What Is An HOA Or Homeowners Association?

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What is an HOA? For new homeowners, the term homeowners association or HOA might seem unfamiliar. But, they’re an essential part of living and thriving in a community. What is a homeowners association and what does it mean to be a part of an HOA community? Here’s what you need to know.

HOA Meaning: What Is an HOA?

What does an HOA stand for? The term HOA refers to “homeowners association.” It is a private non-profit entity that manages a homeowners community made up of community members. It is led by an HOA board who are often appointed through election. The board members are usually made up of volunteers from the community.

What Is the Purpose of an HOA?

HOAs act to benefit the community by increasing property values. According to a study, properties within HOAs in Northern Virginia are worth 5% more than properties in the same area without an HOA. 

Homeowners associations primarily achieve this by maintaining shared spaces and communal facilities to keep the community visually appealing. HOAs also enforce rules and regulations to ensure that the neighborhood is orderly. A clean, well-kept, and peaceful community increases property values and keeps the community cohesive.

HOAs and Homeowners: What It Means To Be a Member

What is an HOA community like and what does it mean to be a part of one? Living in an HOA community might seem insignificant at first glance. But, becoming a member of one has many good and bad implications. Homeowners should carefully consider these before they make a purchase.

Advantages for Homeowners

The biggest benefit homeowners can get from a homeowners association is common areas. Many HOAs have clubhouses, pools, playgrounds, volleyball courts, and other shared amenities. Most homeowners cannot afford to have these on their own. Living in an HOA means residents get to use these facilities freely.

In addition, homeowners associations usually have an HOA board. These board members are responsible for keeping the communal areas and facilities clean and well-kept. They are also in charge of repairing these facilities and ensuring the community is organized and peaceful. As a result, homeowners can expect to enjoy more stable property values. 

Furthermore, homeowners can enjoy more community engagement in HOA communities. This is because many HOAs have community gatherings like holiday festivals, cookouts, and annual events. These events allow the homeowners to get to know their neighbors and foster a sense of camaraderie. Moreover, they boost satisfaction and a sense of pride among the community members.

Apart from these, HOA communities have more rules and regulations. These rules deter nuisance activity and keep the community safer. Some of them limit noise while others have parking restrictions so roads are always clear. Others even have short-term rental guidelines to keep the community safer. 

Disadvantages for Homeowners

Just as there are advantages, living in an HOA community also has its downsides. Firstly, homeowners will need to adhere to strict rules and regulations implemented by the HOA. This means that residents are not always free to do what they want with their property. They need to abide by certain architectural standards, design schemes, or other regulations. 

For example, some HOAs may implement strict rules on how high homeowners can build their fences. Some associations also prohibit owners from owning pets or restrict the kinds of pet breeds they own. Meanwhile, others even require you to maintain your home in certain ways like mowing the lawn once a week.

Homeowners can usually find these rules in the community’s governing documents. They often receive these documents before closing on a home. As such, potential homeowners can choose not to live in a community because of these strict rules. 

In addition, communities with an HOA are usually more expensive to live in. This is because they collect association fees every month. The HOA uses these fees to maintain common areas, pay for insurance, and cover utilities like waste disposal. While these association dues are helpful, they can strain homeowners’ finances.

Similarly, HOAs can also charge special assessments. These fees usually pay for unexpected expenses like repairing damaged roofs in facilities that experienced an unforeseen disaster. Homeowners who refuse to pay these fees may face consequences and fines.

HOA dues can be especially unpleasant if the HOA doesn’t maintain the community properly. Homeowners can also receive fines for breaking certain rules and regulations, further increasing their financial burden.

How Much Do HOA Fees Cost?

A homeowners association has many advantages but the fees associated with living in one may deter potential buyers. That said, it’s important to know how much an HOA charges before you make a decision. After all, the fees do provide homeowners with lots of benefits as well.

How much do HOA fees cost? In 2017, average monthly homeowners association fees were $250. That means you can expect to pay about $200 to $300 monthly in HOA dues. However, these fees can go up depending on various factors. For instance, a neighborhood with lots of amenities and shared spaces will charge much more. That’s because cleaning and maintaining these facilities is more expensive. 

In addition, HOA fees can be more expensive when communities have more large-scale projects. For example, the community may be renewing its pipeline or replenishing its funds because of a recent hailstorm.

What Are the Consequences of Not Paying HOA Fees?

HOA fees can be taxing to pay for many homeowners. Thus, it isn’t surprising when someone is overdue or cannot pay the fees at all. In this case, what will happen if a resident cannot pay the homeowners association the proper dues?

Firstly, the homeowner might have to pay penalty fees on top of their overdue monthly fee. Furthermore, some HOAs prohibit these homeowners from using common areas until they can pay their debt. This means a homeowner may not have access to the community’s pools, clubhouses, or sports facilities.

Finally, the homeowners association may declare a community member a “delinquent.” In extreme situations, the HOA can place a claim on the homeowner’s property and file for foreclosure. This may help the HOA settle the debt with the association. 

Living With Peace of Mind

What is an HOA? Now that you know what it means and what it entails to be a part of one, you might be on the fence to become a member. The strict rules in an HOA can be difficult to deal with, after all. But, living in an HOA is generally a positive experience if the association is well-managed. Most of the benefits can outweigh the disadvantages, especially if you want higher property values. 

Of course, HOAs can only boost property value with proper management. But, it can be hard to do it without help. With a management company like 88 Doors, your HOA can accomplish all of its goals and bring more value to the community. Call us at (512) 348-8821 or contact us online to get a quote.