If you’re considering buying a home in a new suburban community or planned unit development that is overseen by a homeowners association (HOA), it’s only natural for you to be curious about what exactly an HOA is and what it means for you as a homeowner.
For starters, an HOA is a planned development of houses, often nestled in a gated community or a neighborhood of condominiums or townhouses. If you buy into a neighborhood with an HOA, you agree to live by a set of rules called the covenants, conditions, and restrictions, or CC&Rs. These documents are unique to each HOA, but cover resident behavior, architecture requirements and limitations, and common responsibilities, such as fees and fines. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, average annual dues for a homeowners association is approximately $400 per year.
If you’re looking to purchase a condominium, they usually come with heftier HOA fees because the association will take care of everything including lawn care, parking lot maintenance, plumbing problems, and construction issues.
In a traditional HOA neighborhood of single-family homes, the homeowner is responsible for the upkeep of the outside of the house, and the HOA has the power to make sure they do so. HOAs can fine homeowners for things like excessive weeds or holiday decorations left up for too long. They can also require the owner to repaint their house a specific color that fits the neighborhood’s character.
When they work well, HOAs can increase property values by ensuring that their communities stay visually appealing. However, as with all things, there can be issues with HOAs, including poor management. If you’re new to an HOA community and have questions or concerns regarding their rules and regulations, contact a homeowners association law firm in Loudoun County, VA. Our experienced team of lawyers is happy to assist you with your HOA legal matters.