Homeowner Associations (HOAs) offer many benefits to Owners and to the Community. We’ve drafted a small list of tips that might help first-time HOA living residents take full advantage of all the benefits that an HOA has to offer.
1. Be Informed.
Make sure to ask your realtor if the home you’re purchasing is within an HOA. If it is, make sure to ask about all the resources the HOA has to offer to new Owners. This will include all of the Association’s governing documents, a website specific to your HOA, newsletter mailing/email list, among others. Once you’ve obtained these resources, read them! Look them over and become familiar with the rules and regulations that govern your new community. This will help to avoid costly misunderstandings in the future, should they occur.
2. Establish a Point of Contact.
Who will you go to with questions about your new HOA? Be sure to become acquainted with your community’s Board of Directors, so that you can establish a point of contact when questions arise. Maybe your HOA’s Board has hired a professional property management company – get their phone number. Maybe your new neighbor is actually the Board President – grab their email address.
3. Check Out Your New Surroundings
Become familiar with the resources available to you by your HOA and around your community. Do you have a common area pool? Does the HOA maintain large walking paths? Maybe your HOA adjoins a city park or city-maintained greenbelt. Get in touch with your surroundings and feel comfortable in your new home.
4. Know Your Financial Obligation.
Fully understand what your financial obligation to the HOA is at the time of your purchase and ask questions about what future investments the HOA is obligated to. Each HOA bills differently for their dues – some are monthly, some quarterly, and some annually. Be sure to know what your dues are so you’re not surprised when you receive a bill in the mail. Ask if you can set up a direct deposit to your HOA’s banking institution or set yourself a reminder to include this amount in your budget. Ask about any possibility of upcoming special assessments or large ticket items that might affect increases in your HOA dues.
5. Management Companies.
Some Boards will hire management companies like AMS to help with the day-to-day happenings of the Association and help to ease the burden of the Board’s obligations. This working relationship can be very beneficial in bridging the gap of communication between homeowners and board members. Decide whether you’re interested in residing within a self-managed HOA, or an HOA that is managed by a professional management company.
6. HOA Committees and Organizations.
Some HOAs establish several committees to help smooth operation of daily happenings within the community. Examples might include gardening/landscaping committee, architectural review committees, fundraising committees, neighborhood BBQ committees, and the list goes on. Consider being a part of one of these wonderful committees. If your new HOA doesn’t have any, you might think about creating one!
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We're happy to help.