Homeowner’s Associations (HOAs) can be great for maintaining property values and keeping neighborhoods looking nice, but they also come with a few restrictions.
It’s essential to know upfront what all an HOA community entails before buying a home and committing to that type of lifestyle.
Below we’ll discuss the top things you need to know before buying a home with an HOA.
What Are HOAs?
HOAs are private, nonprofit corporations in most states and some federal properties. The HOA board members provide homeowners with a means to form a voice against zoning changes that would limit their property’s use and impact.
In essence, HOAs act as private residents associations for each residential community and typically have three functions: management, financing, and regulations.
Homeowners association management includes all decisions made about the property within the boundaries of your lot. This may include landscaping, exterior paint colors, parking rules, swimming pools, etc.
The membership fee or monthly dues generally cover the cost of the services provided by the HOA. A reserve budget is usually brought into play if any significant expenses occur or an assessment may occur.
Regulations are the laws that govern how the neighborhood operates, including requiring residents to maintain their lawns, sidewalks, etc.
Also, if there’s a dispute between neighbors, it would typically be handled by the board or a mediator before going to court. There may also be fines for breaking the rules or violating the regulations.
Do You Have to Join an HOA?
It’s not mandatory to buy into an HOA, but you will have to join if you purchase a property in one. Many communities don’t have HOAs, but they also may not be as attractive or safe to live in due to the lack of regulations or rules.
The only way to avoid joining an HOA is by not buying a property within an HOA community; it’s that simple. However, many first-time buyers believe they can avoid their first association by buying “deed restricted” or “owner-occupied” property. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Can I Buy a Property While Avoiding Joining An HOA?
You cannot buy a property in an HOA community and then try to avoid joining the HOA. If you don’t want to pay any monthly dues or other fees to keep the community maintained, you should not consider buying a home in these communities.
What Does It Cost To Join An HOA?
Homeowners’ Associations fees will vary depending on the size of the community and the details of what the HOA is responsible for within the rules and regulations.
In some cases, a one-time initiation or application fee is required when attempting to purchase a home in an HOA community. Be sure to find out the fees and monthly costs upfront before buying a home with an HOA.
Homeowners Association VS. Condo Association: Differences
Homeowners associations are responsible for the general maintenance and upkeep of common areas in their communities, such as landscaping, streets, sidewalks, and even lighting.
Condominium associations, however, are responsible only for their own property; they do not accept responsibility for other properties within their community.
Because of this general difference between HOAs and condo associations, it’s handy to be knowledgeable about these two types of associations before buying.
What Can My HOA Do?
HOA board members are in the business of protecting their property values, so they don’t want you to make any changes that will impact that.
They are authorized to make decisions about exterior paint colors, roofing materials, and even where you can park your car.
If you want to paint your home red instead of white or put a glass-enclosed room over your patio, you may find it challenging to do so if neighbors don’t like it.
Homeowners are often surprised and disappointed that their new backyard pool or fence doesn’t look as expected. When you buy a home in an established community, you might have to settle for a smaller pool or a specific fence.
Be careful if you intend to be creative with your yard design; the homeowners association management can even veto your landscaping projects.
If you plan to make any significant home improvements, be prepared to have your plans approved by the board.
You will have to pay for the HOA fees and permit costs. HOAs can apply these fees directly to your account at closing or pass them along to you later if your plans aren’t approved before you close.
HOAs generally don’t allow new construction in the existing neighborhood areas. However, they typically do allow certain types of alterations. These restrictions can be very restrictive and upsetting for homeowners who want a more modern or contemporary house.
Some people don’t like not being able to do renovations or updates due to the limitations according to the HOA rules and regulations.
Homeowners associations promote harmony in their community and make the neighborhood look attractive to their residents.
They are responsible for the general upkeep of their communities, keeping common areas clean and well-maintained.
Homeowners associations are also responsible for maintaining the security of your community. They can install street lamps and cameras on street corners; they usually provide a private patrol service at night to ensure everything is safe and secure.
When it comes to improving property value, an HOA is a blessing; it is designed to enhance your status in life. They can raise the value of your home through deed restrictions and more attractive landscaping.
They can connect you to other neighbors and promote community by creating an “umbrella” of support that surrounds your home.
When you live in an HOA, you will find yourself part of a community where people care about each other and are willing to help when needed. You will find yourself surrounded by people who have similar tastes and expectations for their homes and their neighborhoods.
HOA communities are actively involved in social activities and are bound to help you out with any problems or concerns you may have.
Many HOAs offer incentive programs that discount lawn maintenance and exterior painting services; some will even provide discounts on home improvements, such as pool services or irrigation.
There are many benefits to living in an HOA community; however, there may also be some drawbacks. If you’re considering buying a house in an HOA community, make sure that you research the community’s benefits before purchasing a home there.
Do you have more questions? Do not hesitate to contact us today; we’ll be more than happy to help.