HOA: What You Need to Know

HOA? What does that even stand for? Perhaps you’re buying your first home. Maybe you’ve lived in an area without an HOA. This is a big change for anyone unfamiliar with the term or concept.  So what’s next? Dig deep. Find out more about the homeowner association. Ask your realtor for help. Read further for the low down and recommended questions to ask.

HOA = Homeowner Association : (n.) an organization enforcing rules and regulations in a community of homes, townhomes, and condominiums

Why?

To maintain a living environment that is clean, uniform, and well maintained.

Who?

Volunteers living in the community govern the association.

What?

An HOA establishes the CC&R (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions). Unmaintained conditions or violated rules will leave the homeowner at risk of a penalty. For example, a fine, a lien placed on the home, or even foreclosure.

Where?

Homeowner Associations are in single-family home subdivisions and communities of townhomes and condominiums.

How?

Homeowners are required to join the HOA when purchasing the property. Non-negotiable fees are paid yearly or monthly. As a member, you are bound to the CC&R, and required to follow those standards.

HOA fees range from $200-$1000+ per year. The higher the fee, the more you receive from your Homeowner Association.

Common HOA Perks:

  • Shared amenities
    • Pool
    • Tennis courts
    • Clubhouse
    • Playground
  • Subdivision entrance appearance and landscaping
  • Uniform look of neighborhood
  • Your neighbors can not have a sloppy front yard. They also can’t paint their home in odd colors like hot pink.

Questions to Ask:

  1. What are the perks?
  2. Can I see a copy of the current CC&R?
  3. How much increase of dues is allowed each year?
  4. Who are the members?
  5. Who is the current president?
  6. What is the process of resolving issues?
  7. What is the process to add or change rules?
  8. Request a list of:
    1. Past 10 years of annual dues-look for trends in increases/decreases
    2. Past rule violations
  9. What are past, current, or potential violations from the previous property owners?
  10. Can I see the green provisions?
    1. What plants are allowed?
    2. Are there any fertilizers, pesticides, or other guidelines with landscaping?
  11. What are regulations for the outside of the home?
    1. What is the approval process when painting the outside of the home?
    2. Are there limitations of outdoor decorations?
  12. What is the reputation of the current HOA?
    1. Search social media, ask neighbors, or talk with a member to make a judgment of the HOA’s reputation.

Resources:

  • Multiple Listing Services (MLSs)
  • Your real estate agent
  • Social Media (Facebook, Nextdoor, Ring)

Want to know about other aspects of buying a home? Check out our buyer and seller guides.

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