How To Embrace the HOA
One of the new experiences that awaits first time homeowners is dealing with a homeowners association (HOA). If you’ve always rented your home, adjusting to dealing with an HOA instead of a landlord might take some getting used to. Understanding what they are supposed to do for you, and what falls outside of their jurisdiction can help you get off on the right foot.
What is a HOA and What Are They Responsible For?
The HOA is an organization that sets up rules and restrictions for a community and enforces those rules to keep the community uniform and in good condition. They also maintain any common areas and amenities, like pools, clubhouses or gyms, to preserve the value and function of these assets. Communities that have more onsite amenities typically come with larger HOA fees to keep these in good working order. In order to finance maintenance and repairs, each resident has to pay fees or dues to the association. These are usually paid in a lump sum twice a year to cover the upcoming six months.
Every Homeowners Association is Different
The particular responsibilities of your HOA can vary based on the way the community is set up and the type of property you live in. For example, in a condominium, the HOA is usually responsible for repairs to the exterior structure, like the roof and stairwells. However in a community made up of single family residences, the HOA is not responsible for fixing issues with any part of the home structure. Before agreeing to buy in any community, its important to understand the HOA fees, what they cover and what they will not.
Get Involved to Stay Informed
The best way to stay informed about what the HOA is doing is to be involved. All members of the community are welcome to participate in the meetings, which should be held on a monthly or quarterly basis. The information about when and where the meeting will be held should be made known in your community, either by posted signs or letters to residents through the mail. As you attend these meetings, you’ll get a better idea of what issues are important to other community members and what improvements the association is planning to take on soon. If you are not happy with the direction that the HOA is currently going in, you can become more involved and make your opinion heard.
When in Doubt, Ask Questions
In many communities, residents like to engage in speculation about the HOA and what they are planning. Instead of engaging in gossip, communicating with the HOA is the best way to get a clear answer about any questions you have. Most HOAs are highly responsive to questions from residents and will do their best to help with any issues that arise in the community.
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