What is an HOA?
An HOA is a HomeOwner’s Association.
What does an HOA do?
An HOA’s purpose can vary depending on the neighborhood and the rules and restrictions of the neighborhood.
If you buy a home in a community with an HOA, you are required to abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the HOA. The HOA is responsible for enforcing those rules and regulations.
If there are amenities offered by the HOA, the HOA is also responsible for implementing those amenities and hiring people to run or take care of those amenities.
General HOA amenities that many official HOAs offer include Common Area Maintenance (or CAM,) which could include the areas of the community that are shared by the homeowners in the community. This could include items like mowing of shared/common grassy areas, plantings, sidewalk or walkway maintenance.
What do my HOA fees pay for?
It depends on the HOA community.
The common area maintenance is one that often is paid for through HOA dues. HOA dues vary based on the amenities offered by the community.
Dues can possibly be higher in a community where there is a pool or community center, because the fees may go toward maintaining those amenities.
Dues can also possibly pay for the cost of the people running the association, especially if an outside company is running it.
If dues in a particular community seem higher than other similar communities, make sure to check their amenities. There are some HOAs where grass cutting is included in the fee, sometimes even exterior maintenance!
What does an HOA mean for me as a homeowner?
An HOA means that a community, for the most part, should maintain its’ intended look and feel.
It also means that if your home is not following the rules and regulations set forth in the association’s documents, the HOA may be able to enforce those rules on you and your home, and also may be able to use HOA funds to enforce those rules.
At times there could potentially be special assessments which could raise your dues.
What should I know about buying a home in a community with an HOA?
You need to get the documents from the homeowner’s association to find out the rules and regulations of the community, the budget of the community association, all documents they have available, and determine if living in that HOA community is right for you.
Some communities in Maryland have voluntary HOAs, so they may not have as many rules or regulations, but they may have their own set of covenants and restrictions, which may be separate from the HOA.
Most likely, you can call someone on the board of directors or someone at the HOA to ask specific questions you may have about the HOA.
Read the HOA documents you get and try to understand as well as you can, and/or contact a lawyer to help you completely understand what living in that HOA community will mean for you.
Many people love living in an HOA community, and enjoy the amenities their HOA offers.
To buy a home in a Timonium HOA community, please contact me. I would love to help!
Please note that I am not an attorney.
Any legal questions about an HOA should be asked to an attorney.
This post is intended as a general overview as to what an HOA is.