Are you making the move into an HOA community? HOA stands for homeowners association, and it’s helpful to know exactly what you’re getting into before you make the move. This can be a whole new experience if you have never lived in a neighborhood that faces management by an HOA board. To get all the benefits and drawbacks of living in an HOA community, ask your real estate agent. Here are some of the highlights to get you started.
Every HOA has rules and regulations that everyone has to agree to and abide by. All the rules should be spelled out in the HOA’s Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, or CC&Rs. Familiarize yourself with the CC&Rs of your chosen community so you know what to expect. You can get a copy of these rules from the HOA directly or from your real estate agent.
You don’t want to face any surprises later. If you fail to comply with any of the rules, you could be subject to paying fines, or making changes to your home.
Most HOAs regularly collect a set fee from each homeowner to cover services and amenities offered throughout the community. You may also have to pay special assessments to cover repairs or improvements. Keep in mind, fees can increase from year to year. You can have your real estate agent research the history of those fees and how much they increased year over year.
Find out what those fees cover, such as trash pickup, as well as amenities you may want to use such as swimming pools and tennis courts. Ask if your fees include utilities, as well as Internet and cable services. In terms of pools, club houses and courts, ask about the policy regarding guest use. Guests may have to pay a fee when using the facilities; other HOAs include a certain number of guests in your fees.
Keep in mind, fees differ even within each development, mostly because of variations in location, square footage, and orientation, all of which impact how much upkeep your property will need. You can find the fee amounts in the MLS (multiple listing service) for your property.
Everything is uniform within an HOA community. Some limit garden sizes, while others prohibit compost piles. There are all sorts of rules regarding anything from solar panel installation to the size of any additions may wish to put on. You may have to stick with a certain color and type of fence, as well, such as black as opposed to natural wood or white vinyl. Before making any kind of improvement to your home, it’s wise to check the HOA rules and regulations.
It’s smart to be proactive as a member of an HOA. Attend all scheduled meetings and make your voice heard. Being an active participant in your community will ensure you get the services you need. HOA boards want the feedback of people in their community so they can shape their services and improve the quality of those services.
That sense of belonging to a community is one of the biggest perks of joining an HOA. To keep the camaraderie going, many HOAs offer regular social events where residents can get together and catch up. These are critical opportunities to experience the best of community living, so take those opportunities whenever they come up. They’re great for adults and kids alike to socialize, learn more about their neighbors and collaborate on future projects. You can learn about these events in the HOA newsletter or social calendar on the website.
It takes some preparation and planning on your part before the moving truck shows up, but you will do yourself a big favor if you read up on all the details of your HOA beforehand.
To schedule your move and to get a free quote in Dallas-Fort Worth, contact us at 214-433-6734. Our team is experienced in moving families and couples into HOA communities throughout the Dallas and Fort Worth areas.