When you buy a home in Dallas/Ft. Worth area, you’ll probably select one in a Homeowners Association (HOA). It’s important to know how the HOA works and what they mean for you – before you buy.
A recent article on Realtor.com says:
“In a nutshell, an HOA helps ensure that your community looks its best and functions smoothly. The number of Americans living in homes with HOAs is on the rise, growing from a mere 1% in 1970 to 25% today, according to the Foundation for Community Association Research.”
Who’s in Charge?
The HOA is governed by a board nominated by those living in the neighborhood. It is designed to make sure the residents have a support structure to maintain the value of the community while abiding by a set of guidelines called Common Restrictive Covenants (CC&R),
Simply put, CC&Rs are just the rules you’ll have to follow if you live in that community. Restrictive covenants are established by HOAs to maintain the attractiveness and value of the property. This is unlike zoning regulations, which are government-imposed requirements on how the land can be used.
Each HOA is a little different
And they usually have monthly or quarterly fees required to be paid by every homeowner. These fees can vary based on the property size, the number of residents, amenities, and more. There may be additional fees charged to homeowners if the reserve fund for the HOA cannot cover a major or unexpected cost, like severe storm damage.
YES, the fees are usually mandatory.
The fees, however, also help maintain common areas such as swimming pools, tennis courts, elevators (for high-rise buildings), and regular wear and tear. Additionally, there is an HOA Management company that enforces the rules, takes care of grooming the common areas, collects and dispurses the funds of the Association.
Although they are an added cost to the homeowner, an HOA can be a major benefit when it comes to maintaining the value of your neighborhood and your property.
Texas Contracts and HOA’s
After your offer to buy a home is accepted by the seller, you are legally entitled to receive and review the community’s CC&Rs over a certain number of days (typically between three and 10)…If you spot anything in the restrictive covenants you absolutely can’t live with, bring it up to your Realtor immediately – there is a time limit for you to evaluate the CC&R’s and still get out of the contract without conflict. Time is of the essence, my friend!
Most lenders will factor your HOA fees into your loan package, ensuring the amount of the loan is appropriate for what you can truly afford. Don’t be blind-sighted by these fees – you are obligated to comply with the payments.
The Bottom Line
There are some great benefits to having an HOA oversee your neighborhood, and it’s important to understand what fees, structures, and regulations will come into play where you’d like to live.
Get your Realtor® involved early-on.
Let’s get together so you have a professional who can help you understand the neighborhood’s HOA structure and fees. We want you to feel confident and fully informed when buying a home.