Homeowner’s Associations have fees that everyone dreads. It is understandable because sometimes the fees are unknown as to what they are actually used for. This can be frustrating and confusing. One may think, “What could I be doing with an extra $200 or even in some cases $400 per month?” There are reasons, good reasons for those fees though. A higher grade, more upscale neighborhood will have higher fees for the upkeep and standard of living that is normal in that area. The common areas upkeep, pools, parks, buildings, fields, courts, landscaping, security, garages or parking areas, fitness areas as well as sidewalks and exteriors are all included in the fees.
Having a Homeowner’s Association can be extremely beneficial so that there is some sort of governance for those living in a similar area. These rules or regulations are called covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). These are similar to an apartment places requirements. It can include when common areas are open and available for use, restrictions on the times of use of recreational areas, which areas need to be formally rented out, when a person is required to water their lawn, what colors a house can be externally painted, how high the grass is able to get before it absolutely must be cut, when the snow must be plowed/removed from one’s residential walk way areas, whether laundry can be dried outside, where one is allowed to place satellite dishes, the breeds of pets allowed, and many others. This is helpful for others to have standards and help keep the community look beautiful.
Any variance requested to the norm of the covenants, conditions, and restrictions, must be approved first from the Home Owner’s Association. They are not very easily persuaded to do differently what is set in the CC&Rs. These governing behaviors help to protect and provide for the community as a whole.
You will not be able to choose what specifically the fees you pay go towards. The board of directors make those decisions, and sometimes member of the Homeowner’s Association are able to vote. These fees are required. The best way to influence these decisions is by becoming a volunteer association with the HOA in your community. There are regulations in which Homeowners Associations must abide to decrease the chances of the money being spent unwisely or not in accordance to what is really needed for the community.
Keeping fees low is important, but the Home Owner’s Association number one job is to make sure the communities best interest are at hand, and sometimes that requires a bit of money. It is important for the community to have access to where the funds are going and it is okay for a member to ask questions about that. Finances can be a major issue for many people, so having that transparency is important.