WHAT IS AN HOA?
Hi, I’m Noelle Cummings with Windermere Bay Area Properties in Walnut Creek, California.
Are you a first time buyer looking at condos or townhomes in an HOA, but you’re not really sure what that means?
Or maybe you’ve bought and sold a few homes over the years, but you’re now considering HOA living to cut down on your own maintenance responsibilities, but you’re not sure if that’s a good idea.
No matter what position you’re in, you’ve probably heard from a friend or family member who lives in an HOA that it’s horrible! Well, I’m here to share some information with you to help you better understand what an HOA is, and what it means to live in one.
I spent ten years as a certified community association manager, and often found that once a Homeowner understood what the HOA was for, they didn’t hate it so much.
So, let’s dive in.
First of all, what is an HOA? An HOA, also known as a Homeowners Association, is a residential housing community, such as a condo or planned development, where each Homeowner owns their unit or lot, but shares part ownership of common property with the other owners. Most community associations in California are corporations. They are run by a volunteer board of directors (in most cases, homeowners who live within the Association), and they are governed by rules put in place by the property developer when the community was originally built. I’ll do another video that get’s into further depth on these rules and how they can affect those living in the HOA.
You might also be wondering why there are HOA’s and what the point of them is? Well, after the second World War, and as California’s population grew, so did land costs and demand for affordable housing. Municipalities also found themselves shorter on funds. A win win solution was to begin creating communities in which amenities were shared. An example of how this is of benefit to homebuyers is, say you wanted to have a pool but couldn’t afford one. If you bought a condo or single family home in a 100 unit HOA, the cost of that pool and all related maintenance, insurance, etc, would be split between you and the other 99 owners. While you do have to share the pool, you now have a pool to use at a fraction of the cost of having to install one yourself. Also, some HOA’s maintain their own roads, or sometimes even street lights – these become one less item for the city or town to budget for. So, as you can see, the concept of an HOA is a really great one.
A major point of confusion I also found in my career as a community manager was who the HOA actually is. A lot of people thought as the manager I was the HOA, or that the volunteer Board was the HOA, some even thought the HOA was some big secret conglomerate. In fact, when you live in an HOA, YOU, and your neighbors, are the HOA. In addition to paying your mortgage and other expenses, you pay assessments – more commonly known as “dues”, when living in an HOA. Your dues, along with everyone elses, are added to a pot to cover all expenses related to the common property (remember the swimming pool example I gave?).
Finally, HOA’s have become the fastest growing form of housing today. You will find them everywhere. But, every HOA is different and it is extremely difficult to compare them, so if you are considering buying property in an HOA be sure to do your due diligence by reviewing all paperwork (it is a lot) but its crucial. Also don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions, that way you’ll know what you are walking into from the start.
I hope this has been informative and also helped to alleviate some of the concerns you may have been having about the housing market. If you liked this video, please like, share, and subscribe to my YouTube channel, for future updates and real estate tips. I would also love to hear from you about what other real estate related topics you’d like to see videos on. Thanks so much for watching, and let’s keep in mind during this time that everyone is fighting their own battle, whether public or private. Let’s try to be kind to each other always. Wishing you and yours health and safety; until next time!