Is an HOA right for you?

Dated: March 23 2021

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Most homeowners fall into one of two categories when they hear the word homeowners' associations. You either love them, or you hate them. If you're getting ready to purchase a home, especially a new construction home, there's a chance you could end up selecting a house that falls within an HOA. Before you write off never living in a neighborhood with an association, here is everything you need to know. 

What is a homeowner's association? 

A homeowner's association is a governing body nominated by those in the neighborhood to ensure that the community looks and functions at its best. According to a Realtor.com report, 25% of American's who own homes live within an HOA community. 

HOA Fees

It's important to understand that not every HOA functions the same way. As a homeowner residing within an HOA, you will be required to pay monthly, quarterly, or yearly fees. The fees you're paying are based on the size of the property, the number of residents within the community, the amenities available to you, and more. 

If a property you are considering resides within an HOA, before finalizing the home purchase, we will find out how much the fees are, what's included in those fees, and if there is a chance of additional fees throughout the year. Additional fees are typically added on if unexpected expenses occur and there is not enough in the reserve fund to cover the cost. 

The fees you pay to the association help cover the costs to maintain common areas such as the community entrance, pools, fitness rooms, parks, and more.

HOA Rules

Every homeowner's association will have its own set of rules called covenants, conditions, and restrictions, or CC&Rs. These government-imposed requirements let you as the homeowner know how the land can be used to help maintain the attractiveness and value of your property. When you find a home that you want to put an offer in on, it's important to take the time to review the CC&Rs during your option period to decide if you'd like to move forward with the purchase. While each HOA CC&Rs will vary slightly, here are a few things to expect. 

  • What color you can paint your home

  • Landscaping standards

  • Fencing

  • Security lights 

  • Vehicle storage and parking 

  • Use of residence 

HOA Rule Violations & Missed Dues

When you're considering houses within an HOA community, your mortgage company will consider the fees as part of the loan application process. By your mortgage company considering the costs, you will know if the house fits appropriately within your finances, ensuring the fees won't put you in a bind.

The reason many homeowners don't care for HOAs is because of the potential for rule violations. If you receive a violation, the consequence will vary, but it's important to know that you could potentially face eviction from the property. If you violate a rule, work with your HOA board to fix the issue as quickly as possible. 

Benefits of an HOA

For many, when it comes to an HOA, all they can think about is their rules and restrictions. However, there are many benefits to living in an HOA community. 

Neighborhoods with an HOA are viewed as clean and with higher property value. When it comes time to sell, you know your home has retained its value because everyone in the neighborhood works together to ensure the neighborhood appears as a place someone would want to live. 

You won't have to worry about a neighbor leaving trash out everywhere, lawns becoming overgrown, cars parked where they shouldn't be, or fences falling down. Another benefit of living within an HOA is the board can step in and help mediate neighbor complaints.

Remember, an HOA's goal is not to meddle; it's merely to maintain a neighborhood aesthetic. 

 

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