What You Need To Know About Home Owner's Associations
Most buyers cringe when they hear these three words, Home Owners Association. This private association makes and enforces rules for properties within a certain area. You can find them in subdivisions, housing communities, and condominium communities. Keep reading to find out what HOA’s do and why they aren’t as bad as they seem.
What Is An HOA?
If you buy a home in a community with an active HOA, you are automatically considered a member. You are then expected to pay “dues” either annually or monthly to continue this membership. Like it or not, you don’t have a choice but to pay. Homeowners who fall behind on payments could find that the HOA has put a lien on their property.
The membership fees vary from one HOA to another. A reserve fund will hold all membership fees until needed. The money will be spent on things like renovations or emergencies in the community. Some fees will also cover upkeep or beautification of common areas.
Can They Legally Do That?
The truth is, the HOA can have legal power over property owners in their community. They have been known to fine homeowners who don’t keep up with landscaping and structural maintenance. The HOA in my neighborhood has actually delivered “mow your lawn or else” letters to homes with grass that was "too long."
There is usually an active Board of Directors that are responsible for making sure all the rules are being followed. If you live in a community with an active HOA, you will find these rules in your Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. The HOA can place restrictions on structures on your property, fencing, landscaping, and even paint colors. You will most likely need approval before you can make any cosmetic change to your home.
The Benefits Of Having An HOA?
Living in a community with an active HOA can actually be a good thing for homeowners. The strict standards HOA’s have for homeowners helps to uphold the value of their homes. They also provide amenities such as landscaping, pools, and tennis courts, which are available to all members.
When searching for your new home, make sure you ask your agent about any HOA your home could be associated with. They will be able to get information on the fees and restrictions that go along with the HOA before you make a purchase decision. If you have any questions about locations that have active HOA’s, give us a call!