Homeowners associations, also known as HOA’s, are increasing in number across the United States. According to the Community Associations Institute, about 68 million homeowners live within some kind of HOA. These include various property types, such as subdivisions of single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes and property cooperatives.
Basically, homeowners associations are concerned with managing deed restrictions and protective covenants, along with the care and maintenance of common areas. This is intended for the purpose of preserving property values and enhancing a quality of living.
Joining an HOA is simple. If you buy a home that is located within an association’s boundaries, you become an instant member. You also become instantly obligated to follow all association rules and by-laws, which may regulate everything from how you may remodel, to your home’s exterior paint colors, to whether or not you can park an RV in your driveway.
On the plus side, many HOA’s provide and maintain amenities that improve the quality of life for resident members – things like parks, playgrounds, tennis courts, community pools and club houses. Depending on the HOA, services like on-site security, street and sidewalk maintenance, lawn care and other benefits may be provided.
Of course, you help pay for these things through monthly homeowner association dues. HOA’s assess dues based on their operating expenses, which include the upkeep and repair of amenities, common areas and shared structures.
Your association dues are not negotiable. They can increase if operating costs increase. Or increase if the association’s reserve funds were insufficient to cover a major repair. Failure to pay your dues can result in foreclosure by the association.
When you consider buying a home that is part of an HOA, it’s essential that you review the association’s rules and by-laws, as well as its financial condition report.Your Exclusive Buyer Agent can help you obtain this documentation as part of your home purchase negotiations, and help you evaluate the quality of the HOA!