As you search for your new dream home, you’re likely to come across communities with homeowner associations, also known as HOAs. Before you commit to buying a house in a community with an HOA, it’s important to understand what it is and how it can affect your home and property. In this article, I break down the basics of homeowner associations.
3 Basics of Homeowner Associations
- Anticipate Dues
Whether you want to join or not, if you buy a house in a community with an HOA you are required to register and become responsible for any fees associated with the neighborhood’s organization.
What are dues used for? The primary purpose of the fees are to maintain the shared areas like parks, roads and community buildings. This maintenance ensures the neighborhood’s structures function as intended and the common areas look well groomed. Some HOA dues also include water and sewer fees for the use of community facilities. Before you buy, find out what they cover and how much to anticipate spending.
- Find Out the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions
Besides being responsible for dues to pay for maintenance, homeowners are expected to live by specific rules and regulations known as covenants, conditions and restrictions, or CC&Rs. These rules vary by HOA, but can include everything from the color of your home, type of mailbox you can have and even the number of vehicles in front of your house. While CC&Rs can seem extreme and unnecessary, ultimately the goal is to keep the neighborhood visually appealing and well-kept with a uniform appearance.
- Rule Violations
If you’re considering a home with an HOA, it is critical to understand the penalties for violating the rules set forth by CC&Rs. While a violation may seem insignificant, it can have a serious impact on your home, and can potentially lead to fines or even an eviction.
Don’t let this scare you though. As a member of an HOA, you have a say in the by-laws and board members, and are also allowed to see where exactly your money is going to help the neighborhood. Also, communities with homeowner associations typically have a stronger sense of community with regular meetings and special events that bring everyone together.
Overall, homeowner associations are in place to maintain a standard of living for the entire neighborhood that allows people to be proud of where they live as well as create a sense of togetherness within the community. What are your thoughts on HOAs? Share them with me below!
Karin Zeigler brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in buying and selling residential real estate in the South Puget Sound area including Thurston, Mason, Lewis and Pierce counties. Whether you’re looking for a first house, downsizing, or have special circumstances such as military loans, Karin can help you find your dream home. Contact her today, or call 360-870-6249, to start your home buying or selling process.