Let’s start with the facts; A Homeowner Association is an organization in a subdivision, planned community or condominium that make and enforces rules for the properties in its jurisdiction. So what does that mean? Your guess is as good as mine! (I’m kidding!) Keep reading, maybe we can get this figured out together!
Board – There is typically a board; a group of residents within the neighborhood or condo complex that have volunteered their services to the Homeowner’s Association. This board assigns different task to each member, basically to enforce the rules created by the association.
Rules – The rules included in the association are called covenants, conditions and restrictions. The covenants, conditions and restrictions usually apply to both the homeowner and the home. For instance; there may be restrictions on what color you can paint the exterior of your home, how many vehicles can be parked in your driveways, or what roofing materials you are allowed to use. Each HOA sets different rules, so carefully review the HOA manual and/or list of covenants, conditions, and restrictions before you commit to purchasing a home. You can request a copy from your agent.
Penalties – There can be penalties involved if you don’t play by the rules of the HOA. You may simply be asked to reverse the offense, (repaint the freshly painted house…better to ask for permission than for forgiveness in this instance. Your neighbor may not appreciate the lime green trim color you choose) or there may be a fine involved as well.
Dues – Part of your HOA membership includes association fees or dues. These fees are typically paid monthly or annually. The fees are based upon the neighborhood’s amenities and common areas, such as playgrounds, landscaping, walking paths and pools. The dues are primarily used for maintaining the neighborhood, but other expenses such as city utility services and insurance premiums are also paid by the dues.
Special Assessments – When needed the HOA board may impose special assessments for needed improvements or an emergency repair not covered by the insurance.
Now, I know what you are thinking; “It’s my home, and I should be able to do with it as I wish.” That is a true statement and an understandable argument, but there are advantages to HOAs. Your property value is more likely to remain stable, you will live in a beautiful neighborhood where you will not be the victim of lime green trim, you have the option to enjoy the neighborhood amenities such as cooling off in the pool on a hot summer day, taking your children or grandchildren on a walk to the playground, or playing 18 holes with your buddies. It can be nice to live among people and families who share the same vision in what they’d like their neighborhood to be. Remember, whichever path you choose, we wish you the very best!