The right HOA can help residents maintain their home and property values and increase the quality of everyone’s life while living on a multi-unit property. However, all HOA’s have different regulations and rules when it comes to which policies they enforce and how they enforce them. Home buyers who are trying to decide whether or not to buy through an HOA should know more about how they work and what they can expect.
It’s the state that hands down the majority of rules to HOA’s about how they should operate, which means homeowners may see major differences from one state to the next. For instance, because Florida is so prone to natural disasters, HOA’s are given very strict guidelines about their role as property caretakers. An HOA in a mid-western state may have more free reign over what they can and can’t do on the property.
An HOA usually begins as the developers of the property (or their representatives) before transitioning to the property owners once a certain percentage of units or homes are sold. Leaders on the HOA are typically elected by a collective vote from all property owners so everyone ideally gets a say in how the property is run. Homeowners typically pay between $200 – 400 a month for HOA fees.
What an HOA Does
The general idea behind an HOA is to keep the neighborhood and homes at a constant visual level and consistent with each other. If the shared amenities on a property (e.g., pool, tennis court, etc.) need to be upgraded or repaired, it’s the HOA who arranges the schedule and pays the maintenance workers. Property owners also agree to follow certain rules set by the HOA in an effort to ensure that homes, lawns, and general areas aren’t neglected.
When it comes to day-to-day operations, each HOA will set different rules based on anything from the size of the property to the location.
In most cases, an HOA will establish certain guidelines for property, paint colors and landscape for the residents of the community. These guidelines ideally make it easy for property owners to understand the expectations of them. In some cases, HOA’s will provide security for residents, which may include fences or gates.
HOA’s may also search for ways to prevent potential property damage from natural disasters and make sustainable choices when fixing the property. But HOAs can sometimes issue complicated rules that are all too easy to break. The larger a community is, more than likely, the more complex the guidelines of the HOA will be.
Understanding Your HOA
When looking for a home that may be in an HOA, home buyers should keep transparency in mind. They should ask questions about the HOA regulations and read the rules before buying. The more an HOA tells potential owners how they arrive at their decisions, the more home buyers can make educated decisions of their own.
This is also a good time for buyers to ask themselves what exactly they want from an HOA. Some owners just want to be able to swim in a pool without having the responsibility of cleaning it. However, others may want to know that the landscaping or areas around the home are cared for by the HOA and not the homeowners.
An HOA can be an asset for a property owner who wants to enjoy a certain lifestyle without assuming the responsibility. HOA’s can also offer amenities that individual homeowners may not want to create or build, such as a pool. Home buyers who pay attention and ask the right questions will have a better chance of finding the right HOA for them.