What Do Most HOAs Cover? -

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What Do Most HOAs Cover?

05-11-2022 • MHS Lending

Homeowners associations, also known as HOAs, often get a bad reputation for sending mean letters about overgrown grass or vetoing exterior paint colors. Still, many associations do positive things for communities that sometimes go unnoticed. HOAs keep shared spaces within a community maintained (like parks and walkways) and enforce rules that prevent homeowners from making a change to their home that lowers everyone’s property values. For the majority of communities, HOAs work as intended. If you’re considering purchasing a new home or moving to a neighborhood with an HOA, it can be helpful to understand the HOA basics. This article will answer the question, “What do most HOAs cover?” Let’s dive in. 

What Most HOAs Cover

An HOA fee, also known as a homeowners association fee, is a fee typically paid monthly by homeowners living within the community to help maintain all properties, amenities, and common areas within the association. The average HOA fee in the US lands between $200 and $300 per month. However, New York and Hawaii have the most expensive HOA fees in the country, with median monthly fees of $570 and $520.

Every HOA community is different, so homebuyers must request a copy of the HOA’s rules and regulations from the seller or the builder. This will help you know what kinds of services to expect. Here are some of the most common.

City Services 

Some HOAs cover city services like trash removal, water, and sewage. Typically, condo HOA fees would also cover utilities, such as lighting. This coverage can be convenient, saving you the time and hassle of paying another utility bill. 

Insurance

In some cases, HOA dues are used for insurance coverage of shared spaces or outside the building if you live in a condo. You’ll still need a homeowners insurance policy to cover everything you’re responsible for, including the inside of your condo or the inside and outside of your detached home.

Lawn Care

HOA fees often go towards landscaping common areas that require lawn care and gardening. Snow removal for community roads may also be included in your fees. Some newer communities offer front yard landscaping as part of their HOA services. 

Pest Control

Condos that experience persistent pest issues in common areas may include the cost of pest prevention and control services as part of the HOA dues. Detached homes are less likely to have this service since these types of homeowners tend to be responsible for their own bug problems, boo-hoo!

Maintenance And Repairs

A part of your HOA dues will also be allocated to maintaining and repairing common areas and shared structures. This can include siding and roofing in the case of a condo, townhome, or duplex. Maintenance of parking lots and neighborhood roads may also be included. Landscaping, public bathroom upkeep, and other maintenance are included for neighborhoods with community parks and play structures. 

Amenities And Other Services

Lastly, some HOA communities include access to amenities such as a pool or fitness center for all the residents. The HOA may also provide security, concierge services, or other luxurious add-ons for upscale neighborhoods. However, these HOAs are usually thousands per month, yikes. 

The Last Word On HOAs 

As a homebuyer, it can be challenging to assess whether an HOA is a positive or negative feature of a new home. While most HOAs do good things for the residents they serve, you don’t have to go far to hear many horror stories of HOAs gone bad. To determine whether an HOA situation will be right for you, make sure you review the homeowners association’s guidelines and public records to examine how they’ve been allocating money. It might be an HOA you want to avoid if it looks mismanaged.

Also, ask yourself some personalized questions about your lifestyle and how well it aligns with a prospective HOA. For example, if you have a pet, you’ll want to know if there are pet restrictions if the pool has limited hours it might not be as exciting as you once thought, or if you’re unable to park more than a couple of cars out front and you fix up old cars for fun, the HOA may be a no-go. Finally, consider the costs. If an HOA is $400 per month or more, is that realistic for your budget? Remember, you’ve got a mortgage to pay!

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