new home buyers homeowners association

First Time Home Buyer

Homeowners Associations (HOA): What New Home Buyers Need to Know

Homeowners Associations (HOAs) are common in planned developments. In fact, approximately 30% of the U.S. population lives in HOA communities. That’s about 75.5 million people. New home buyers should be aware of how an HOA can impact their homeownership experience so they can determine whether or not a certain community may be a good fit for their lifestyle. Below, we’ve provided some details about HOAs that are important for new home buyers to know. 


What Is an HOA (Homeowners Association)?

A Homeowners Association (HOA) is an organization in a residential community that makes and enforces rules for the properties and residents within its jurisdiction. HOAs are common in planned communities, condominiums, and townhome complexes. 

The main purpose of an HOA is to maintain a standard of appearance for the community and manage common amenities like pools, parks, and landscaping. Homeowners pay fees to the HOA to cover these maintenance costs. 

Joining an HOA often means adhering to its covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs), which can govern everything from paint colors to the type of landscaping allowed.


10 Things New Home Buyers Should Know About HOAs

Whether or not an HOA community is right for you depends on your situation. There are both pros and cons that new home buyers should take into consideration. Here are some important aspects you need to be aware of:

  1. Purpose: HOAs exist primarily to maintain the quality and value of the properties within a community by managing common areas and enforcing community standards.
  2. Common Areas: These are spaces within the community, like parks, pools, and clubhouses, that all residents can use but are maintained by the HOA fees collected from homeowners.
  3. Fees: Homeowners in an HOA are required to pay fees to fund the maintenance of common areas, community amenities, and sometimes certain utilities. These fees can vary widely depending on the services and amenities provided.
  4. Governing Documents: The rules of an HOA are outlined in its CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions), bylaws, and articles of incorporation. These documents dictate how the HOA operates and what homeowners can and cannot do.
  5. Property Restrictions: HOAs often impose aesthetic guidelines regarding house color, landscaping, and external home improvements to maintain a uniform look within the community.
  6. Board of Directors: An HOA is governed by a board, typically made up of community members elected by the homeowners. The board makes decisions on the community’s behalf concerning the budget, rule enforcement, and maintenance issues.
  7. Meetings: Regular HOA meetings are held to discuss and vote on community matters, budgets, and governance, providing a forum for homeowners to voice concerns.
  8. Enforcement of Rules: Non-compliance with HOA rules can lead to penalties, including fines, forced compliance, and in severe cases, legal action.
  9. Financial Health: The financial stability of an HOA is crucial. Potential buyers should review the HOA’s financial statements to ensure it has adequate reserves for emergencies and maintenance, without being overly burdened by debt.
  10. Community Impact: Living in an HOA community means having to comply with community regulations, but it also offers a structured environment that can support property values and community living standards.


Get Started with Your Homeownership Journey

When it comes down to it, whether you want to live in an HOA community is completely up to you. But before you start shopping around for homes, it’s a good idea to get prequalified. Call today to speak to a mortgage expert and get started with our new home buyers application.