Advantages of an HOA in Your New Home CommunityPosted on 24.1.2019
There are more than 330,000 communities in the United States governed by a homeowners association (HOA), according to the Community Associations Institute, and research shows that more than three-quarters of these homeowner report a positive experience with their associations. While buying an existing or new construction home in a community with an HOA isn’t for everyone, there are a number of great reasons why these communities are so popular:
Maintenance of Common Areas and Amenities
Developed communities have features that the entire community shares, ranging from landscaped entrances, walking trails and small lakes, to playgrounds and swimming pools. Homeowners’ HOA dues help cover the cost of maintaining these features to keep them attractive and in good working order. Since such costs are spread among all homeowners, the fees in many communities are surprisingly affordable.
A Cohesive Community Appearance
A community’s Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (often referred to as CC&Rs) set out what homeowners can and can’t do to their houses or lots. The result is a neighborhood where lawns are properly maintained, trash receptacles are out of view, house colors are pleasing, and the community has a streamlined appearance overall. This doesn’t mean that personal touches or changes can’t be made, just that homeowners will need to have planned changes approved before implementing them. In general, a uniform appearance to homes in the community preserves the same look and ambience that attracted home buyers in the first place.
Help With Property Matters
If problems arise with neighbors concerning property matters, having an HOA can help in two ways: The community rules and regulations may be enough to settle any dispute, or the board of directors or other HOA committees can help the two sides communicate to hopefully resolve the issue.
A True Sense of Community
Buyers in a planned community may often be more engaged with one another than residents of other types of neighborhoods because they share an interest in the good of the community as a whole. Everyone wants to see the community succeed and ensure their investments in their homes is protected. Residents—who literally share ownership of the communities common features and amenities— may also have more opportunities to get to know their neighbors as they spend time together at the pool or encounter them on community playgrounds or walking trails.
Whether it’s in a planned community or not, a home that’s well maintained has an attractive appearance, and is located in a well-kept neighborhood will be worth more than one that isn’t. An HOA’s rules are created to protect home values, keep them stabilized or even help increase them. You’ll never have to worry that your home’s value will be negatively affected by neighbors collecting rusting vehicles in their driveway, painting the house neon pink, or letting their lawns grow all summer long.
Homeowners Association (HOA) FAQs
Q: What is an HOA?
A: HOAs are organizations established in a planned community by the developer of the community. Everyone who buys a property in the community is automatically made members of the organization and required to pay HOA fees or dues. In addition to collecting dues and periodic assessments from homeowners, HOAs create documents that govern the community, including rules, bylaws and more. An HOA’s purpose is to protect the collective interests of homeowners in the community.
Q: Who runs an HOA?
A: An HOA is led by a board of directors elected by the homeowners, and usually consists of only homeowners.
Q: What is a special assessment?
A: One of the most important duties of the HOA’s board of directors is to create a budget each year, which will determine the upcoming year’s HOA fee amount that each homeowner must pay. The budget usually covers current, ongoing operations such as the maintenance of landscaping or swimming pools and insurance, and also covers reserves that are set aside for infrequent expenses for things such as repairing a parking lot.
When the portion of the budget designated for reserves is not enough to cover a one-time expense or something unexpected that insurance won’t cover, homeowners will have to pay a special assessment to share the costs.
Q: What is the difference between bylaws and CC&Rs?
A: Bylaws define how an HOA operates, setting forth guidelines for everything from how many members will be on the board of directors and their respective responsibilities, to how and when HOA meetings are conducted.
Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) is a document that’s legally binding and is recorded in the county’s records. It contains the rules for the planned community that every homeowner must abide by, and tells you what you can and cannot do (or must do). CC&Rs vary greatly between communities, but may include regulations regarding trash cans, garage doors, window coverings that can be seen from the street, parking boats or RVs on your lot, swing sets and more. If you seek a variance from CC&R regulations, the process may be as simple as submitting an application with a detailed description of your plans for approval from the board of directors or relevant HOA committee, such as an architectural review committee. You most likely would also need to make such an application if you want to add a swimming pool, build a backyard gazebo that would be visible from the street, or make other major changes or additions.
Q: What questions should I ask if I’m considering buying in a community with an HOA?
A: Bankrate.com suggests getting answers to these questions:
- What is and is not covered by HOA fees?
- How often have the fees increased over the years?
- How much is kept in the reserve fund for long-term repairs and maintenance?
- Has an expert estimated how much money should be in a reserve fund?
- If special assessments have been charged, how much were they and what did they pay for?
Q: How are HOA rules enforced?
A: Buying a home in a planned community with an HOA means that you are a member of the association and are legally bound to abide by the terms of the HOA’s rules and regulations. When a member doesn’t comply with those rules, the HOA will usually issue a warning or two before imposing a fine or penalty or taking other action.
Looking for low HOA fees? Come see a SEDA New Homes community!
If you’re looking for new home construction with affordable HOA fees, we invite you to visit a SEDA New Homes community. You’ll find top-quality construction, plenty of choices to help you personalize your new build home, and low HOA fees throughout our 11 communities. Learn more about all of our communities today!