Understanding HOA Fees

HOA Fees

What are HOA Fees?

When you purchase a home in a condominium, townhouse, or another form of planned development area, it is often necessary to join the homeowners association and pay the monthly fee that accompanies the association. In these types of communities, many people live in the same space. That said, all residents are responsible for keeping and maintaining the common areas, such as landscaping, elevators, swimming pools, clubhouses, parking garages, sidewalks, roofing, building exteriors, and many other features of the community.

How Much are HOA Fees?

These fees can start as little as $20 a month but more often range from $200 to $400. If the building is more upscale and has more amenities, the homeowners’ association (HOA) fees are likely to be more expensive. In addition to your predetermined homeowners’ association fees, there may be an additional charge if a major expense in incurred that can total anything up to — and sometimes over — $1000.

What do HOA Fees Cover?

These fees help to maintain the quality of life for each of the residents. They cover a multitude of different things, including city services, such as trash removal, water, and sewage, insurance, lawn care, pest control, community pools, and maintenance and repairs to the outside of the building.
The homeowners’ association sets out certain rules that all the residents must follow that help to instill a feeling of homogeneity within the community. These may include anything ranging from what color you can paint your home or the color of your front door to the type of the vehicle you can park in the street or in your driveway, and even the sizes and types of pets permitted. The rules can also extend to your environmental practices, including what fertilizers, pesticides, and sprinkler systems you are allowed to use.

HOA Rules & Regulations

Copies of HOA rules may be found online, but if not, it is important to ask your real estate agent for them. Pay attention to rules regarding fines and whether the homeowners’ association can foreclose your property for not paying the homeowners’ association fees. These rules and fees can differ from community to community, so it’s important to know and understand what rules are in place in yours.

If you decide to enter into one a community with HOA fees, research the HOA rules and fees before signing the dotted line. You want to make sure that you agree with the rules and are able to comply with them. If not, there may be other options for you to explore.