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Is an HOA Community Right for you?

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By : Tina L Fountain    99 or more times read
Many of today’s condominiums and planned unit developments are governed by Homeowners Associations, otherwise known as HOAs. Before you purchase a home that is part of an HOA, you should first carefully research it to determine if it is best type of living arrangement for you.

HOAs are often developed as a way to enforce rules and restrictions regarding the community, the homes within the community and the members of the community. HOAs are also used to maintain, improve or repair common grounds and amenities throughout the community.

Research the HOA

When you purchase a home in an HOA community, you will have to pay HOA fees. Depending on the community, these fees can be paid once a month or once a year. The services and amenities covered under each HOA will differ, so make it a point to carefully read the HOA covenants, conditions and restrictions, often referred to as the CC&Rs.

CC&Rs may limit the type of improvements or modifications you can make to your home, or can limit the number of pets you have. The CC&Rs are often too restrictive for some homeowners, which is why it is important that you carefully review them. You should also carefully read the Homeowners Association bylaws, as this will detail how the association is to operate for your community.

Research the HOA Fees

Your HOA fees can range greatly from one community to the next. Some HOA fees are as little as $50 a month, while others can be as much as $500 a month. This amount usually reflects the amenities offered, such as swimming pools, tennis courts and fitness centers. It is also one of the perks of paying HOA fees.

Understanding HOA Restrictions

Although many view HOAs as being too restrictive, it is important to understand that the restrictions, rules and covenants are designed to maintain the home values in the neighborhood.

For example, a patio home community may have strict rules regarding what color you can paint your home’s exterior. This is because, should one homeowner choose to paint his or her home a bold color, the uniformity of the neighborhood would be defeated, and property values would fall.

Some of the other restrictions homeowners in HOA communities may face include the number of cars that can be parked in the front of the home, the type of holiday lights that can be put up and the type of landscaping permitted.

Some communities that charge HOA fees have a world of amenities to offer their residents, including parks, playgrounds, walking trails and shopping areas. The HOA fees go toward maintaining these areas and providing residents with a superb level of living.

Also, keep in mind that each community will have its own set of HOA rules, regulations and fees, so if you don’t find what you’re looking for in one community, you can always research another.

If you view an HOA as a protection of your investment and as a pass to the community’s amenities, you can soon understand why so many people live in HOA communities.
Tina Fountain is the Broker Owner of Tina Fountain Realtors, an Atlanta Real Estate company. Tina and her staff of professional agents serve the entire metro Atlanta area including the Buckhead Real Estate market.

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