need the right tool for the job (shameless promotion coming). At Evercondo, we take pride in the fact that we listen and try to understand all the needs of property managers and communities. In this case, we have. Our facility booking feature today offers condo communities the ability to manage shared facilities seamlessly. We believe it’s all in the process and that our tool can help put a smile back in everyone’s face when it comes to managing shared facilities.

Evercondo shared facility booking calendar

Without going too deep into the details, two or more condo communities will have their own private, standalone community website and portal. Nothing is shared between the communities except for the shared facilities. Reservation records from each condo community are only available to respective managers and are not shared. All reservations from each community works as usual allowing managers from respective communities to approve, reject or cancel reservations without hassle.

The awesome thing is, nothing special needs to be done on your end. Everything just works and it’s all available via our web application and smartphone apps on iPhones and Androids.

Summary

Shared facilities in condominiums rewards us with plenty of benefits especially when it comes to operational cost savings. Managing and maintaining them can be tough and tricky. It’s amazing how boards and management companies come together to make things work even when they lack the tools to help them. This shows how dedicated they are in making sure residents’ reservations are well taken care of. Given the right tool in place, even a shared facility of 10 communities would not break a sweat.

10 Ways to Get the Most Out of the 2015 ACMO / CCI-T Condominium Conference

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Are you attending the Annual Condo Conference in Toronto? Check out these conference tips!

The 19th Annual Condo Condominium Conference is one of the biggest events in the condominium community. If you are involved in the condominium industry as a property manager, board member or a vendor, this conference is the place to be.

What can you expect from the Condo Conference?

This year’s keynote speaker is Warren Macdonald, who climbed Cradle Mountain in Tasmania just ten months after a climbing accident left him a double amputee. We’re particularly looking forward to his talk, “Finding Opportunity in Adversity,” which is sure to inspire everyone in the audience.

Also featured are many discussions about specific topics throughout both days. We’ve hand-picked our favourite sessions and will reveal them to you in a future post. For now, here are some tips on getting the most out of the event!

[Read more…]

Which Condo Management and Accounting Software is Best for Your Condo?

All-in-one vs Best-of-breed condo software solutions

When condo management software burst onto the condo management scene a little less than a decade ago, it brought with it a debate within condo managers and condo corporations. Should they pursue a single all-in-one solution that offers communication, management and accounting functionalities or embrace a multiple best-of-breed solution?

All-in-one Vs Best-of-breed

Using all-in-one software is like going to a restaurant that serves General Tao chicken, sushi and rib-eye steak. You are certainly not going to find the best steak since they don’t specialized in one cuisine.

Best-of-breed is like going to a steak house to find a good rib-eye steak or a Japanese restaurant to find good sushi. The best part about best-of-breed is that you don’t have to drive to three different restaurants. They are all located in the same food court right next to each other. You get the best of both worlds at the same place (hence the term “Best-of-Breed”).

Personally, I like my sushi prepared by a real sushi chef, not by someone that makes pasta noodles by day and chocolate chip cookies by night.

Which to choose?

Go for an all-in-one condo management software with accounting if resident engagement on your condo website is not important to you and you’re just looking for a basic enough condo accounting tool. You understand that hardly anyone will log into that website and that there will be very little activity.

However, if you’re looking to create a lively and active community that logs into their condo website regularly to book facilities, read bulletin announcements, send messages to managers and download files, while using a flexible accounting application that fits your financial needs, then the best-of-breeds is your best bet.

If you have more time, read on…

Why Best-of-Breeds?

Here are some reasons why the best-of-breeds approach would make more sense to you.

More Flexibility
The best-of-breeds approach is significantly more flexible. Since neither the condo management or accounting functions are bound to one another you can easily switch out any one in the future.

Best-in-Class Solutions
Choosing a condo management software from a company that focuses entirely on condo communication and management whilst opting for a separate condo accounting solution that focuses solely on solving condo accounting needs, ensures that you get the best of both worlds. That also means more feature upgrades with faster and better customer support.

Best Value – Bang for Your Buck
All-in-one solutions may be cheaper but is it really worth the savings? Opting for a best-of-breed solution ensures every penny you spend does not go to waste. It’s an investment you make that yields a well managed, efficient, transparent and happy community.

A Tailored Experience
For all-in-one solutions, communication and management are mere accessories. These services are often just substandard by-products or accessories to their core offerings. With all-in-one software, you’ll end up with a resident portal that is not as robust or functional as a dedicated resident portal platform.

It’s Much More Secure. Period.
It’s simple. Separate servers and databases managed by different vendors in different data centres and locations make it much safer. If your communication and management solution gets hacked, the hacker will not be able to gain access to your accounting information and vice versa.

Evercondo is a condo communication and management solution that offers accounting through a best-of-breed integration with Condo Manager Accounting.

Financial information from Condo Manager Accounting is seamlessly displayed on the Evercondo portal for residents. User information is updated both ways so you don’t have to update on both ends of the solutions. It’s all covered and taken cared of. Also, you don’t have to worry about us passing you from one department to another in the same company. We’re specialized and when you call, we’ll be sure to get it done right the first time, every time. Learn more about Evercondo’s integration with Condo Manager Accounting or Contact us today to request for a demo.