What is an HOA and how does it work?
A Homeowners Association, commonly known as an HOA, is a governing organization created to care for a specific neighborhood or community. Many are run and funded by the residents, although some are run by third party companies. When buying a property in an area with an HOA, you agree to abide by their rules and pay the HOA membership fees, which vary depending on the community. HOAs typically have a board of directors that meets regularly to discuss and vote on community issues, proposed improvements, items needing maintenance, and to enforce community rules and regulations. Membership dues may be payable monthly, quarterly or annually and provide the funds for the HOA to operate. Some examples of things that HOAs do with membership dues are:
Maintain community amenities and common areas such as the community entrance, clubhouses, tennis courts, pools, fitness rooms, parks and green spaces, and much more.
Help maintain the exterior structures which can include anything from landscaping to parking areas.
Pay for and supply maintenance workers and security officers.
Facilitate social groups and clubs.
Every HOA functions a little differently, so it is important to get the information on how a community is managed before you buy. Community rules and regulations are always a hot topic. Most HOA rules focus on home exteriors. ranging from acceptable exterior paint colors to the height and types of fencing allowed. However, some HOAs have rules about what types of pets residents can own and how many people can reside in a dwelling. There is typically a published rule book that you can review before purchasing in a neighborhood or community with an HOA. If you are unable to find the homeowners association rule book on your own, ask your Realtor for help.