The Lowdown on HOA
Chances are if you’ve looked into purchasing a home in a development, condominium complex or other kinds of planned community, you’ve already encountered the term HOA. Well, all I can say is, the real estate industry sure loves a good acronym.
So, let’s get down to the basics.
What is an HOA?
HOA stands for “homeowner association.” These small private (sometimes volunteer) group of people manage planned communities and residential subdivisions, such as townhome neighborhoods or the before mentioned housing developments and condominium complexes.
You can think of them like a mini-government that runs, regulates and keeps order in the neighborhood.
What exactly does the HOA do?
A homeowners association usually holds several responsibilities, including:
- Making and enforcing the rules and regulations of the community, from what color you can paint your home to the size of the pets your allowed to have.
- Making decisions that regard the community as a whole, such as requesting money to repair the sidewalks in the neighborhood.
- Maintaining and up-keeping the common areas and shared community amenities such as clubhouses, landscaping, swimming pools, and gyms.
What are CC&Rs and what do they have to do with HOA?
CC&Rs or ‘covenants, conditions, and restrictions’ are the set of rules, regulations, and limitations set by the HOA board that all properties in the community and residents who live there must adhere to.
It’s important to learn the rules and abide by them to avoid potential problems. The HOA board often has the legal authority to impose penalties and regulate the community’s activities, so failure to follow the rules could result in fines, or even in more serious cases, a lien against your property.
What are HOA fees?
When you purchase a property that belongs to a planned development, it is usually a requirement that you join that community’s homeowner association- meaning you commit to paying fixed HOA fees or dues.
These fees are paid on a routine basis and the amount is determined by the HOA board and based on the budget needed to manage and maintain the building or community.
Generally, more amenities = higher fees.
What to know before you buy
Before purchasing a property in an HOA run community, you’ll want to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Read over the CC&Rs set by that specific HOA and make sure that you are both willing and able to follow them.
Learn about the process of changing, adding or amending these rules, what happens if you violate them and inquire about the HOA’s policies and past conflicts.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to purchasing a property under the jurisdiction of an HOA, so make sure to do your homework and let’s get in contact to discuss specifics before committing.