A Homeowner’s Association (HOA) is an organized group of homeowners in a home subdivision, condominium, or cooperative complex. They come together and found a Homeowner’s Association in order to take actions and precautions against shared concerns regarding environmental code enforcement, and common maintenance issues.
Hold on, hold on… what about organizing social events?! I won’t believe this homeowner’s association definition if you don’t mention social events because that’s ALL my homeowner’s association does!
Yes, it’s true. Homeowner’s Associations do organize a lot of events, but it’s more of a “means to an end” thing in order to integrate its members. The main goal of a HOA is to act as an ensemble so that a problem produced by one household in the vicinities does not affect the whole of their community, so instilling everyone of a community sense helps and social gatherings are a great tool for that. Plus: hooray for parties, right?
The basic requirement in order to belong to a Homeowner’s Association is, of course, being a homeowner within the limits of that HOA, but every homeowner’s association has its own set of guidelines, so some might charge a fee of as much as $400 a month in order to maintain their work of protecting the community’s interests. The more upscale the houses within that community, the more expensive the monthly fee – as maintenance and security of amenities become costly.
Typically, HOAs are created or organized by the developer or builder of the condominium, cooperative or planned unit development, and its power grasp will vary from statute to statute. It can be as loose as just looking over common areas like the pool, outside laundry etc. and it can be as restrictive as determining uniformity from the door out; that is: you can do whatever you want inside your house, but the windows, doors and outside wall colors must be the same as everyone’s or within a certain style guidebook. Or determining subleases and airbnb renting are prohibited.
If you buy a house within a Homeowner’s Association you cannot say “no, thanks”. Joining is compulsory. If you don’t want to be under their umbrella, if it bothers you that, aside from the regular city ordinances and restrictions, you’ll also be subject to their own; don’t buy the house, don’t move. So, the deal is: if you are to buy a home, pay close attention to its Homeowner’s Association. Take a good look at their rules, talk about it with future neighbors. Make sure you’re okay to live under this HOA’s guidance because they can have a powerful impact on your rights as a homeowner.
Real Estate Tips:
A real estate agent will be your best friend here. Simply because he wants you to get that house, right? So make him do the dirty work and ask the home seller for a copy of minutes from the last meeting of the HOA – or maybe even sit at one of their meetings? Ask him to get a copy of their rulebook, check how much their fee is, their lawsuits history etc. Know who you’re getting in bed with!