2018 Community Predictions: Technology, Transparency, Culture and More

December 11, 2017

Boards that take the time to learn about emerging trends today are more equipped to prepare their communities for tomorrow. That’s why we polled our branch presidents from across the continent about the shifts they’re observing in their communities to provide you with informed predictions about what lies ahead for community associations in 2018.

Keep these insights in mind to help your board make sound decisions for your community in the year ahead.

 

1.  Boards and homeowners will adopt community-focused technology.

With advanced technology becoming available for community associations, board members and homeowners will integrate these solutions into their living experience more than ever before to bring greater efficiency and effectiveness to a variety of functions – from reviewing financials and scheduling maintenance to planning events and meeting neighbors.

 

“Technology has always been difficult to implement in communities; neither Baby Boomers, Gen X or Millennials have been fixated on the utilization of technology as it relates to HOAs despite the latter generations’ interest in it. But with Associa’s new app, TownSq, which recently rolled out here in Arizona, the ability to utilize cell phones and tablets throughout the community living experience is now available – so we anticipate higher technology usage and we are now seeing more communication coming through this platform. I also believe as Millennials begin to transition into board and homeowner roles we will see a higher demand for technology like this.”

-Kirk Bliss, AMS®

President, Associa Arizona

2.  Communities will expect greater transparency.

Technology designed for communities will also meet another critical need: transparency. Homeowners are beginning to expect a higher degree of openness and communication from their boards, and in turn, boards are expecting that same approach from their management partners.

“We have found that most associations want to know that their assets are being protected; they want more transparency with record keeping and financial management. This of course leads to the need for technology that allows board members to view their information in real time. Bottom line, boards want and deserve to have a trusting relationship with their management company – a relationship built upon integrity and open communication.”  

– Traci Lehman, CMCA®, AMS®, PCAM®

President, Cities Management

 

3.  Many boards will have to plan for minimum wage increases.

15 states throughout the U.S. have passed minimum wage increases that will take effect in 2018. Boards throughout these states will have to plan for this adjustment in their budgets this year and possibly the next few years as some laws dictate that minimum wages will continue to rise until they reach a certain amount.

“Another key change is legislation relative to minimum wage. Here in Arizona they passed new laws dictating that by 2020 the minimum wage will be $12 an hour. Of course, this impacts our client communities that hire staff for roles such as security for their entry gates.”  

-Kirk Bliss, AMS®

President, Associa Arizona

 

4.  Homeowners will enjoy a more personalized living experience.

Every experience in our society – from shopping, to working, communicating and more – is becoming personalized, and living in community will also begin to be a customizable experience.

“As in all aspects of life, our consumers, or homeowners, aren’t just buying a house, they are purchasing a lifestyle. As a result, the homeowner experience will become even more personalized as we move into 2018. It’s likely we’ll see blended solutions at the intersection of technology and high-touch service as homeowners request and receive what they need, when they need it, regardless of the delivery mechanism or channel. We’ll see homeowners preferring to engage via apps instead of through the phone, engaging digitally instead of interacting directly with staff.”

-Ann Williams, CMCA®

President, Colorado Association Services

 

5.  Advanced communities will define their culture.  

To better create a comprehensive lifestyle that homeowners expect, it makes sense to spell out the community’s culture – and many boards that lead thriving communities will make this shift in the new year.

“Most well-managed businesses subscribe to a set of values and have a defined culture that are touchstones for decision making. I believe each neighborhood has a culture, too. Some are well-defined and created with intent, and others are the result of a reactive approach, or a holdover from when the community was initially built. During 2018, I believe the more advanced and cohesive communities will begin to better define the culture of their neighborhood and tie that culture with the community’s ability to define, align and reach its goals.”

-Ann Williams, CMCA®

President, Colorado Association Services

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