Homeowner’s Associations often get a bad rap for being notoriously tough to deal with. However, they also provide neighborhood amenities such as parks, club houses, and pools. HOA’s are often a necessary reality to keep things running smoothly. If you are currently living under an HOA, or are considering purchasing a home in a neighborhood with an HOA, check out our tips on living under and HOA successfully.
This is possibly the most important tip we could give! Too few residents understand the rules before the choose to buy or rent under an association. But it’s important to be able to live with the policies on pets, parking, noise restrictions, and landscaping guidelines.
You may be able to find an HOA’s rules online, but make sure any online information is current. If you cannot find this information online, ask your real estate agent for a copy or contact your HOA directly to acquire these documents. Be sure to pay close attention to rules regarding fines resulting from violations.
Under an HOA, your neighbors are all paying the same dues and following the same restrictions as you, which automatically gives you something in common. If you suddenly start feeling targeted or pressured by you HOA, you may not be the only one. Make an effort to connect with your neighbors, they may be feeling the same way. In some circumstances, simply starting a conversation could help the entire community from being taken advantage of by the HOA.
Other times, it isn’t the association but an individual who calls attention to a violation. Be sure to always go to your neighbor first, before taking an issue up with the HOA. That will help build a level of trust between neighbors and hopefully they will give you the same courtesy in the future.
Communicating with other members and with the board is the easiest way to sure that you stay informed on the latest changes and make your voice heard. An HOA functions best when its members care enough to voice their opinions. If you have an idea, want to make a complaint, or to give praise, board meetings are the place to do so. Attending board meetings will also ensure you are part of the voting and election processes.
Your HOA should have clear procedures on everything from gaining permission to paint your house to installing a satellite dish. As a homeowner under an HOA, educate yourself on these procedures and be prepared to follow them. Gaining approval from your HOA before starting a project will guarantee don’t come after you for not following protocol. Although an item or behavior is not explicitly listed as against the rules, that doesn’t mean your HOA will consider it to be acceptable.
Homeowners’ associations can be your best friend when they prevent your neighbor from painting their house neon pink. But can also be your worst enemy when they expect you to perform expensive maintenance on your home that you don’t find necessary. Before you purchase a property under an HOA, make sure you know exactly what you are getting into.