Some people love and hate them, but you will likely associate with one if you’re moving into a home (be that condo, apartment, or neighbourhood). A Homeowners Association (HOA) is a community organization that manages and governs a neighborhood or residential community. HOAs are responsible for maintaining common areas, enforcing community rules and regulations, and collecting dues from homeowners. Understanding HOAs can be difficult, but it’s essential to learn. If you’re considering buying a home in an HOA-managed community or are already a homeowner within an HOA, this guide will help you understand their ins and outs.
Understanding HOA Governance and Rules
An HOA is an organization comprised of community members and is usually volunteer-based.
Typically, they are made up of four core members: a president, vice president, board secretary, and treasurer. They are usually voted into office by fellow homeowners. There also might be general members who make up committee teams. HOA fees typically cover maintenance and upkeep costs for common areas. Prices will vary depending on location. Usually, fees will be included in the property listing. Rules will vary per HOA, so make sure you educate yourself on the rules of your HOA. Although this is not exhaustive, rules typically include landscaping, vehicles and parking, trash pick up, pets, noise, holiday decorations, and design changes. Rules are usually called covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs), and violations can result in severe fines or penalties. Understanding HOAs and their rules will help you avoid any issues.
Benefits and Challenges of Homeowners Associations
There are pros and cons to living in an HOA-managed community. Understanding HOAs and how they function will help you make an informed decision. If living in a neat and tidy community is important to you, HOA communities will make that happen. You might also have recreational facilities, such as swimming pools or playgrounds. Typically, your yardwork (shoveling snow, cutting grass, weeding) might also be taken care of, thanks to your dues and fees.
However, with those benefits come drawbacks. With all those recreational facilities come fees. Monthly dues can be costly, so weighing the cost-benefit and whether that is worth it for you is important. Also, neat and tidy communities can become incredibly cookie-cutter. If living in a copy-paste neighborhood bothers you, that can be a problem.
Tips for Newcomers
Understanding HOAs is the first step to being an active community member. So, review, review, review. If you aren’t familiar with CC&Cs and Bylaws, you might find yourself in an awkward or difficult position. Review these rules before moving into the neighborhood, and keep yourself up to date with them after you move, too.
Budget for your monthly fees. Setting aside money will keep those fees from piling up and overwhelming you.
Finally, participate! This is an organization for the community by the community. Ensure you’re active in meetings or committees for your voice to be heard. If you’re unhappy with decisions made in your community, get involved! You can participate and get involved with your local HOA in several ways. If you’re attending meetings regularly and actively participating in committees, perhaps consider running for the HOA board. The best way to have an active opinion in decisions and policies is to run for a board position.
HOAs play a significant role in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in residential communities. Understanding HOAs and their functions, rules, and benefits is essential for homeowners in an HOA-managed community. Active participation and open communication help create a harmonious and enjoyable living environment for all residents.
A home in an HOA-managed community in Ontario or other areas can be a worthy investment. Are you ready to expand your portfolio and get started? We’re here to help! Visit us at www.RegalwayHomes.com to learn more.