Homeowners Association (HOA)
Many planned development housing areas have HOA´s that require you to join the association without any exceptions. While HOA´s offer different benefits to homeowners depending on the community and structure of the association, there are also some limitations and strict rules to familiarize yourself with.
Membership is an obligation. Know the rules before you purchase your property as well as it limitations.
When you purchase a property governed by a HOA, you are not given an opportunity to reject membership. The homeowner must join the association and follow the rules and regulations. Keep in mind that the more upscale the buildings or communities are, the higher the fees will be. You are allowed to ask for a history of HOA dues for the last 10 years, which we recommend doing. That way you are able to see how much and how frequently HOA fees have increased. Before moving into a community with HOA´s, it´s a good idea to talk to a current resident that has lived in the community for several years to get their opinion on the HOA.
All owners must be equally responsible for maintaining the common areas of the building or community. As for the maintenance of your own home, it´s good to consult the homeowners association CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions). CC&Rs can dictate the colors for the exterior of your home, size and type of pets allowed in the community, parking rules, holiday decorations, landscaping, and much more.
HOA´s provide a number of benefits to the residents in their community. Benefits can include landscaping for common areas, community pools, golf courses, tennis courts, gyms, parks, road maintenance, and many other perks unique to each community.
If you live in a place that is prone to floods, earthquakes, blizzards, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes or any other type of potential natural disaster, find out if your HOA has a catastrophe insurance. You could end up saving big money if a natural disasters heads your way.
Decide if HOA´s are for you.
HOA´s are not for everyone…especially if you don´t have the extra income to afford the fees. If you can´t afford the HOA fees, don´t move to the neighborhood. The consequences of not paying HOA fees can be devastating. The association can sue for past payments, or even worse, foreclose on your home depending on the state. Make sure you know the rules and fees that come with HOA´s before you purchase your home, so you won´t get any unexpected and bitter surprises.