The Skinny on Homeowner Associations (HOAs)
May 26, 2022
New construction and established communities alike often have a Homeowners Association that’s involved in how the community runs. Commonly referred to as an “HOA” you may have heard that abbreviation thrown out but not really understood the ins and outs of what an HOA is, what it does, and what the appeal is. If you’re considering a StyleCraft home, or another new construction home, here’s the rundown on HOAs.
What is an HOA?
Simply an abbreviation for Homeowners Association, HOA is shorthand for the organization that helps manage and run a “common interest” community, like the ones where we build StyleCraft homes. Typically, an HOA is made up of homeowners in the community who volunteer and have been elected to oversee community decisions. While this looks a bit different from one community to the next, an HOA is typically involved in the upkeep of common areas and home exteriors. When homebuyers move into a planned development with an HOA, they agree to abide by rules of the established HOA, so all your neighbors should be on the same page.
How Much Does an HOA Cost?
That depends! Fees vary by community, as does the frequency in which fees are due. In addition, the benefits that the homeowners get from their HOA vary too, but typically the fees are in exchange for some sort of collective benefit. As the community grows, or the needs of the community change, the Board of the HOA can vote to change the HOA fees, so the fees are not necessarily set in stone. When you purchase a StyleCraft home, your New Home Sales Consultant will be able to give you the most up-to-date information about the HOA structure and fees in a particular community so that you can take it into account for your budget.
What's Included With HOA Fees?
The included services usually fall under some common themes:
Municipal Services: This can include trash removal or recycling, as well as snow removal on sidewalks in the winter.
Association Insurance: The HOA will typically purchase insurance that kicks in to cover any incidents, including damages or injuries, that occur in common spaces. The policy will protect recreational areas including the clubhouse, pool, or fitness center and exterior areas like walking trails.
Maintenance & Repairs: When common spaces need to be maintained, roofs need to be repaired on condos or townhomes, or the parking lot needs fixing, the HOA is typically involved in managing it as part of exterior upkeep.
Amenities: Scroll down to the amenity section on each of our community pages on our website, and you’ll see the amenities you have access to in each community. From fitness centers and pools to clubhouses and walking trails, you’ll have access to some perks worth writing home about thanks to the HOA fees you pay.
What are the Most Common Rules Associated with HOAs?
There is no one-size-fits-all set of standards that all Homeowners Associations abide by. However, there are some common rules that are seen across many communities because they’re typically quite beneficial for community members. We’ll outline some of the common ones so that you have an idea of what living in an HOA run community might look like.
Parking Protocol: Many communities have rules related to parking. For example, if a member of the community owns an RV, there are restrictions for how long it can be parked in the community, so that it doesn’t block street parking for everyone else over a long period of time.
Curb Appeal: There are usually some basic rules for yard and property upkeep in communities with HOAs, to keep things looking neat and tidy across the neighborhood. That often means that lawns must be maintained, and home exteriors must meet certain standards. Depending on the community, some of this can be contracted out through the HOA.
Short-Term Rental Restrictions: This prevents a neighbor from having a revolving door of AirBnb guests who might not abide by the same common courtesies as permanent residents do. After all, do you really want a bunch of spring breakers traipsing through your community?
If you’re interested in a particular StyleCraft community, we can outline what rules you can expect from the HOA so that you have the full picture prior to purchasing a new home.
What are the Benefits of an HOA?
We just outlined the rules and for every rule you follow, all your neighbors are following them too. That means that the entire neighborhood has a mutual sense of respect for each other, and the shared spaces. For one, because everyone is held to the same standard for exterior home maintenance, parking rules, and noise guidelines, the community is well kept which benefits everyone. The requirement that everyone keeps their home up to a certain standard ensures that property values remain high across the community, protecting your investment.
Part of living in a community is, well, the community feel! An HOA often helps plan community gatherings, holiday parties, clubs, and athletic events to foster neighborly bonds between community members. And while in an ideal world, everything would be hunky-dory with all your neighbors all the time, it doesn’t always work out that way. In the case of a dispute, the HOA Board Members can help enforce the rules of the HOA or otherwise diffuse tensions to help keep the peace.
An HOA acts as a sort of insurance policy against some of the “unknowns” that come with purchasing in a neighborhood without an HOA. Homeowners Associations ensure that neighbors are on the same page, protect everyone’s property values, and help build a sense of community, which after all, is what a neighborhood is all about!
If you’re ready to learn more about a StyleCraft community and are interested in how our in-house community association management team comes into play for homeowners in select StyleCraft communities, contact us today!