Are you looking to meet HOA requirements? The Homeowners Associations are very relevant in South Florida communities. Everywhere you look you will more than likely find an HOA that runs your community to help maintain its beauty and real estate value. The HOA is created to establish rules and regulations within a community, helping to ensure that the properties look pristine and the neighborhood as a whole continues to look aesthetically pleasing. When the neighborhood is beautiful and well-maintained, property values exponentially rise. There is usually a monthly maintenance assessment for services depending on what security systems and amenities the property has. Communities range in size, but everyone will agree that every HOA has its challenges.
Continue to read to find what you need to know about meeting tricky HOA requirements.
HOA Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions
HOA creates CC&Rs and regularly enforces them. Before purchasing a home in a community with an HOA, make sure you ask your realtor or the HOA for the CC&Rs. A few examples of restrictions can include the following:
- Siding & Roof Colors/Materials
- Parking RVs/Trailers in the Driveway
- Fencing Height/Placement
- Visitor Parking
- Vacation Renting
- Yard Renting
- Yard Work
Rules and regulations of any HOA might be unique, so don't rely on secondhand information to learn what an HOA's rules and covenants are. Think hard about whether you might be able to live with them.
HOAs need funds to operate. They gather these said funds through fees paid by community members, some can even be quite high. Fees will differ even in different developments due to variations in square footage, location, and orientation. Multiple listing services include HOA fees in the property listing, so make sure you locate this information before buying a home. Find out how often the fees have increased over time and by how much, using estimates of the future costs of utilities, labor, and maintenance.
Find out what the fees are paying for and how to determine how they might affect your household finances. For example, will you have to finance for garbage pickup? At the end of the day, you will pay for the perks, such as recreational facilities, whether you use them or not. HOA fees generally increase annually, but for new developments, they might go down over time as more homes are added to the development.
You will be agreeing to a bundle of legal obligations and entitlements in addition to purchasing a home when you buy in a managed community. Find out the hours of the amenities, like pools and tennis courts, to determine if they work with your schedule. Check out the rules and fees that pertain to guests if you think you will want to share these facilities with friends or family.
An HOA might adopt one of several approaches to financial management, choices that mainly affect how it funds unexpected expenses or capital investments such as replacing an HVAC system in a common area. Some HOAs might keep a large cash reserve to pay for maintenance, repairs, or other issues. Others might have lower fees, relying on special assessments to cover unexpected expenses.
HOA Fees & Your Mortgage
When contemplating a property purchase in a planned development, mortgage lenders will factor in the impact of the HOA dues on your overall finances. As they do with property taxes, banks will consider your monthly HOA fees when deciding how large a mortgage you can afford. Prospective lenders can provide the mortgage payment figure, and you should already have the property tax and HOA fee numbers.
The Bottom Line
Living in a planned development and being governed by HOA rules and regulations can be a mixed blessing. It can offer the prospect of exchanging control over your home for reduced responsibilities. However, you will need to be comfortable trading the diverse look of a typical neighborhood for a uniform appearance and the work it will require.