Frequently Asked Questions About Homeowners Associations

Posted by Lauren Schneider on Monday, April 29th, 2019 at 12:01pm.

What to Know About HOA Communities in Colorado SpringsIf you’re in the market for your very first home, chances are you’re likely to come across a myriad of terms and acronyms you’ve never heard before, such as an HOA. For those who are looking at new, master-planned communities or condominium units, then you’ll want to become more familiar with what an HOA is and what it could mean for your budget.

Here’s what you should know about an HOA community before buying a home in one.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

What Is An HOA?

HOAs are organizations that manage certain aspects of how a neighborhood works. HOAs create and enforce rules, collect dues, and provide useful services. They can be run by private management companies, or concerned residents.

An HOA will maintain and improve the standards within a neighborhood for everyone who lives there.

HOAs must be doing something right, because they can be found almost everywhere - El Paso County alone has over 500 active HOAs! And if you ask me, Colorado Springs Home Owner's Associations are some of the best.

In order to know if a neighborhood with an HOA is right for you, take some time to evaluate the benefits. Note that these benefits can be specific to some HOAs, but not others, and you should always make your evaluation with your own personal needs in mind.

What is an HOA Community?

HOA is short for homeowners association. When you purchase a home in a neighborhood with an HOA, you’re automatically a member of the organization, meaning you’ll be expected to pay their dues and abide by their rules and covenants. That being said, not all HOA’s are the same, and some are stricter than others. If you’re moving into an area with a swimming pool, playground, and walking trails, chances are it’ll have a homeowners association to help manage and maintain those facilities.

What Are the Benefits of An HOA?

The first benefit of an HOA is that they will work to keep your neighborhood looking good.

This doesn't just improve your day to day living experience, but it also helps to protect your property as an investment.

So HOAs are great for property buyers who are looking to build equity. With an HOA you can rest assured that your home will remain in a quality neighborhood for many years to come.

Most HOAs offer useful services.

From emergency plans to snow removal, HOAs can offer convenience and peace of mind. Many HOAs even have long-term plans in place to preserve the unique character of their area.

HOA's also protect you from inconsiderate neighbors, and they’ll back you up if you ever want to do something about that noisy dog. In this way, the procedures that HOAs have in place work to protect everyone from uncomfortable situations.

If you've ever had a "bad neighbor" then you know how valuable this can be.

HOAs are great for home owners who already take good care of their properties, and they're ideal for anyone who likes working on a team, with people who play by the rules, and towards a common goal.

What Are the Downsides of An HOA?

Perhaps the biggest drawback of HOAs for some home owners is the cost.

In the Colorado Springs area, HOA dues can range from as little as $10 per month, all the way up to $300 per month, or even more! So make sure to check the fees associated with a potential HOA, and factor these into your budget.

The additional rules associated with living under an HOA can also rub some people the wrong way...

HOA rules and regulations can be very particular, right down to the height of your grass, so you might end up doing a lot of extra work on your property at the end of the day.

Alternatively, you might get frustrated if you find your HOA is not living up to its responsibilities. As mentioned before, every HOA is different, and some members are more engaged than others, so you may just find yourself having to mow that overgrown median yourself!

How Much Are HOA Fees?

There is no one-size-fits-all pricing for homeowners associations. It typically depends on things like how many properties there are in the area, the types of facilities available, and so on. The average for HOA fees can range between $200 and $400 per month, but it varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. Another thing to keep in mind is that if there’s ever a large project and the association doesn’t have enough funds to cover the cost of it, the homeowners will have to bear the additional costs.

What Do HOA Fees Cover?

In most cases, your HOA dues go into a pot which the association will use to cover the cost of the following:

  • Insurance policies
  • Professional landscaping
  • Shared swimming pools, tennis courts, playgrounds
  • Clubhouses
  • Playgrounds
  • Sidewalks, walking trails
  • Community emergency fund

Why Do HOAs Have Such Strict Rules?

The rules are in place to uphold the great quality of life for everyone in the neighborhood. At first glace, covenants can sound pretty strict. Most include restrictions on pain colors, boats and trailers, fences, garbage can size, and clotheslines. They can also set limits on noise production and messy yards. The benefit here is that you’ll never move into a home to find out your next door neighbor runs a part-time automotive business out of his garage and revs motors at various hours throughout the day. Or have the neighbor two blocks down paint their home an obnoxious shade of green that stands out like a sore thumb.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that no two HOA’s are the same. More upscale neighborhoods will often have more expensive HOA dues, more rules, and more amenities.

How to Evaluate Your HOA

An HOA is made up of people, so whether an HOA works for you will depend greatly on the members.

To find out about any HOA, try sending them an email, make plans to meet with their president, sit in on a meeting or two. And most HOAs will have a website or facebook page, so feel free to snoop around.

And never forget that the State of Colorado gives you special protections as a home owner. HOAs answer to the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA). If an HOA steps out of line, you can always submit complaints to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.

So, Is a Neighborhood With an HOA Right For You?

Well, a lot of that depends on your lifestyle and your outlook.

If you're the type who loves overturning the garden, or scheming about their next big house project, then an HOA might feel like an unnecessary hassle. But if you're more likely to see a neighborhood as a community, rather than just a collection of homes, then a Colorado Springs neighborhood with an HOA is probably right for you.

The important thing is to be aware of what you’re signing up for when you buy a home in that neighborhood. If an HOA doesn’t sound right for you (or on the contrary, if it does), let your agent know! This can greatly narrow down your search and help you find the perfect home even faster.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

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