Email Mike Email
Residential Real Estate
Jul 24, 2019

Advice for New Homeowners in HOA Communities

Sponsored Content provided by Mike Stonestreet - Co-Owner/President, CAMS (Community Association Management Services)

With all the new construction in the Wilmington area and throughout our great state, it comes as no surprise that we are seeing increases in the number of homeowners’ associations (HOAs). HOAs are outstanding resources for residents and oftentimes a huge draw for potential homebuyers.
 
Statistics show that North Carolina is one of the top five states with the most HOAs, coming in behind Illinois, Texas, California and Florida. Some 2,830,000 North Carolina residents live in communities governed by HOAs, with 96,000 of those individuals volunteering with their HOA boards and committees.
 
From a legal perspective, there are really two types of HOAs: those for condominiums, and those for everything else that can be defined as a planned community. There are townhomes, garden homes, lifestyle communities, retirement/independent living communities - we’ve even managed a campground. Marinas are now getting into the HOA mix as well, treating boat owners like single family homeowners.
 
Residents in these different types of communities rely on their HOAs to manage  two main functions: maintaining common areas and following the HOA governing documents (rules of the community). There are multiple benefits to this which many new homeowners may not realize. At the top of the list is keeping the community and the properties therein clean and attractive, free of clutter, garbage and things like extra vehicles or even boats. This aids considerably in maintaining the property values within a community.
 
Another benefit is shared costs for services like lawn maintenance, weed and insect control and landscaping. Whereas an individual homeowner who doesn’t live in an HOA community might be paying standard rates for such services, HOAs can present opportunities for group rates which can be much lower.
 
Communities with HOAs also have the opportunity to provide amazing amenities like pools, tennis courts, playgrounds, workout facilities, fishing ponds, clubhouses and boating access to residents that might not be available to standalone homes in non-HOA neighborhoods. Some of the communities we manage at CAMS have amenity packages in the millions of dollars.
 
The kinds of amenities supported by an HOA vary. Homebuyers should check with their real estate agent and closing attorney to see if the property they are looking to buy is in a community with an HOA. Every HOA is required to record their declarations of covenants in the county where the community is located; that said, not every HOA is proactive and transparent in publishing these documents (and others) on the internet.
 
Even with all the benefits, some potential homebuyers simply do not want to be part of a community with an HOA. Sometimes they ask if it’s possible to opt out of an HOA. In a community with an HOA, the only way to do that is not to buy in the first place.
 
That said, in a few HOAs there are certain elements of HOA provided services that homeowners can opt out of, like lawn maintenance. It all depends on what is available through the HOA. Some of the larger communities have “master associations” with sub-associations that can have different services for individual neighborhoods within the community.
 
To find out exactly what options are available, a homeowner should make an effort to request a copy of his or her HOAs declarations, bylaws, rules and regulations as well as copies of the budget and financial statement. If a homeowner has an issue with a neighbor who seems to be in violation of HOA rules, the best course of action is to report the violation, not to confront the neighbor directly. We recommend doing this in an email for the quickest response. Many times, neighbors complaining about a violation come to find out that the alleged violation isn’t actually covered by the HOA bylaws or covenants.
 
We recommend staying on top of HOA happenings by checking the HOA website, reading newsletters, and once in a while showing up at HOA board meetings (North Carolina law requires a portion of some HOA board meetings be open to homeowner comments). Volunteering on committees or running for the board of directors is another great way to stay abreast of issues and get to know your neighbors.
 
Mike Stonestreet is a 30-year veteran of the professional HOA management industry who has achieved one of the highest education-based designations in the field, that of Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM). Community Association Management Services (CAMS) has been a leading association management company since its inception in 1991. CAMS is a trusted provider of management services, dedicated to holding themselves to a higher standard of service to the community associations they serve throughout North Carolina and South Carolina. To find out how CAMS can benefit your community or visit www.CAMSmgt.com.
 

Other Posts from Mike Stonestreet

Cams300pxx250pxblockadjune2018[1]
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Jasonpathfinder3

What Is A Financial Plan?

Jason Wheeler - Pathfinder Wealth Consulting
Burrus rob headshot 300x300

T’was The Last Month Of The Year

Robert Burrus - Cameron School of Business - UNC-Wilmington
Lynnwhitesellheadshot

Executive Coaching: Helping Successful Leaders Become More Successful

Lynn Whitesell - Harris Whitesell Consulting

Trending News

White, Olson-Boseman Talk Hospital, Unlikely Partnership At Power Breakfast

Cece Nunn - Dec 12, 2019

In RiverLights, Firm Buys Land For 250 Apartments

Cece Nunn - Dec 12, 2019

Midtown Center Welcomes New Tenants, Revamped Store

Cece Nunn - Dec 13, 2019

Industry Leaders Shed Light On Gov. Cooper's First Film Council Meeting

Christina Haley O'Neal - Dec 12, 2019

In The Current Issue

Retirees Influence Commercial Real Estate

The retiree demographic, and the increase in population that results, has implications for the commercial real estate market in the Wilmingt...


Retiree Volunteers: 'We're Just Not Done Yet'

More than 6 out of 10 adults age 55 and older engage in some volunteer activity in the U.S. The sizeable number of volunteering retirees can...


Filming Reels In Jobs, Spending

Film recruiters this year landed five productions in Wilmington, and all but one project has wrapped....

Book On Business

The 2019 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

2019 Health Care Heroes
August 26, 2019 Power Breakfast: A Healthy Sale?
2019 WILMA Leadership Accelerator
2019 WilmingtonBiz Expo Keynote Lunch - CEO, nCino, Pierre Naude`