Many neighborhoods and community developments in the United States have a Homeowners’ Association (HOA) or Property Owners’ Association (POA) that require membership of anyone that buys a home in the neighborhood or development.
What is an HOA?
HOAs and POAs are private associations that oversee and manage neighborhood common areas and amenities as well as insuring property owners obey the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs), Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws and any other governing documents.
Board of Directors
HOAs generally consist of a voluntary board of directors elected by their fellow residents to make decisions on the residents’ behalf. The board of directors includes the president, secretary and treasurer.
The duties of an HOA vary depending on the neighborhood. A simple neighborhood with few amenities may have one HOA meeting per year to vote on board and committee members, new rules, resident concerns and issues and set a budget.
A large community with high-end country club amenities may have many meetings each year to plan projects, create committees, arrange for maintenance and strictly enforce rules, with predetermined fines for residents that breach the by-laws. Some of these neighborhoods even include lawn maintenance in the HOA fees charged to residents.
Advantages of an HOA
The primary advantage of living in a neighborhood with an HOA is that it provides a safeguard for residents’ property values. Money is collected for landscape and other maintenance including any neighborhood amenities. Residents are generally not allowed to collect junk in their yards, raise farm animals, or otherwise let their house and property descend to a point that would lower their neighbor’s property values. This secures the residents’ investment in their neighborhood and maintains a certain curb-appeal.
Disadvantages of an HOA
Some HOAs can impose covenants that might seem overly restrictive such as needing HOA approval to make minor changes to their house or property including changing the color of their front door. Some HOAs will fine residents for not cutting their lawn regularly or if they leave their garage doors open. These are somewhat extreme examples which are sometimes found in high-end neighborhoods and communities.
If you’ve found a home you love but are concerned about being controlled by the HOA, it’s best to learn as much as you can about it before buying. Your Realtor or homebuilder can supply you with the HOA fees, CC&Rs, By-Laws and other documents which you can review before making a purchase decision.
If maintaining your property value and living in a neighborhood that is safe and clean is important to you, a neighborhood HOA is a necessity. Most homeowners have a positive experience living in neighborhoods governed by an HOA.
If you are not happy with your HOA, or feel it needs to be improved, consider getting involved by attending meetings, submitting a complaint or even volunteering to be on the board.
If you would like to know more about the Homeowners Association and CC&Rs for any McKee Homes neighborhood, please contact us by phone or email.