Susan McPherson's Blog
Purchasing a property in a planned development, gated community or a place with leased land can seem confusing due to regulations. The biggest difference in buying one of these properties instead of a single family home comes with one main difference: additional fees. HOA stands for Home Owner’s Association, which is what you’re obligated to join when you purchase a home within a community. You’ll pay the association monthly or annual fees for the upkeep of community centers and buildings within the complex. Before you decide to buy, it’s a good idea to know how these fees work and how to get the most for your money when purchasing a home with HOA fees.
HOA Fees 101
HOA fees range from about $200-$400 a month. If you’re looking to move into a more upscale community or are looking for a lot of amenities, expect to pay more for your fee. The association may charge an extra assessment if additional funds are needed for projects such as a new roof or a new pool.
All residents in condos or town homes are equally responsible for the common maintenance such as landscaping, garages, fitness rooms, pools, clubhouses and sidewalks. HOA fees are said to help homeowners maintain a certain quality of life within their community and keep the properties safe and pleasant for all residents.
Homeowner’s Associations have certain rules that all residents must follow. These can include what color your house can be, what type of landscaping you can do, if you can install satellite TV, or where you are able to park your car. These rules are pretty similar to the ones that you would need to follow if you were living in an apartment building. If you’d like to do anything outside of the rules of the HOA, you’ll need to file what’s called a variance with the association in order to get approval. All in all, it’s important to obey the rules when you’re living in a property governed by an HOA, otherwise, hefty consequences can result.
Tips For Successful Living In A Community Setting
- Know the rules
- Make sure that the home you want to buy is in compliance with current HOA standards
- Be sure your temperament matches with community living
Questions To Ask About HOA Fees
- How are fee increases set?
- How often do fee increases occur?
- What is covered under the HOA fee?
- What conflicts have occurred in the association and how were they resolved?
- What kind of insurance is on the building?
Home Owner’s Association Fees are a good thing because they prevent major issues like horrible paint colors and parking issues from ruining a community. However, when purchasing a home in a community setting, you need to be smart about what the fees cover and if living in that community has your best interests in mind.