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Why Join a Homeowners Association?

Joined: 7/29/2013
Posts: 1
Homeowners’ Associations (HOA) are organized by real estate developers who build community subdivisions of single-family homes, condominiums or townhomes. Typically, membership in an HOA is a condition of purchase although some HOAs offer voluntary membership. In a voluntary association the owner can choose not to join and pay dues. HOAs all have a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R) which applies to all homeowners whether they are members of the HOA or not. HOAs can have a powerful impact on your homeowner rights.
What do HOAs do?
The HOA is responsible for enforcing the CC&R for the homes they govern. Violation of the CC&R by a homeowner may result in having the HOA board impose a fine or file a complaint in civil court. They establish and collect monthly or annual dues and are responsible for the upkeep of the community common areas including landscaping, parks, elevators, sidewalks, recreational facilities, etc. HOAs may levy special assessments to homeowners for repairs that the HOA cannot cover with the HOA reserves. They are responsible for filing liens against homeowners who do not pay their dues. Other restrictions that are enforced by HOA include parking on the street, fence restrictions, boat storage, and many others depending on the community.
The HOA board will organize committees to handle various activities such as: regular maintenance, landscaping, and repairs needed and for contracting out seasonal projects such as snowplowing and mowing.
Buying a home that is governed by an HOA and CC&Rs is a choice that needs to be carefully considered. Professionals recommend that before buying such a home:
• Carefully read the CC&R to make sure that the requirements and restrictions will work for you and your family.
• Confirm what the current dues are and evaluate your budget accordingly.
• Research how often dues have been increased to determine if an increase would work for your long term financing strategy.
• Research to find out if the HOA has cash reserves set aside for unexpected repairs.
• Research the requirements for board members and if there are term limits for their service.

• Research to find out if there are law suits pending that involve the HOA and homeowners.
Pros of Joining an HOA
A main goal of HOAs is in preserving the property values of the real estate in their community. For example, Phoenix HOAs have a great reputation in Arizona for honoring their residents. The CC&S are written rules that deal with the number and size of pets allowed; construction that is allowed on the homeowner’s property, paint colors for homes and fences, lawn maintenance requirements, and many other restrictions. Many HOAs strictly enforce the CC&S because their purpose is to keep property values up by keeping each house presentable.
Dues are required by all members of the association and can range from $20 to $400 per month. The dues cover the maintenance of common areas including sidewalks, landscaping, street signs, and other shared areas. HOAs work to give the neighborhoods an appealing, well-maintained look that homeowners can be proud of and visitors impressed with.
Membership with an HOA often means being a member of a community that has some great amenities. Communities may have swimming pools, golf courses, tennis courts, fitness centers, parks, ponds, and hiking trails.
Cons of Joining an HOA
Joining an HOA is not the correct decision for everyone and some people will be unhappy letting an association board make decisions about their property. Some HOAs:

• Instigate and enforce excessively restrictive rules
HOAs have been known to dictate what types of shrubs can be planted, where clotheslines can be located, whether the American flag can be displayed, or whether you can place a basketball hoop on your garage.
• Raise fees excessively that can’t be declined.
• HOAs that is under-managed
HOAs can be served by individuals who don’t really care about maintaining property values, making repairs, or responding to grievances. These HOA boards may have volunteer homeowners or those that are appointed.
There are many positive aspects associated with joining an HOA. Many times the amenities alone make up for the dues paid. Many homeowners don’t mind putting up with restrictions that increase the value of their home and neighborhood.
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Comment by warren

Joined: 6/22/2011
Posts: 293
Excellent write-up on HOAs. Thank you. Where we lived in Maryland and Virginia, membership was mandatory and fees kept rising, but overall, they did serve the neighborhood.
Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 3:11:18 PM
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