Understanding Your Homeowner's Association

Posted on Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 at 5:02pm.

Understanding Your Homeowner's Association

Photo courtesy of La Citta Vita on Flickr.

Over the years, homeowner’s associations in neighborhoods have become increasingly common. A homeowner’s association is the governing body of a neighborhood, townhome, or condominium community. The HOA is responsible for maintaining the quality of life within the community or neighborhood. When a buyer purchases a home in a neighborhood with an HOA, they automatically become a member, and must pay monthly or annual dues. The HOA typically uses these funds for general maintenance of common areas in the neighborhood, such as a park or pool. The HOA is usually made up of homeowners who live in the neighborhood. However, some larger neighborhoods may have an HOA managed by a large corporation.

Each homeowner’s association establishes its own set of covenants, conditions, and restrictions, or CC&R’s. These rules define what homeowners can and cannot do to their homes or the neighborhood. Noise restrictions, landscaping guidelines, property fencing, and home paint color are just a few topics that are typically covered in HOA CC&R’s. For example, deciding to paint your home neon green could be against the CC&R’s in your neighborhood. If a homeowner breaks one of these rules, the HOA can set a fine. Homeowners who disagree with the CC&R’s can appeal to the HOA to change the rule.

There are several advantages to living in a neighborhood with an HOA. One of the HOA’s primary responsibilities is the upkeep of neighborhood common areas. The HOA will maintain the neighborhood pool, park, and other amenities for residents to enjoy. By establishing CC&R’s, the HOA also helps protect home property values in the neighborhood. These rules serve as guidelines to help preserve the quality of homes in the neighborhood. Finally, the HOA gives homeowners a chance to have an active voice in their community. Homeowners can be elected by their neighbors to serve on the HOA, or volunteer for HOA events.

Each homeowner’s association is different. If you’re thinking about buying a home in a neighborhood with an HOA, it’s a good idea to review the CC&R’s to make sure you agree with all the restrictions. You may find your plans for your home clash with the rules. Talk to other homeowners about their experiences with the HOA to get an idea if this neighborhood is a right fit for you. If you have questions about purchasing a home in a community with an HOA, talk to your agent. Our agents can answer any of your questions about buying a home in Austin. Contact us today!

2 Responses to "Understanding Your Homeowner's Association"

Fred wrote: What can you do if the pool and other amenities have not been maintained properly,can you ask for a reduction of dues?

Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015 at 11:59pm.

Michelle Braet wrote: Hi Fred,

Thank you for your question. Although a reduction of dues isn't likely if you are a part of a mandatory HOA, there are still ways to remedy the pool situation. Have you contacted the property management company and/or your HOA Board regarding the pool? If it's a matter of the pool maintenance company that is contracted by the HOA not adhering to their responsibilities to clean your community pool, your Board members should have the right to hire a different contractor for this service.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Michelle Braet, REALTOR®
m: 512.431.4802

Posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2015 at 10:39am.

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