Understanding Homeowner’s Associations

July 29, 2015 6:14 pm

neighborhoodIf you are considering purchasing a home in a newer subdivision, it is likely that you will become a member of a homeowner’s association, or HOA. An HOA is comprised of all the people who own homes in the same development with a board of directors that is typically comprised of neighbors. The HOA usually holds some control over how properties are utilized and helps provide services and amenities for the community.

An HOA will be beneficial in many ways, including:

  • Community appearance – Most homes within an HOA are required to keep up with the standards of curb appeal set by the association (or potentially pay a fine.) Because of these standards, you are less likely to see unkempt lawns, commercial vehicles, and peeling paint in your neighborhood.
  • Community amenities – Many HOAs provide recreational amenities to residents such as swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, walking trails and other community features.
  • Community management – If you have a complaint about something with your neighbor, the HOA may be able to handle the issue rather than leaving residents to deal with the disputes.
  • Community bonding – Most HOAs will have board meetings as well as host community activities. These events are an excellent way to meet and get to know your neighbors.

HOA fees vary as do regulations and some may be higher based upon the level of community amenities and services. If you are considering purchasing a home in a community that is governed by a HOA, it is important to read the fine print so you know exactly what it will include. In some states, sellers are required by law to provide buyers with an “owners’ association and mandatory covenants disclosures statements” prior to acceptance of a signed purchase contract. This document includes information such as restrictive covenants, HOA contacts, dues and services.

Also, if you are buying a condo, the HOA dues are generally higher as homeowners insurance may be included in the fee.

For some, a neighborhood with an HOA may not be the right choice, but there are certainly many positives for having property values remain strong because the neighborhood standards are closely adhered to. If the neighborhoods you like have an HOA, be sure to inquire about the costs involved and weigh out if their amenities are worth the investment. As always, I would be happy to discuss your questions and thoughts!

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