The prospect of moving into an HOA community can be very exciting for first-time buyers. After all, HOA living comes with so many benefits. You have wonderful amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, and playgrounds. There are also services that make residents’ lives easier and more comfortable. As new HOA homeowners, it’s good to take advantage of everything that the community has to offer. With that said, here are some things to keep in mind.
The Basics of Community Living for New HOA Homeowners
Moving to a new home or community can be exhilarating, but it can also be very stressful. Plus, HOA living is a different kind of environment. As a new homeowner, you might not know what to expect. So, to ensure that your adventure starts off in the right direction, here are five valuable tips for new HOA homeowners:
1. Make an Informed Decision
Before signing a purchase contract, homeowners should educate themselves about the HOA community they are planning to join. There are so many things to consider — all of which can affect your decision to join an HOA community.
Visit the HOA website to identify all the community amenities. Try to evaluate the condition of pools, spas, tennis courts, fitness centers, game rooms, and so on. Inspect all governing documents, including Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), bylaws, and HOA rules and regulations.
Many HOAs hire professional management companies to manage the association and improve the quality of connections between homeowners and boards. First-time buyers should evaluate the management company’s services and reputation within the industry.
New HOA homeowners need to stay informed of all issues related to the association to avoid costly misunderstandings. It’s good to have a contact person — whether it’s a board member or the HOA manager — who can answer all your questions and concerns upon moving in.
2. Understand Your Responsibilities
Upon signing the contract, new HOA homeowners will be able to experience all the benefits of HOA living. However, they should also understand their responsibilities and financial obligations to the HOA.
Everyone in the community must pay monthly HOA dues, which covers expenses such as grounds maintenance, pool service, fitness center operation, road maintenance, security, management fees, and more. In addition, special assessments may be imposed if the HOA members approve a major expense.
All these important details are outlined in the new homeowner welcome packet. The board will usually provide an HOA welcoming kit to new homeowners so they can have a smooth transition to life in the community.
3. Explore Your Community
New HOA homeowners should take the time to explore their community. This is to ensure that they can really take advantage of all the benefits that the community offers. As new community members, they will have to deal with the homeowners association quite regularly.
Thus, make it a point to get to know the HOA board or the HOA management company. Also, try to see the number and quality of resources that are available in your community.
4. Be a Good Neighbor
In order to foster a sense of community, new HOA homeowners should make an effort to get to know their neighbors. If you know the people who live in your community, it’s much easier to feel at home.
Forming bonds also help make the community a safer place for everyone. New homeowners may discover interests or ways neighbors can help each other out — such as in the case of an emergency. Avoid being a bad neighbor as this can just lead to fines, conflicts, or even legal trouble.
5. Stay Involved in Community Matters
New HOA homeowners should always stay involved in community matters. Try to attend as many events as you can. If you have free time, you can also volunteer with different committees or community projects. Read the newsletters and other announcements so that you’re up-to-date with the goings-on in the community.
If you have concerns or recommendations, board meetings and community meetings are the perfect avenues to voice your opinions. New homeowners who want to help the community can even decide to join the HOA board later on.
From New HOA Homeowners to Active, Involved Community Members
There are so many perks to living in an HOA community. You have access to wonderful amenities and vast opportunities to forge close relationships with neighbors. However, it’s also important for new HOA homeowners to understand their responsibilities and obligations to the community. By keeping in mind these new homeowner tips, you can make the transition to HOA living as smoothly and as comfortably as possible.