An HOA, or homeowners’ association, is a community organization that maintains order within a neighborhood. The HOA creates and enforces rules for general upkeep of the properties. Homeowners must abide by these guidelines or risk fines.
For this service, homeowners pay fees, which are usually due at the beginning of each calendar year. In some communities, however, the fees are quarterly or even monthly.
Read on to find out how to live with an HOA, as well as its benefits.
How an HOA Works
Your HOA consists of a panel of elected board members. These members vote on community issues and supervise the general goings-on in your neighborhood.
Fees vary according to the activity of your HOA. They can range from the low hundreds to a few thousand a year. If your HOA is relatively inactive and your neighborhood doesn’t have many amenities, you will probably pay on the low end. But if you live in a neighborhood with an involved HOA and high-end amenities, expect those fees to be significant. After all, the money you pay goes toward the upkeep of those amenities.
A large part of your HOA’s responsibilities include ensuring your neighborhood’s beauty and conformity. Within every HOA community, there are rules for parking, noise levels, backyard structures, and exterior paint colors, and more. Some HOAs are stricter than others, but overall, the board is responsible for enforcing these rules.
How To Coexist With Your HOA
2. Learn about fees and fines.
If you’re interested in a particular neighborhood, always check to make sure you can afford the HOA fees. They usually aren’t included in your mortgage, and you don’t want any surprises. Anticipate these when planning your budget.
3. Ask permission before you make any changes.
You may assume that as a homeowner, you can go ahead and add that cute play area in your backyard or paint your front door that lovely shade of yellow. Not so fast — check with your HOA before making any changes.
4. Get involved.
Feel free to attend meetings, where you may simply observe or even present issues. If you’re interested, HOA boards elect new members from time to time and you may want to put your name in the hat.
Key Benefits of Living Under an HOA
Neighborhood Amenities and Events
As a homeowner, you pay for privileges like pools and spas, clubhouses, playgrounds, barbecue areas, walking trails, pet parks, and golf courses.
HOA involvement leads to higher property values and adds to the beauty of the community.
HOAs handle trash pickup and sometimes even landscaping, as well as upkeep of common areas like pools and play areas.