As HomeKeeper celebrates 10 years of making your jobs easier and your programs better, we are thrilled that our tagline that has stood the test of time. We believe that when organizations see what works for others like them, it will influence the way they do things. This is why we work tirelessly to build and engage the HomeKeeper community, utilizing user feedback and input to develop a data-driven, program-focused product complete with robust training and support.
We’re not a typical app-developer – Grounded Solutions Network is a nonprofit organization and HomeKeeper is one of our programs. We strive to deliver an experience that caters towards what nonprofit programs need while addressing the challenges that they face. This is reflected in the approach we take to familiarizing ourselves with your programs during our Getting Started Meetings, tailoring your training, and building our relationships through ongoing support and engagement.
Over our first 10 years, we have made continuous improvements and upgrades to HomeKeeper without ever significantly changing our feature structure or increasing our fees. In fact, HomeKeeper has raised fees only once, five years ago, when our first Early Adopter Program ended. Our costs are increasing for staffing, developers, and infrastructure across the board, so we will be raising rates next year. As a fellow nonprofit, we understand how unforeseen and unplanned price increases can affect organizations, which is why we want to let you know now about price increases coming in 2023. The following pricing schedules will be applied upon your annual renewal:
Nonprofit Pricing Schedule Changes:
|HomeKeeper Annual Fee||2022||2023|
|HUD Connect Annual Fee||$1,000||$1,050|
Standard Pricing Schedule Changes:
(Government Entities, For-Profit Institutions)
|HomeKeeper Annual Fee||2022||2023|
|HUD Connect Annual Fee||$1,500||$1,550|
In addition to these modest fee increases, we are ending Early Adopter pricing for Housing Counseling users in 2025. Starting in 2026, any bundle discounts or Early Adopter discounts will adjust revert to our posted fees, which will include both the HomeKeeper Annual Fee plus the HUD Connect Annual Fee as outlined above. As not all organizations will be impacted by this change, we will reach out specifically to each organization that will be affected to ensure full transparency and adequate time to prepare for the increase.
While most HomeKeeper users won’t notice the difference, this new pricing structure also reflects a revised feature structure that we introduced last year. Since October 2021, HomeKeeper has integrated both Homeownership and Housing Counseling feature sets for new participating organizations. We separately deploy HUD Connect, our HUD reporting tool, for organizations that have requirements to report 9902 data to HUD. For existing organizations, please refer to our FAQ for more specific information about how your experience might change, depending on what feature sets you are currently using.
We’ve found that the integrated feature sets:
- Make your programs better: by ensuring all our users have access to and are thinking about Homeownership impact and outcome tracking, while expanding our impact and performance measurement of the National Data Hub.
- Make your jobs easier: by streamlining and integrating training and support, removing the barriers between feature sets, and enable us to revamp our support website.
- Engage the HomeKeeper Community: by targeting our development roadmap for HomeKeeper focused on the Salesforce packages so every organization benefits for updates.
We’re looking forward to continued collaboration with you all to make HomeKeeper the best program management and impact measurement tool for the sector. We couldn’t be more excited for what we have planned for this year and beyond!
Read on for more context about the change and FAQs!
Context: HomeKeeper’s History & Background
Following impact studies by Champlain Housing Trust and one commissioned by Cornerstone Partnership and conducted by the Urban Institute, Cornerstone and the National CLT Network sought to standardize impact data across the sector. At the same time, three CLT agencies were seeking a tool to manage their Shared Equity homeownership programs. These two efforts met, and combined to form the idea that became HomeKeeper, a program management tool that standardized impact data for a sector and created a national data hub to analyze it, evaluate performance and contribute that outcome and impact research back to the community. Cornerstone Partnership and the National CLT Network eventually merged and became Grounded Solutions Network.
Those three organizations were also HUD approved housing counseling agencies. The first version of HomeKeeper had both Homeownership and Housing Counseling features, along with an earlier version of the form 9902, integrated in one platform. We grew our base of users through an early adopter program and worked with the original group to help shape HomeKeeper to where it became in 2016, when the early adopter program ended, and we created our standard package.
When HomeKeeper was approved as the first HUD Approved Counseling Management System (CMS) on the Salesforce platform in 2016, we as well started an early adopter program to invite not only homeownership programs with housing counseling programs, like our original organizations, but also standalone Housing Counseling Agencies. We’ve added over 45 agencies of both types – allowing organizations to choose which “feature sets” were most relevant to them. We’ve been able to use this period to help grow our housing counseling features and HUD reporting to what we believe to be among the best CMS’s an organization can adopt.
Frequently Asked Questions
We know you are likely to have more in depth questions about this change, so we’ve put together some FAQs and listening sessions coming up in the near future:
Did we explore alternatives to pricing increases?
We did explore other options as we considered how we could balance sustainability of our product and continued development and innovation. These included outsourcing or scaling back how we conduct technical support, investing in more aggressive outreach and recruitment, reducing personalization of our onboarding and enrollment process, or slowing down or pausing our development work. We were also wary about potential staff turnover and the loss of institutional knowledge in an already small, but mighty team. Ultimately, we decided that those measures would diminish our strengths and would make it difficult for us to uphold our promise to our participating organizations.
I’m a Participating Organization already using both feature sets – what can I expect?
As an organization using both feature sets, you won’t experience any change in how HomeKeeper works or is delivered to you. You’re already taking full advantage of our platform and we’re grateful you’re part of our community!
I’m a Homeownership Participating Organization – what can I expect?
As a Homeownership organization, you will not experience any changes in your annual costs aside from modest periodic price increases and the regular review of property and unit count at renewal. However, you will be able to begin to take advantage of Housing Counseling features at no cost. You may also consider adding the ability to report counseling data to HUD at an additional cost if you are or are thinking of becoming a HUD approved counseling agency.
What are Housing Counseling features I can take advantage of?
When we added Housing Counseling features to the HomeKeeper product, we decided to integrate them directly within the data structure. We still utilize the objects you’re familiar with – Service Files, Income Sources, Application Household members, etc. We’ve added several other data fields that allow for HUD compliance that are helpful to directly submit 9902 reports and set the foundation for other HUD-related reporting.
In addition to alignment with HUD standards, much of the functionality is centered around managing the longer-term relationship with the clients in a counseling setting, such as robust notes tracking, purposes of visits and impacts, and group session engagement. In addition to that, we’ve also added tracking for your agency and staff and their associated trainings and certifications, which are meant for HUD counseling compliance but are also customizable for any other tracking you may want to do for your teams.
What can I track about Counseling activity?
In addition to tracking the lifecycle of the counseling relationship, you can track funding sources, purposes of their visit, and impacts as part of counseling activity.
What are Log Items?
Log Items track each of the meetings that you have with a client receiving counseling. Log Items allow you to track the amount of time you spend with a person and a detailed, formattable narrative of the counseling appointment. Recording details in Log Items track conversations to tell a client’s story over time. No more scattered post-its or illegible notes.
What can I track about Group Session activity?
You may already be using this, but Group Sessions and Attendance were areas that were enhanced and continue to be improved with housing counseling. Track your workshops, instructors, locations, partner organizations, and attendance.
What can I track about Agencies and Agency Contacts?
As mentioned above, you can track your agency and others, along with individual records for your staff including what training they’ve attended and what certifications they’ve achieved, alongside when those expire and need to be renewed. You can also get a 360 view with what counseling activity they’ve taken part in.
I’m a Housing Counseling Participating Organization – what can I expect?
If your current annual pricing is $1,000 per year, you’re taking advantage of our Early Adopter pricing. Starting in 2026, your new annual cost will increase to the base price in effect at that time (currently $3,500 per year for HUD connect and the lowest tier of Homeownership pricing). This pricing can vary based on how many units you may decide to track with Homeownership features.
What Homeownership features can I take advantage of?
HomeKeeper was originally built to manage homeownership programs and has maintained a standard to track the performance and impact of shared equity homeownership programs. Several organizations have successfully translated that into any type of homeownership programs, including Habitat for Humanities and others. Our metrics allow for you to track community investments, funding sources such as down payment assistance or lending programs, wealth creation for homeowners, and property types and preferences, among many other metrics.
What can I track related to Purchase Transactions?
Certifying a Purchase is important because it provides a confirmation in your data that a buyer’s purchase has taken place, and that your team has entered as much data as possible. Certifying a Purchase also enables that Service File to roll up to the National Data Hub. This is a process HomeKeeper developed to capture important metrics, events, and contacts around the purchase transaction, including:
- Purchase price and other settlement costs at closing.
- All funding sources from the HUD-1 settlement statement.
- Appraisal and property valuation information.
- Projected housing costs, including mortgage payments, tax and insurance payments HOA/condo dues, and other obligated monthly housing costs.
We will only be rolling-up data from service files that have been certified (have a Certified Close Date).
What can I track related to Properties?
HomeKeeper can track all of your single-family homes, condos, developments, and units as Properties. Some programs even use Properties to track prospective acquisitions or lots. You can use the Properties Objects to:
- Store each property’s characteristics and features, listing information, and neighborhood information.
- Track current status and related service files.
- Store attachments directly related to the property.
What can I track related to Housing Opportunity Allocations?
HomeKeeper created a certain type of Opportunity for housing programs to use when they need to track buckets of money (grants, loans, loan pools) managed by the program to directly fund the construction or acquisition of units or to finance subsidies given to buyers when they purchase their home.
What can I monitor and track related to Properties long-term?
HomeKeeper was designed to also assist organizations manage the Stewardship process that many homeownership programs oversee. Monitoring Events are intended to track key events between purchase and resale: late payments to the program, notices of default or notices of foreclosure, as well as annual recordings of homeownership requirements, like proof of insurance or proof of occupancy.
In addition to those events, deciding to track properties long term, to resale, allows programs an avenue to collect longer term impacts when your homeowners ultimately sell the home, including how much loan principal was paid down, how much initial investment was recovered, how much was invested in capital improvements, and how much wealth the homeowner ultimately gained through appreciation and other activity.
What if I want to start using Homeownership features now?
You can add the Homeownership feature set at any time. As a courtesy to our early adopters, we are happy to offer two free 90-minute training and configuration sessions if you, as an existing Housing Counseling user, choose to adopt Homeownership features before 2025.
Still have questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!