What is an HOA?
HOA is an abbreviation for a homeowners association. As a non-profit organization, HOAs regulate subdivisions of homes, condos, or planned developments through the implementation of rules and regulations.
The purpose of HOAs is to protect and improve property values for community residents. These associations restrict the activities of homeowners while maintaining common areas to ensure their upkeep.
What Does an HOA Do?
Each HOA comes with dues or fees required by the end of the month, quarter, semester, or year. All HOA members are allowed to vote for the HOA president or board of directors who are responsible for managing the HOA. Fees may or may not include maintenance for private streets, gates, and sidewalks.
However, each HOA may have its own set of rules and regulations that all residents must follow. Rules may prohibit certain types of grass or paint. Trailers and garbage cans may require some form of a privacy fence, but these rules are ultimately up to the president, board, and community of voters. As an HOA member, you will be more than capable of voicing concerns or disapproval at each meeting and possibly running for an HOA position to become a decision-maker.
Details for your prospective community are outlined in the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. If you are thinking about buying a home in an HOA community, reviewing this document is essential before signing a purchase agreement.
Is an HOA good for you and your family?
Consider the following factors when deciding whether an HOA is right for you:
Your monthly obligations will be increased by HOA dues
Your maximum loan amount will be affected by the dues
Do the HOA's rules suit your lifestyle? Pets, trailers, gardening, pool, home color scheme, and parking may all be affected by your HOA.
Ensure that you thoroughly read the HOA's rules and regulations before purchasing the home. It may not be a bad idea to meet with representatives of the HOA board for a clearer understanding of the rules. It's also a decent way of meeting your future neighbors!
How popular are Homeowner Associations?
According to iPropertyManagemenet, over 27 million homeowners live in HOA communities within the United States. That statistic only continues to grow with over 8,000 new HOA communities sprouting up each year. In South Carolina, here are several interesting stats regarding HOAs.
What are the different types of housing associations?
Homeowner Association - As mentioned above, this is likely the first type of community association the average person is aware of. After a homeowner purchases property within an HOA community, they are required to adhere to the community CC&R, or Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. Each community's elected members choose the fees, rules, and regulations.
Condominium Association - Much like an HOA or homeowner's association, but it applies to a condo or townhome. Typically, homeowners own everything within the walls of their property. Community management tends to be responsible for pipes, wiring, etc.
Master Association - If you are looking into major planned communities, you'll notice that they sometimes have smaller neighborhoods within them. Each of these internal communities may have its own HOA, which causes a need for a master association, or lead authority. Dues are collected by each neighborhood which then transfers hands to the master community.
Civic Association - A looser alternative, civic associations do not have the authority to enforce rules or fees. These associations only tend to thrive if their members participate voluntarily and donate funds to the cause.
Which type of community would be best for your family? Many neighborhoods still thrive without the conditions set by HOAs, but they do provide services that lead to a higher range of success. For example, you'll likely never need to worry about new neighbors parking cars on their lawns like a parking lot after painting their house an extreme color. Then again, HOA fees could leave you paying hundreds each month in dues. In the end, it is all about your budget and personal opinion.
Interested in buying? Take a look at some fantastic listings in various communities.
Posted by Eric Emond on