Homeowner’s Associations FAQ

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When looking to buy a house, you might see the term homeowner’s association or HOA. A homeowner’s association is a self-governed neighborhood organization that usually helps with general upkeep of a neighborhood as well as sets standards of behavior. Although this is the general purpose of an HOA, they vary locally.

Usually, HOAs are run by an elected board of volunteers that will meet regularly.

Articles of Incorporation
Articles of Incorporation apply to each state. These documents include information about corporations such as:

The name and office location, the stated purpose of the corporation, information about stocks in the corporation and other miscellaneous details (Legalzoom). Knowing where to find your state’s Articles of Incorporation is important because homeowner’s associations typically will have their details listed on there, including where their office is located and any contact information for the association. Click here to learn more about Idaho’s filing process.

From there you can research the specific rules and regulations an association enforces.

What is a CC & R?
Another term that might come up when looking into a house in an HOA neighborhood are “CC & Rs”. Although, HOA’s are not always related to CC & R’s. These can exist without a home being a part of a homeowner’s association neighborhood. These are the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. These describe essentially what homeowners can and cannot do with the property they own. “The goal of the CC&Rs is to protect, preserve, and enhance property values in the community” (Nolo).

CC&Rs usually include rules about how you can maintain your property, decorate your home, what pets you can have, where you can park, and where you can store trash. CC&Rs and HOAs focus on exterior value of a home or “curb appeal.” This can include anything from what color you can paint the exterior of your property or what type of fence you can build, and more.

How do they run?
Typically, a board of elected volunteers will vote to make decisions within the association.

What can they regulate?
HOAs and CC&R’s can be more relaxed and generally enforce good maintenance of a property such as the removal of weeds and trash. Although in some communities, the regulations cover anything from smoking, the allowance of pets, or specific activities that can occur on a property, or even the type and number of vehicles owners can park in the neighborhood like boats and RVs.

HOAs can also regulate design changes to a property including landscaping, and additional construction. Often you can also pay extra fees for snow removal or lawn care.

How are rules enforced?
Rules are typically enforced by:

  • Penalizing the homeowners with fines.
  • Suspending the ability to use community amenities, such as a pool, gym, office, or clubhouse- essentially anything that can be accessed in the neighborhood by the residents.
  • They could force owners to comply by going onto the property and might even bill you afterwards.
  • In extreme cases, HOAs could try to file a lawsuit against you.

Therefore, reading the CC&Rs of a homeowner’s association is very important. This document will outline the penalties for not following the neighborhood rules and will tell you what the rules are in the first place.

What is the cost?
Homeowner’s association’s usually charge a monthly or annual fee due by the homeowners in the community.

Dues vary based on the HOA you are a part of and the location your house is in. Nationally, the average fee for a single family home is between $200 to $300 monthly (Bankrate).

What do they take care of?
It might seem as though there are plenty of reasons to stay away from HOA communities, but there are pros to living in an HOA neighborhood.

The cost of an HOA fee can cover anything from:

  • Grounds and landscaping
  • Pool cleaning
  • Snow removal
  • Security systems (gate access, security guards, alarm systems)
  • Fire alarm systems
  • Pest control
  • Utilities
  • Trash removal

These are parts of maintaining a property that might be worth paying an HOA to take care of depending on what you value as a homeowner.

What types of houses are part of HOAs?
Any neighborhood can be a part of an HOA, but single-family home neighborhoods tend to have HOAs. Condominiums, townhouses, and co-ops can also be in HOA neighborhoods as well though. Which is why it is important to do some research and find out if your potential neighborhood is a part of one.

Latah County HOAs
There are multiple homeowner’s associations in Latah County. When looking to buy a house, your REALTOR® will identify if a house you are interested in is located in a neighborhood run by a homeowner’s association. Our agents will also do the research and learn what the CC & Rs are for an HOA to help you be as informed as possible.

Call or email Latah Realty today to learn more. 

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