Home Buying 101: All About Homeowners Associations

Whether you go with a single family home, townhouse, condominium unit, having an abode in a planned community comes with great benefits. For instance, the various amenities and the assurance that the area outside your home will always be clean and in excellent condition.

On the other hand, a private community also comes with drawbacks; one of them is having to answer to an HOA or homeowners association.

What Exactly is a Homeowners Association?

A homeowners association does many different things, one of its primary responsibilities being the upkeep and maintenance of the communal areas in the neighborhood. This basically includes making sure that the security lights and gates are in working order, and the maintenance of public spaces, which include the swimming pool, playground and community center, among others.

Additionally, homeowners associations create rules and regulations that govern what residents are allowed to do and not allowed to do. These differ from one HOA to another HOA, and they could be extremely specific or general guidelines.

This is because planned communities typically want to promote and maintain a certain type of lifestyle, so the HOA rules and regulations are used for maintaining the HOA’s desired standard of living for existing residents, but for persuading potential homebuyers to move in.

So before just purchasing a house in a planned community with an HOA, you need to take some necessary steps to make sure you’re doing the right thing.

How Much are the HOA Fees?

couple hugging in front of house

When you buy a house in a community governed by a homeowners association, you, along with all the other residents, must chip in to pay for the neighborhood’s repairs and maintenance needs. Generally speaking, HOA fees can run up to a couple of hundred dollars a month, but this can be even higher depending on the community’s specific amenities.

Do note though that HOAs can also raise these fees whenever they deem fit. You should also ask if the HOA imposes penalty fees in the event of a violation of one of its rules and regulations. For example, you might be penalized for leaving your garbage too long by the sidewalk in front of your home can result in a penalty fee.

Read and Understand the Fine Print

Before just jumping in and finalizing your loan with your mortgage company here in Utah, it is very crucial that you comb through all the rules and regulations to ensure that the neighborhood will be an excellent fit for you.

You should likewise determine your rights as an HOA member and get a sense of how it operates and enforces rules. You can easily do this by speaking with your potential neighbors. You can also consider asking the HOA if you could sit in during a meeting to experience firsthand how members work and what types of issues they deal with.

You wouldn’t want to find out too late that the neighborhood you’ll be living in isn’t suitable for your needs, right? So as with buying a home, do your research first.

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