If you’re looking to move into a new place, it’s likely that you’ve considered neighborhoods that come with a homeowner’s association. After all, over 74 million people in the country live in a homeowner association community. However, what exactly is it, and why should you consider moving into an area that has one?
Simply put, a HOA is a self-governed organization that has its own set of rules and by-laws and is governed by a board of directors that is made up of select resident members. As a general rule, membership within HOA communities is mandatory, and members must pay a certain fee that goes to the maintenance of the neighborhood and its communal amenities. While this might seem like an unnecessary expense, there are certain benefits to moving in a community with a HOA that definitely make this fee worth it.
Living in a neighborhood that has well-maintained communal amenities is a dream for most homeowners. In fact, 58% of Gen Zers look for communities that are pet-friendly. Meanwhile, 51% of Baby Boomers typically prioritize communities that offer covered parking spaces. This is one of the key advantages of living in a homeowner’s association community. Residents usually have access to communal facilities, including pools, parks, and as parking areas. The association fee goes to the maintenance of these facilities.
Usually, you’ll have to pay a fee that ranges from $50 to $2,500 a year, and the high-end fees are typically tied to communities that have private streets and gates along with dedicated personnel. However, in a more general sense, the fee usually goes to landscaping and lawn maintenance, garbage pick-up, parking, and maintenance of shared utilities. This simply means that HOA communities allow you access to amenities that are safe and convenient for you to use.
It should provide you with a sense of comfort knowing that the membership fees you are paying are managed properly and that the amenities you enjoy within your community are maintained by professionals who know exactly what they are doing. Usually, HOAs manage these internal processes and regular services themselves. However, in the event that there are tasks that a HOA board cannot carry out, whether due to lack of time or expertise, they can hire a community management company within their areas.
A HOA in San Francisco, for example, can seek the services of HOA management based in California. On the other hand, HOA management in Huntersville NC can be handled by a company based in the Carolinas. These companies can provide administrative support to make sure that a HOAs funds are managed well and its operations are running smoothly. Aside from that, they can also offer building maintenance services and can even help in resolving disputes among residents. At the end of the day, these services benefit all of the residents of the community.
Safety and Security
If there’s one thing that has become synonymous to HOAs, it’s community rules and regulations. After all, HOAs are often governed by a stringent set of rules. However, these are set in place and enforced to ensure the order within the community. A HOA’s by-laws, which are usually based on the rules set out on the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), usually dictate requirements on home improvements, as well as penalties for non-compliance. These, in turn, ensure that conflict between HOAs and community members are avoided.
Aside from dispute resolution, HOAs also keep your community safe through other means. For instance, they can perform security assessments to identify which areas of the community are at risk. As well, they ensure that security measures throughout the community are effective. Finally, they also organize neighborhood watches, educate residents on safety protocols, and partner with local law enforcement. This is why HOA communities in cities with high crime rates are deemed safe.
Maintenance and Emergency Support
As a general rule, homeowners should take charge of the maintenance of their homes. This rule also applies even to homes within a homeowner’s association community. However, a HOA does provide support in the maintenance and repair of limited common areas or restricted common areas. These can include balconies on a condo building or fences dividing two or more yards. While limited, this support goes a long way in ensuring that your property is well-maintained.
In most cases, HOAs cannot legally expand their powers in case of emergencies such as a hurricane or flooding. However, as community maintenance is one of their duties, they are also often empowered to work with the local government in the implementation of disaster plans covering the operation of communal facilities. Moreover, HOAs are often advised to put 25% to 40% of the fees they receive into a reserve fund for emergencies, and these are directed towards emergency response measures and repairs.
All in all, while there are additional fees that you do have to pay when moving in a homeowner’s association community, the presence of a HOA itself brings with it a number of benefits. Living in a HOA community gives you access to communal amenities that are otherwise difficult to find, and you can be assured that your neighborhood is safe and well-maintained.