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!

6 Practical Communication Tips for Busy Condo & HOA Managers

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Effective, regular communication is your key to an efficiently managed condo or HOA community and happier residents. In fact, an official “communication plan” will help you better manage risk and relationships in your job. Here are 6 practical tips that you can start using today.

Poor communication is often the cause of tension or conflict within a managed community. Proof can be found in a multi-year survey of condo owners in Ontario (which collected data from 40 percent of the province’s condo corporations).

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Almost half of the respondents (49 percent) said “lack of communication from boards of directors and/or managers” was the most common problem. Respondents cited frustration, fear, and other negative feelings due to:

  • Lack of information about board meetings
  • No response from boards and managers to enquiries or requests for information
  • Confusing accounting reports
  • Unexplained fee hikes/maintenance costs/special assessments

With all the other responsibilities a property manager juggles each day, good communication tactics may not be top of mind. But clear, open communication that speaks to your audience actually makes your job easier.

Good communication improves retention rates, builds community bonds, and educates residents about property management policies and procedures.

Fortunately, effective communication is a skill that can be developed easily and enhanced even more with the right tools. So get started on a communication plan for your community with these helpful guidelines:

1. Know your key message

Be clear in your communications by sticking to a single topic in each “message transmission” sent to residents. This is true no matter what format you’re using to communicate. Whether it’s an email to a single resident, a bulletin board post, or a seasonal report, have one clear message to avoid confusion.

Topics that matter to residents include:

  • Work orders and service requests
  • Amenities bookings
  • Problems and complaints
  • Building events
  • Condo board meetings and AGM
  • By-laws and fees
  • Fire safety and emergency testing

2. Use plain language

With millions of words in the English language to choose from, it’s easy to be misunderstood if you use unfamiliar words to get your point across. Vocabularies differ in size. The number of words (and their meanings) each person knows will vary due to environment, culture, and life experience. But when you speak or write in “plain language” you’re using words that everyone knows—a core vocabulary of about 300 familiar words used most often to express meaning and intent, usually without misunderstanding. Plain language excludes jargon, acronyms, legalese, and slang. The simplest, shortest way to say something in plain language is usually the best way.

3. Broadcast your achievements

Use your community blog or newsletter to let residents know what a great job you’re doing. Share good news about building improvements and upgrades—the freshly painted lobby, blooming garden, new hallway carpet—anything that residents will appreciate. Making the news public shows your commitment to open communication as well as your responsiveness to property maintenance.

4. Plan ahead

Map out a yearly timeline in your plan for communicating with residents and owners. Monthly meetings, calendar events, regular maintenance procedures that require alert notices—anything with a clearly defined date can be scheduled ahead of time to be posted or sent automatically. Organize all notifications, announcements and communications in one place for a strong, unified sense of ownership. Post information on discussion boards to kickstart conversations between owners/residents and property management, the board, and each other. The open communication creates a positive feeling of community—notifications, events, news, and other updates can be shared among residents and owners quickly and easily.

5. Encourage feedback (and provide feedback channels)

Communication goes both ways. Make sure residents know that your property management team is available to hear their questions, comments or concerns. Arrange annual meetings with residents/owners to get feedback in person to better understand their priorities. You can also send out surveys (online, or printed) to track how satisfied residents are with the property management and to suggest areas for improvement.

6. Technology is your best buddy

Maintaining a good flow of communication is not easy, especially when you are dealing with a community of hundreds of residents. Luckily, we now live in a world where you can even feed your dog through a smartphone. Take advantage of technology. Make it your best buddy to help you communicate better with your residents. (Shameless plug coming) A community management platform like Evercondo helps you send emails, SMS, push notification and voice broadcasts to your residents in just a few clicks.

Do you have any other communication tips for property managers? If so, let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo 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 demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.

Top 5 reasons why your condo or HOA management needs a smartphone app

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It’s no news to anyone that smartphone is one of mankind’s greatest creations. It has revolutionized many industries ranging from food and shopping to transportation services. Yet, nothing much has happened in the condo / HOA management world when it comes to smartphones.

To kick things off, here are 5 reasons why we believe that smartphone apps is the next big thing in condo / HOA management and how you can ride this wave of opportunity.

1. Everyone has a smartphone

As of March 2016, our world’s population was estimated at 7.4 billion, an all-time record high. What’s more staggering about this is that 1 in 3 of the population currently owns a smartphone, that’s over 2 billion smartphone users. If my psychic powers serves me right, I’m guessing you’re probably holding one right now while reading this article.

2. “I wish my condo has an app”

I am a smartphone user myself and the sad truth is, I always have it with me no matter where I go and what I do. From the moment I wake up to the moment I sleep. It’s my alarm clock, it’s where I read my news, check my emails, keep in touch with friends, snap and share photos, pay my bills, play games, watch movies, listen to music and I’m pretty sure I can live my entire life without leaving my bed if I wanted to. Gone are the days when I have to write, print and mail to get a message sent or even call the operator to look up for a number. Everything is just a few taps away and it’s always with me in my pocket.

“I wish my condo has an app that I can use to reserve the party room” is a common question we get when visiting friends at their condo. Here’s a few more:

  • Why can’t I reserve the party room from my smartphone
  • I’d like to receive push notifications for building announcements
  • What is the WIFI password to the conference room
  • Has my package arrived yet? Wished there’s an app for that
  • Wish I could check my account balances

3. Most management are still in the 90s

Like getting an Uber ride, condo or HOA management is in the services industry. Unlike Uber however, getting information, or making a reservation in communities today isn’t as easy and convenient. Many managers today still rely on a lot of manual labor work through phone calls, papers and spreadsheets. This makes it a good opportunity for you to sprint ahead of the competition while giving your residents the convenience and access they deserve.

4. Increased productivity & efficiency for managers

Property managers need to juggle with 101 things everyday and with so little time available, it’s important for managers to squeeze out at much time as possible. With a smartphone app, managers can answer to resident requests while out having lunch or approve a party room reservation while waiting for taxi. It also comes in handy when managers need to pull up the latest minutes during a short conversation with a committee member.

5. An app speaks a 1,000 words

When was the last time you heard a friend brag about their condo management’s service? That’s right. None. An app that gives residents the convenience to reserve their party room or check their account balances will sure to give your residents something to talk about with their friends at work and guests at the dinner table. Nothing generates more brand awareness than good old word-of-mouth!

Want to see our mobile app in action?

At Evercondo, we don’t just believe in the smartphone revolution for community management, we’re pioneering it. Thousands of community residents are already enjoying the convenience of our iPhone and Android app to communicate with their property managers.

We’d love to share how hundreds of management companies and self managed communities are using the Evercondo mobile app to launch their management services into the 21st century.

Click here to get a FREE personal tour today to see and learn how the Evercondo mobile app can help bing your management service to the next level!

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.

You Change Quickly, Help Your Home Keep Up!

Thanks to all of your feedback on our Smart Home article we’ve decided launch a series of articles dedicated to the best products & services on smart home technology, home tech products and all things connecting condos. To kick off this series, we’re talking about a way to display art that is more Harry Potter than Picasso.  

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Your home is your haven, a place for you to unwind and just be you. Electronic frames fit into any home and are changing the way we display art. 

As mismatched sock wearer or a barefoot diva, you can customize your flooring and floor coverings to suit your needs. Did you know that you can now customize the art on your walls to suit your mood? Just like adding heating tiles or an accent rug on dreary winter days, you can now change your art to suit your mood. Products such as Electric Objects allows you to find and display the art your heart desires.

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Electric Objects is a way to digitally showcase art. The New York-based startup released its first product this summer. Electric Objects EO1 features a high-definition screen to showcase art compiled from the Internet.

Part of making your condo feel like your home is making it yours. It might seem hard to envision how you want your home to look when you first move in. When you first saw your condo you probably saw an empty shell with a great view or great yard. Your home should be a reflection of who you are, but it is easy to get overwhelmed when you go into a design store.

Electric Objects lets you change your look in the same way you change your clothes and if you’re anything like us, that’s a lot! Is committing to one colour scheme getting to you? Try a neutral colour scheme and add a pop of life or colour into your art. The Internet can act as your personal art curator. Streamline your style and display the pieces that speak to you.

Finding and adding art to your home lets you test different looks before you commit days of painting and re-decorating. Electric Objects partners with digital artists to create art for the EO1 to display so you never have to worry about the quality of what you are displaying.

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Living in a condo can have many benefits such as shared facilities and security. If you are unsure about what additions and alterations you can make to your unit you can always refer to our Cheat Sheet on Condo Elements.

Smart Devices do not make your home smarter without a Smart Condo Community.
Contact us for a demonstration, and we’ll show you how we can facilitate communication throughout your condo association for a Smarter Condo Community.

Smart Condos: The Simple Secret to a Better Condo Life

smart condosSmart condos are coming down the pipeline. How can you transform your personal space before your neighbors do?

We’re living in the future.

In the early 1960s, The Jetsons lived in a state-of-the-art home – what we would now call smart condos. This high-tech family could control their entire living environment with voice commands, and they even had a robot-maid that took care of anything that came up in running the household.

We may not have flying cars just yet, but we do live in a world where your condo can be as smart as you want it to be. All you have to do is take it to the next level.

These seven cool apps make smart condos an easy choice, and an easy way to bring your home into the 21st century.

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Feature Updates: New Approval Requests, Surveys and Subfolders

It’s been a productive few months for us at Evercondo. With the launch of our mobile app, you can now access all available features on our platform via your smart phone! We’ve also added approval request and sub folder features with better permissions as well as a super awesome survey feature to help your condo community make better informed decisions.

Get Faster Approvals From Condo Boards

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Proposals need approval from multiple condo board members in a timely manner on a daily basis. At Evercondo, we know that it is hugely time consuming for condo managers to have to [Read more…]