Many neighborhoods have Homeowners' Associations (HOA’s). None of us like to spend our free time reading the dozens and dozens of pages of Bylaws, Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, Amendments, and Rules and Regulations, but it’s VERY important information.
Whether you’re buying, selling, or plan to stay put for a while, knowing your HOA information can save you a lot of heartache in the long run.
The following tips and facts will highlight some of the more common issues that might come up at some point in your relationship with your Homeowners’ Association.
If you're searching for an investment property, as part of your due diligence, be sure to check and make sure that the HOA allows rentals. Some HOA’s will allow only up to a certain number of homes in the neighborhood to be a rental, while others require you to live in the home for at least one year before you can rent it out.
In a perfect world, you can look at the HOA governing documents before you make an offer on the home, but that’s not always possible. If you can’t do that, you will have an opportunity to quickly review the governing documents once you’ve received them from the title company while under contract if you’ve structured the deal appropriately.
Exterior Changes And Landscaping
Always double check the rules for making any changes to the exterior of your home including landscaping. Some examples of items that will likely need approval are roof shingles, new windows, painting, new fences, new landscaping, new driveways, and anything else that can be seen from the outside.
Fences and Sheds
Your HOA will likely have pre-approved fence stain colors and heights. If they allow sheds, greenhouses, etc, they will likely require certain specifications. The city will also probably require a permit.
Does your HOA allow a trampoline? You might be surprised!
Why Are Some HOA Dues So High?
Some HOA dues appear to be outrageous! There’s usually a good reason for them if you take a closer look. The following services can be a reason for higher HOA dues:
Private Gated community with a guard at the entrance. This sometimes means the HOA is also responsible for street and sidewalk repairs.
Watering of the lawn included.
Insurance on the exterior of the home included. Having the exterior of your home covered under the HOA Insurance allows you to pay less for your homeowner’s insurance!
Security system included.
Organized community events included.
Upkeep of a pool or multiple pools included.
Upkeep of a clubhouse with rec-rooms and an exercise room included.
Concierge services included.
Boats, RV’s, Trailers, And Work Trucks
Many HOA’s don’t allow large vehicles and boats to be parked anywhere in sight in the neighborhood. Some don’t even allow you to park in the street for a given amount of time. If you don’t like this rule, be sure to read those governing documents!
Selling Your Home In An HOA
Know your buyer.
If your HOA doesn’t allow rentals or has some other unique rules, make sure the prospective buyer knows this up front. It will save you a lot of trouble in the end.
Know your violations.
If your property has outstanding violations, you may or may not still be allowed to move forward with the sale of your home, but you’ll need to double check. Even if the sale is allowed, most buyers will be turned off by the violation, and they will want it remedied. Make sure you are financially prepared to deal with these issues ahead of time.
What If I Don’t Have An HOA?
Sometimes it’s a great selling point when marketing your home, but also keep in mind that the city, county, and deed restrictions could still have some impact.
Will the city allow construction of a workshop? Not always. Will the county allow a septic tank to be installed? They often require at least one acre of land to install a septic tank unless the property is “grandfathered.”
It would be difficult to build a “tiny house” on a property when the deed restrictions require at least a 1,000 square foot home. Will the tiny house use a septic tank or will it use a buried “holding tank?” Whether you’re a seller or buyer, these are important things to know.
Knowing your HOA Rules is Important!
I hope these tidbits of information taught you something you didn’t know before. I’m always available for any of your real estate needs or questions!