As a potential home buyer, you may come across properties part of a homeowners association (HOA). While HOAs can offer many benefits, it’s important to understand what you’re getting into before purchasing. Here’s what you need to know about HOAs:
What is an HOA?
A homeowners association is an organization that manages a community of homes. HOAs are common in condominiums and planned developments.
Realtor.com states, “In a nutshell, an HOA helps ensure that your community looks its best and functions smoothly…The number of Americans living in homes with HOAs is on the rise, growing from a mere 1% in 1970 to 25% today, according to the Foundation for Community Association Research.”
What Does an HOA Do?
An HOA’s primary responsibility is to maintain the community’s common areas and enforce the rules outlined in the association’s governing documents. This can include everything from mowing the lawn to painting the exterior of buildings.
HOAs may also offer amenities, such as swimming pools, gyms, and playgrounds. Some associations even host social events for residents.
What are the Rules?
Each HOA is governed by a set of documents that detail the rules residents must follow. These documents can include minimum credit scores for buyers, pet restrictions, and noise ordinances.
It’s essential to review the association’s governing documents before buying a home in an HOA community to be comfortable with the rules.
How Much Does It Cost?
Homeowners need to understand that each HOA is a little different, and they usually have monthly or quarterly fees required for homeowners. These fees can vary based on the property size, the number of residents, amenities, and more. There may be additional fees charged to homeowners if the reserve fund for the HOA cannot cover a high or unexpected cost, like severe storm damage.
It’s important to factor in HOA fees when budgeting for your new home.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Living in an HOA Community?
Like anything, there are both pros and cons to living in an HOA community. Here are some things to consider:
- HOAs can help maintain property values by ensuring that the community looks its best.
- Access to amenities, such as possibly swimming pools and gyms.
- Living in an HOA community can provide a sense of camaraderie among neighbors.
- HOAs can be strict about enforcing the rules, which some people may find constricting.
- HOA fees can add up, and there may be additional assessments charged if the HOA needs to cover an unexpected cost.
- Some people may not like having their neighbors tell them what they can and cannot do.
There are some great benefits to having an HOA oversee your neighborhood, and it’s essential to understand what fees, structures, and regulations will come into play if there is an HOA where you’d like to live.
When you’re looking at a potential property to buy, let’s get together so you have a professional who can help you understand the neighborhood’s HOA structure and fees. This way, you’ll feel confident and fully informed when buying a home.