Uncategorized October 6, 2023

What is an HOA?

Are you wondering, “What is an HOA?” Homeowner associations (HOAs) are found in many communities, complexes, and neighborhoods across the Triangle. When house hunting, it is important that you have a basic understanding of what an HOA is. It will help you figure out which properties and neighborhoods are the best fit for you. HOAs come with a variety of rules, amenities, and costs. You will need to factor all of these into your home search.

What is an HOA?

A homeowner’s association is an organization that oversees, manages, and creates and enforces rules over a neighborhood or community. Typically, HOAs are governed by a board of volunteers from within the community. They support the shared interests of the homeowners. Communities with an HOA typically require homeowners to pay a fee to maintain common areas. This may include streetlights, sidewalks, parking lots, roads, lawncare, pet waste stations, parks, pools, clubhouses, and other potential amenities and features. Sometimes, security and/or a social clubs are also included. HOA fees may incorporate insurance costs for common areas.

Rules & Bylaws

Additionally, HOAs establish rules and bylaws and make sure they are being followed. This is to keep neighborhoods cohesive and preserve or increase property values for those living there. Specific rules can vary from one HOA to the next. Some policies manage street parking, fence types and heights, what changes can or cannot be made to each property, and more.

How much are the fees?

HOA fees range greatly depending on what is included. For example, an HOA that is supporting a shared pool will have higher fees due to increased costs and maintenance. When you are researching communities, take note of whether the home or community has an HOA and what the fees are. This will help you make sure to stick to the budget you have set for the move.

Fees Subject to Change

It is also important to note that HOA fees are not a set price and are subject to change. Price increases are usually to adjust to the rising costs of vendors, contractors and needed supplies. HOAs usually have regulations and procedures in place for proposed fee increases.

What does an HOA Board to?

An HOA Board is usually made up of elected volunteers who are part of the neighborhood or community. Sometimes HOAs are run by a separate company altogether. Do your research about which is the case for the home you are interested in. The person or company running the HOA could influence the goals of that HOA.

The role of the homeowner’s association is to monitor the budget and address any applicable issues impacting the community. They also ensure the rules and bylaws are being followed. Furthermore, they determine anything requiring a vote from the community and follow through with the voting process.

The HOA establishes regular meetings to discuss these things and the members of the community are welcomed and encouraged to attend.

Why would I want an HOA?

HOAs make sure that the community you live in is well-kept and that your home values are maintained. If you go to sell your home, you can feel confident that your community will look aesthetically-pleasing for potential buyers.

The set rules and bylaws established by an HOA can also help prevent any sticky situations between neighbors. For example, you won’t have to remind your neighbor that it’s time for the two-foot-tall grass to be cut. Likely the HOA has already set a standard and expectation for landscaping.

Additionally, HOAs may offer amenities in your community that HOA-free neighborhoods do not. Included, local amenities can be an attractive bonus when looking for a new home. A pool nearby to cope with the hot NC summers? Awesome! A park within walking distance where little ones can burn off energy? Great! A well-cared for and shared community garden? Wonderful! Depending on what you are looking for, an HOA can offer features that enhance your experience living in that community.

Why might I not want an HOA?

When it comes to your home, you may be hesitant to have a governing body determine what changes you can and cannot make to your property. Keeping up with the set rules and bylaws can feel overwhelming. Also, depending on the HOA and which covenants it has adopted, some of the rules can be a little nit-picky.

Furthermore, especially with recent rising costs, you may not want to pay more money for HOA fees in addition to your other required costs.

Bottom Line

When you are seriously considering a particular community or home with an HOA, have your realtor provide you the information you need. You will want to know the costs and included amenities (this may also be in the MLS listing). You will also want to see a copy of the HOA Covenants and other relevant documents. This will give you a clearer picture of the rules and procedures of the community. You can then determine if it will be the right fit for you.

To learn more about Homeowner Associations in North Carolina, check out the resource, “Important Facts About North Carolina Homeowner Associations.”. The Oak & Main Real Estate Group is here to answer any questions you may have.