Understand HOAs and how they impact homeownership

If you’re purchasing a home, you might encounter properties that are part of a homeowner’s association (HOA).  The HOA can significantly impact your living experience and responsibilities as a homeowner. It is essential to understand what buying a home under an HOA means.

An HOA is a governing body that oversees a residential community such as a subdivision, condominium complex or townhome community. The HOA is responsible for the enforcement of community rules and regulations, the maintenance of common areas and the collection of HOA dues. Homeowners in the community are typically required to be members of the HOA and pay these dues.

Rules and regulations

One of the critical features of an HOA is the set of rules and regulations, often called Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. These rules can cover various topics, including house color, landscaping, parking, noise levels and pet ownership. Before purchasing a home in an HOA community, reviewing these rules to ensure you’re comfortable abiding by them is essential.

Maintenance and amenities

HOAs often provide certain maintenance services and amenities. These include upkeep of common areas like parks or swimming pools, landscaping services, trash removal and snow removal. The extent of these services can vary significantly from one HOA to another, so it’s crucial to understand what’s included before buying.

HOA fees

Living in an HOA community means you’ll need to pay HOA fees. These fees contribute to the maintenance of the community and the services provided by the HOA. It’s crucial to factor these fees into your budget as they can significantly impact your overall housing costs. Additionally, understand that these fees can increase, or you could be charged special assessments for large, unexpected expenses.

Purchasing a home with an HOA can provide benefits like a well-maintained community and access to amenities. However, it also comes with additional financial responsibilities and rules. Be sure to carefully review the HOA documents and consult with someone who can explain your rights and responsibilities to ensure you fully understand the implications of living in an HOA community.