What is an HOA and why are they important?
Hey everyone, welcome back! I’m Lindsay, with the Wise Move AZ Team at Realty ONE Group. If you want to stay up to date on all things Anthem and Real Estate then you’ll want to subscribe to our YouTube Channel. Pro Tip: You’re also going to want to hit that little bell icon while you’re there so that you’re the first to know when our new videos are posted every single Thursday!
As your Anthem, Arizona REALTOR® I can’t tell you how many questions I get about HOAs! ………SOOO MANY! Homeowners associations are extremely common here in Arizona and it is important that you understand what they do, why they do it, and how it impacts YOU! If you have specific questions about HOAs that we don’t cover in this blog post, feel free to drop them in the message form below or shoot us an email and we will get an answer to you!
At the end of this post I’ll also give you exclusive access to our guide:
Making a Change to Your House or Yard? 5 MUST KNOW TIPS for working with your HOA to Win Their Approval (and Their Trust).
So, make sure you stick around until the end.
What is an HOA?
HOA is short for Homeowners Association. HOAs are typically incorporated non-profit associations of homeowners that create and enforce Bylaws and what are often referred to as CC&Rs. CC&R stands for Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. All of these items are put together in one, big, long document, that basically acts as the HOA’s bible. It dictates what the homeowners can and cannot do with their property, what the HOA is responsible for, and a ton of other information that impacts the homeowners. I won’t go into too much detail on this because the CC&R’s are different for every community.
If you’re ever having trouble sleeping at night, crack open your CC&Rs. Just kidding, they actually contain extremely important information that we encourage all homeowners to read and understand before buying in to a community.
Because an HOA is a non-profit, it has members rather than shareholders. The members of the HOA are the homeowners in the area governed by the HOA. This means that if you live in an HOA governed community you are a member of the HOA.
The members of the HOA typically elect a Board of Directors. This is made up of members of the HOA who volunteer their time to assisting with the enforcement of the CC&Rs and deal with any other issues that may arise. For example, the Anthem Country Club Community Association oversees over 2,800 homes and has a volunteer board of directors made up of 5 volunteers. Notice that I said volunteers, that means that these people have the thankless job of dealing with member complaints, so keep that in mind if you ever need to communicate with your HOA Board. What’s that saying? …You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Yeah, keep that in mind when dealing with your HOA board!
Why do we have HOAs?
Now that you know that the CC&Rs aren’t exactly going to make it into Oprah’s Book Club, you might be wondering, ‘why do we have all these covenants, conditions, and restrictions in place, why don’t we just live and let live?’. If you don’t like the idea of an HOA there are definitely options for you in Arizona! But, if you’re like me, and a lot of other folks, you like the idea of having an HOA. The HOA helps to ensure the orderly and harmonious enjoyment of the community. It also helps to protect against depreciation of home values resulting from deterioration of the community. For example, our HOAs here in Anthem enforce exterior painting. They will send you a notice when it is time to repaint your home and they will also dictate what colors you can use. In Anthem we have lots of color options so this is no big restriction, but it is a HUGE benefit, because you don’t have to worry that the neighbor is going to paint their house lime green or that everyone lets their home’s appearance deteriorate to the point of hurting property values in the neighborhood. That’s just one example, the HOA may also govern the plants people can have in their yard, the maintenance of common areas, and so much more. All of these things help to ensure that the community maintains a uniform appearance, and protects property values in a community. If given a choice, I think we’d all choose to live in a place where it looks like everyone cares about the appearance of the community, and HOAs help us do just that!
How do HOAs impact you?
Well, it’s easy! If you buy into a community that has an HOA, you become a member of that HOA and you will need to understand and abide by the CC&Rs. For example, if the CC&Rs specify that you can only have 1 pet, and you have 2 dogs, 3 cats, and 6 hamsters, it might not be the perfect community for you! Or if you absolutely have to have a palm tree in your yard, but the community only allows for indigenous plants, you might want to keep looking! It is ALWAYS a good idea to read the CC&Rs BEFORE buying in to an area or during your due diligence period once you’ve put in an offer on a house. I get that it’s not fun reading but it is totally worth it so that you don’t have any issues down the road.
So, there you have it! I hope this post about HOAs was helpful and that you can look at new neighborhoods and communities with confidence!
Also, if you haven’t got your fill of HOA information yet, click here to download our guide: “Making a Change to Your House or Yard? 5 MUST KNOW TIPS for working with your HOA to Win Their Approval (and Their Trust)”.
If you enjoyed this post share it with your friends! See YOU, next Thursday!