When you move into a neighborhood that has a HOA (Homeowners Association) keep in mind that you will also have Homowners Association Fees to pay. These fees are generally charged monthly or annually. There are a wide variety of items that your fees may cover from lawn maintenance to snow removal to upkeep of the neighborhood. Check with your homeowners association if you would like to see where your money is going and what it is being used for exactly. Many HOAs provide a yearly budget and/or breakdown of the money it brings in and how it is dispersed.
Failure to pay your HOA dues can result in your property being foreclosed.
Homeowners Associations have boards of directors in which homeowners serve as elected directors. Normally, any homeowner in good standing can run and try to be elected to a director position. This allows the homeowners to have input on the CC&Rs and the manner in which the association is operated. The board of directors is usually the entity that determines the amount of the fees and other budget considerations.
The HOA fees will also be used to claculate your debt to income ratio (DTI). Make sure if you are refinancing or buying a new home that has a home owners assocciation you tell your mortgage professional how much the dues are and how often they are due.
When shopping for a home, keep in mind that HOA dues can vary widely from one association to the next, even if the communities look similar. Some may have HOA dues so high that they make a noticeable impact on the property value or the size of loan you can qualify for.
Your Homeowner Association (HOA) fees are mandatory and must be accounted for in determining your monthly expenses. The HOA fees are used for your benefit to improve the neighborhood or community you have joined.
Your HOA will have meetings that will update you on current events that are associated with the HOA, what to expect for changes such as additions such as a pool or tennis courts and most of these things you as a member will be voting on.
Having these fee's benefit you as the homeowner as well by keeping your community looking nice and well kept, which only helps with the value of your home. It is always a good idea to get a copy of the regulations of the association to be sure you can conform to the requirements of that community.
Keep in mind that HOA dues are not optional, and need to be in your budget.
When you live in a community with a homeowners association, keep in mind that most homeowners associations have their own rules, by-laws and restrictions. They may have rules that state no sheds, no RV's or boats to be stored on property, only certain types of fences allowed, grass cannot exceed a certain height, home improvements may need to be approved by the HOA (homeowners association) board before you can start them, etc... So familiarize yourself with your communities by-laws and such or ask to see a copy of the HOA by-laws and rules before placing a bid on a home in an area with a HOA.
When applying for a purchase or refinance loan on a property which is subject to Home Owner's Association (HOA) dues, please note that additional time may be required to process your loan in certain cases, depending on requirement and/or the speed with which the HOA is able to complete the necessary paperwork for your mortgage.