What are HOA’s?
What are HOA’s? Whether you rent your home, are purchasing it, or are in the market to rent or purchase for the first time, you will come across the term “HOA.” The abbreviation stands for Home Owners Association. An HOA usually means that you will have to pay a fee for living there. Yes, even if you own the home. HOA’s cover a variety of costs, but they also come with limitations.
In a complex or development with HOA’s you usually receive some benefits. These vary but may include things like a community pool, tennis courts, a game or gathering room, and front lawn care. Many times, gated communities have HOA’s and those fees are what help to pay for that added security feature which sometimes includes a manned guard “shack.”
The downside of living in a complex or development with HOA’s is that they often come with restrictions. The outside paint color of your house is often restricted to a few pre-approved colors. While all towns have ordinances regarding keeping your front yard somewhat manicured (no foot-tall weeds), these ordinances may be even more strict within a community with HOA’s. You also may experience other restrictions such as not being allowed to keep a boat or RV parked on your property. You will probably not be allowed to do any major additions to your house.
As to the cost of paying HOA fees, there is no set amount. Some places have very minimal fees amounting to no more than perhaps twenty dollars per month. These places usually come with far fewer amenities, but they may also have fewer restrictions. If you are living in a condo in one of our beachside towns you may have to pay five hundred dollars or more per month just in HOA fees! That is something that you will definitely want to take into consideration when renting or purchasing such a place. For example, if you can afford $1500 per month for your rent or house payment, an HOA fee might tack an additional $500 per month, giving you a monthly payment of $2000. When renting, some landlords absorb the HOA fees and do not ask the tenant to pay them. Make sure you are clear on who is paying the HOA fee.
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