What Is a Homeowners Association? 

what is a homeowners association - david & DeLaat ReMax Real Estate Blog

Homeowner Associations are organizations that are generally managed by resident property owners who oversee that all residents within the community adhere to community rules such as cleanliness or appearance. They are more frequently associated with planned communities and developments and charge fees to residents, which vary from community to community.

 

“A homeowner’s association (HOA) is an organization in a subdivision, planned community, or condominium building that makes and enforces rules for the properties and residents. Those who purchase property within an HOA’s jurisdiction automatically become members and are required to pay dues, known as HOA fees.” Investopedia

 

Typically, the HOA board is made up of elected residents who volunteer their time to the association’s management. HOAs main goal is to ensure that property values remain the same or, ideally, increase. They achieve this by establishing community rules that promote a neat and rather cohesive communal area.

Homeowners Association vs Condo Association

HOAs are frequently associated with condominium and townhouse developments, but also in communities of single-family homes such as newer subdivisions. However, one key difference between a condo association and a homeowners’ association is what the individual members actually own.

  • Condo Association: Each member owns their individual unit and they have a joint ownership interest in the common areas. A condo owner will have joint ownership stake in the lobby of the building and all condo owners are members of their community’s association and share ownership stake in what that association owns.
  • Homeowner Association (HOA): Each member owns their individual property and their lot and common areas are owned by the homeowners’ association itself—meaning there is no joint ownership interest in the common areas. The HOA may be a wholly independent entity or it may be owned by the developer of the community.

Homeowners Association Fees

Fees for homeowners associations can vary widely. Fees can range from $100 per month to upwards of $500. Often, the fee depends on the type of community in question, the square footage involved, and if there are special features associated with the community such as a golf course or on-site parking as in the case with high-rise condominium developments. The number of the location’s amenities and services (i.e. gate attendant salary) will affect the fee structure as well. Communal upkeep and maintenance services will also be levied in the fee structure.

Common Restrictions on an HOA

Like fees, HOA restrictions and regulations vary widely. Some of the most common restrictions that property owners are likely to encounter in communities where HOAs operate are:

  • No overgrown or unkempt landscaping

In fact, it’s not uncommon for these organizations to prohibit certain types of trees, shrubs, and plantings, while encouraging the planting of others.

  • No RV or commercial vehicles can be parked or visible stored or parked at the property
  • No subletting the property
  • No storage sheds
  • No changing the home’s outdoor appearance without consent of the HOA
  • No storing sporting equipment outdoors where it can be seen
  • No oversized holiday decorations and no keeping holiday decorations up past the holiday

If you want to change your home’s paint colour, shutters, mailbox, etc…you may need to get approval from the HOA first.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Buying Real Estate in a Community Managed by an HOA?

DISADVANTAGES

It’s not uncommon for residents in communities operated by HOAs to take issue with the rules in place and these associations generally feature a conflict management process in their bylaws. However, HOAs do have the power to charge fines to residents who fail to comply with regulations and restrictions.They cannot typically ‘kick out’ property owners, they may be able to place a lien on properties for unpaid fees, fines, and even attorney’s fees. In rare instances, they may even have the power to instate foreclosure proceedings for failure to pay HOA fees.

For instance, some HOAs may even refuse to allow certain dog breed types within the community. It’s very important you look into the specific rules and regulations laid out by the HOA you are interested in.

ADVANTAGES

The main advantage of living in a HOA community is the organization helps to support property values.Residents of condominium developments may not have to worry about any landscaping, because those needs are managed by the HOA. Also, many communities where HOAs operate are associated with stable home values.
Some also feature a wide range of amenities that may include:

  • Door service
  • On-site parking
  • Landscaping
  • Clubhouse
  • Swimming pool
  • Security

Is Life in an HOA-Managed Community Right for You?

Many property shoppers prefer to live in developments where HOAs operate in order to enjoy the convenient amenities and services offered to residents. However, even if you are searching for an HOA community, it’s always a good idea to schedule some time to meet with your prospective community’s HOA president in order to get a feel about how the association operates in the community. Also, ask other residents about their opinion of the HOA.

Think about how you prefer to live before you purchase a property in a community with HOA oversight. Many of the HOA rules are likely to affect aspects of your life that you may never have considered. Planning to put up a bouncy house in your front yard to celebrate your kids’ birthdays? Not so fast! Many HOAs have ordinances against them or against entertaining in the front yard or hosting a family gathering in the garage – be sure to learn everything you can about the HOA’s rules because once you move in, you’ll be subject to them.

Are You Looking to Buy a Home in the Niagara Region? Call Davids & DeLaat!

Davids & DeLaat associations partner with people who are in search of finding the perfect home in the Niagara Region. We can help you find your ideal property whether you prefer to live in a community managed by an HOA or not. It’s definitely important to understand the HOAs bylaws before purchasing a property in an HOA-run community. HOA fees can also be steep, so you should be aware of all HOA monetary obligations before you fall in love with a property. We’ll help you find the ideal community for your needs and vision of home. If you want to avoid purchasing a property that falls under HOA management, we can help you find the right property for your needs and budget.

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