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Residential Real Estate
Oct 15, 2018

What's the Role of the HOA?

Sponsored Content provided by Neal Johnson - Licensed Real Estate Broker , Network Real Estate

The HOA, or Home Owners Association, is responsible for a variety of activities in the specific neighborhoods and developments it oversees.

These activities include:
  • Providing shared services
  • Collecting dues
  • Overseeing the maintenance of common areas
  • Administering a reserve fund, which is used for major expenses
  • Paying bills with the dues
  • Enforcing the rules of the community and disputes between residents.


What Are The Struggles Of The HOA?

The HOA of any given community is usually run by members of that same community. These leaders are usually elected through a democratic voting process by residents of the community.

Because of this, it can be difficult for a new resident to make an impact on their community – if that is something they're interested in doing.

There are also struggles when it comes to being an elected official in the HOA. For instance, you will be doing a lot of work for the community along with attending frequent meetings, all without getting paid for it.

This is the reason that many communities choose to outsource their HOA to a professional third-party management company, such as ours.


What Does An HOA Manager Do?

HOA management companies like ours simply help a communities Home Owners Association fulfill its many duties. If they decide to go all in with the management company, all they'll need to do from there is maintain a board of decision-makers.

The board may also choose to take calls from the community members and handle disputes between them. Besides that, the HOA management company will fulfill all the other duties mentioned above, taking a huge load off the shoulders of the HOA itself.


What Does HOA Management Cost?

The amount that an HOA board will pay to the management company is most commonly calculated based on how many doors or houses they’ll be managing, and they could charge a flat fee for each, a percentage basis of the annual budget, or one of many other fee calculations. But as with any service the charges vary per company and location. Hiring an HOA Manager often saves the board money, as opposed to doing it themselves.

That's because the professional managers will have lower cost vendors than they'd be able to get for themselves. Either way, hiring a management company is often the only way for an HOA board to fulfill all their duties.


Tips For Home Buyers

Go to an HOA meeting before you buy. Sitting in on an actual meeting can tell you all you need to know about how the community is run, and you'll also get a good gauge on your potential neighbors.

Figure out what fees you'll need to pay. There are a variety of things that can impact your fees, for instance:
  • How much goes into the HOA's reserve fund.
  • The annual increase in overall fees, which is common.
  • The things that may or may not be included in the HOA service, such as trash pick-up and cable.
Learn the rules of your HOA. Specifically, you should find the rules regarding what happens when you don't pay your dues on time. In some cases, the HOA can actually foreclose on your property if this happens for a certain amount of time. Make sure to read the fine print of your HOA's rules and regulations for things like this.
 
Check your ego. If you're not the kind of person who likes abiding by common rules and getting penalized for not following those rules – living in an area with an HOA may not be the choice for you.
 
Make sure the home you're interested in buying is in compliance with the HOA rules already. It would be a shame to move into a place only to find that you're going to have to do immediate renovations in order to comply with your HOA. These compliance-breakers often take the form of specific landscaping choices, as well as outside decor options, such as the color of your front door.

Neal Johnson is a CMCA, CRB, CNE and GRI-certified, licensed real estate broker at Network Real Estate, which has exclusively served a high volume of property sales and purchases in the greater Wilmington area for more than 30 years. With three offices at College Road, historic downtown Wilmington and Pleasure Island, Network’s brokers are widespread and well-versed in this marketplace, making Network a preferred real estate company for first-time homebuyers and beyond.  

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