Moving into an HOA community can be exciting. After all, HOAs offer many benefits. But, there are also responsibilities and rules potential residents must understand. Here’s what you should know before moving into an HOA community.
What to Expect From Moving Into an HOA Community
There were over 350,000 homeowners associations in the United States in 2019. Considering how HOAs increase property values, this number is likely to increase even more moving forward.
As such, many aspiring homeowners will eventually need to understand what moving into an HOA community means. There are many obvious upsides to living in one. But, there can also be a few surprises that may catch people off guard. Here are some tips for moving into an HOA community.
1. HOAs Exist for a Purpose
Homeowners associations generally exist to protect the community’s property values. HOAs achieve this by carefully maintaining common areas and facilities like roads, clubhouses, parks, and pools. They also protect property values by enforcing rules.
As a homeowner, this means you can expect to sell your home for a higher price down the road. This makes living in an HOA a good investment if you eventually plan to move away. The market may change over the years but living in an HOA will protect your home’s value.
2. HOAs Have Rules
Before moving into an HOA community, potential residents must know that HOAs have rules. They must pay attention to these rules and follow them to live peacefully in the neighborhood. This may be a drawback for some, but it can be a good thing.
That’s because rules maintain order and protect the neighborhood’s appeal. For example, rules on noise limitations and pet policies can ensure that residents live in peace. Some rules, like those involving home occupancy or rental restrictions, keep the community safe. Ultimately, the rules exist to benefit the HOA by maintaining peace and property values.
Remember that an HOA’s rules must follow local, state, and federal legislation. For example, an HOA cannot discriminate against people according to the Fair Housing Act. Hence, they cannot prevent people from buying homes in the community based on sex, race, religion, etc.
3. Violations Have Consequences
Moving into an HOA community means homeowners automatically agree to the HOA’s covenants and rules. As such, noncompliance will have its consequences. Some of the most common consequences include monetary penalties. Violators may also receive warning letters or privilege suspensions.
In severe cases, HOAs may place a lien on a violator’s property and eventually file for foreclosure. Remember to check the association’s governing documents to learn about the consequences violators may face.
4. Homeowners Must Pay HOA Fees
Homeowners must pay association dues as members of the community. This helps the HOA maintain common areas, improve security, and pay for general utilities like water, electricity, and garbage collection.
HOA fees will vary from community to community. Larger neighborhoods with big projects and more facilities will charge higher fees. This is because communities like these need a lot more maintenance to keep property values high.
In addition, there are times when residents will need to pay more than the monthly HOA fee. That’s because HOAs sometimes charge special assessments. HOAs use these for emergencies or unexpected expenses. But, the HOA’s governing documents will dictate when and how much these fees will be. Various states also have laws that regulate assessments.
5. Homeowners May Have Maintenance Responsibilities
Potential residents may think the HOA board will handle all the maintenance, but this is not always the case. That’s because many associations clearly describe the maintenance tasks the HOA is responsible for.
For instance, an HOA may only be responsible for the upkeep of common areas like parks. In this example, the homeowners are responsible for maintaining their lawns and driveways. Furthermore, some associations even require residents to maintain their property regularly. That means homeowners must be mindful of chipping paint or dirty driveways.
6. HOAs Follow Processes
There is a formal process for almost everything in a homeowners association. There are procedures for home improvements, adopting pets, or even simply adding decorations to the lawn during the holidays.
For example, let’s say a homeowner wants to build a shed or tree house in their yard. In this case, the homeowner usually has to undergo an architectural approval process first. The homeowner can only go through with their plans after going through the HOA’s due process.
7. HOAs Have Wonderful Amenities
One of the biggest benefits of living in an HOA is the amenities. Many have wonderful amenities and facilities that homeowners can take advantage of. Moreover, these amenities are often exclusive to community members, so fewer security concerns exist.
Some amenities include pools, fitness centers, clubhouses, sports facilities, private parks, playgrounds, gardens, and co-working spaces. Homeowners should take advantage of these amenities because they pay their upkeep through their monthly dues. Plus, the HOA management company also manages the amenities.
8. Social Events
HOAs host plenty of social events that foster a sense of community. This allows the residents to feel like they belong in the neighborhood truly. Some examples of social events include pet parades, community barbecues, and neighborhood festivals.
9. The Board Is in Charge, But They Don’t Have Absolute Power
The board of directors runs the HOA. They collect fees, enforce rules, resolve conflicts, and communicate with community members. The board determines many things, including the budget, how much assessments will be, and what policies to enact.
This doesn’t mean the board has absolute power. Homeowners have a voice, too. They can choose the community’s direction by voting for the right board members. Residents can also bring up their concerns during meetings. Moreover, they can even run for a board position themselves to make a change.
A Peaceful Community
Moving into an HOA community has its downsides. But, it certainly has great benefits — especially if you want to maintain property values and live in a peaceful neighborhood. The HOA fees and rules are usually only minor inconveniences.
Are you already living in an HOA community that is struggling with management? Look no further than Landmark Community Management. We offer best-in-class HOA management services to communities around Texas. Get in touch with us today!