Understanding an HOA
If you’re a first-time buyer confused about what a Home Owners Association is (or does), you need to ask the right questions before considering buying. An HOA’s purpose is to protect owners’ quality of life and property values within a neighborhood or shared building. Although, how they make this happen can vary widely. Typically, when you purchase a residence subject to an HOA, you’ll be required to pay monthly dues, which often contribute to major repairs or maintenance or the upkeep of common/shared resources.
HOAs are common in many residential areas and can be either helpful or problematic depending on the neighborhood and the people involved. Some HOAs are very strict about rules and regulations, while others are more relaxed.
Some people feel that HOAs are a necessary evil, as they help to keep the neighborhood looking nice and can provide a sense of community. However, HOAs can also be seen as intrusive and overbearing, as they can dictate what you can and cannot do with your property.
Whether or not an HOA is a good thing depends on the specific community and the people involved. If you are considering buying a home in an area with an HOA, it is essential to do your research and talk to people who have experience with the association to get a sense of the management.
The covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) detail the HOA’s rules. These might have reasonable regulations, such as keeping junk cars out of the front lawn, or they might extend to what color you can paint your garage door. To understand how strict an HOA is (or isn’t), you’ll want to understand the details of its CC&Rs before you consider buying.
We have compiled a resource for our clients so you can easily access the CC&Rs of neighborhoods in the Prescott area. Go to ThePremeireList.com to find downloadable documents for most of the Prescott Quad Cities subdivisions.
Here are some questions you’ll want to ask yourself and the HOA before you make an offer:
- How comfortable am I sharing decision-making about my own home? Yes, you own your property, but if you agree to abide by the CC&Rs of an HOA, you’ll need to be willing to abide by its rules.
- How much are the HOA fees, and how much have they increased over time? Current HOA fees and anticipated increases can seriously impact your budget. Sometimes HOAs can even require residents to chip in for major repairs or upgrades beyond HOA fees.
- What are all of the CC&Rs? Get a copy of the CC&Rs and make sure you understand the rules. Furthermore, see if you attend an HOA board meeting or obtain notes from past meetings. Observing will help you understand the HOA’s temperament and the type of past conflicts residents have had with the board.
- Is the home (or unit) you’re considering in compliance with the HOA’s CC&Rs? If you’re considering an offer on a problematic property, understand a real hassle may follow.
A great way to learn about the association’s history is by asking the neighbors around your desired home. Walk around the community and talk to a few residents. Are they happy? Have the neighbors had problems with the HOA? Does the HOA keep a well-run community?
If you like the idea of a group of neighbors who set community or building standards, a residence with an HOA may be for you. But if not, don’t worry, many other homes are out there! Contact me today, Trent Beaver, 928-916-1921.