In your quest to become an energy-efficient homeowner, you might have entertained the idea of living in a neighborhood or community with a homeowners’ association, more commonly known as an HOA. There are several great things about living in a condo, townhouse or gated community with an HOA, but only if the members know how to run a tight and efficient ship. So you know just what you’re getting into, here are a few essential facts about HOAs.

You’ll Have Amenities to Enjoy

Depending on the property type, there are plenty of amenities that come with living in a building or neighborhood with an HOA. For instance, you could have access to a pool, playground for your kids, gym and a park. This means you don’t have to travel farther than necessary to exercise or let your kids run around.

Someone Else Will Take Care of Disputes

If you live in a neighborhood or building without an HOA, you have to handle disputes with your neighbor on your own, which might not have the best of results. HOAs will step in to respond to neighbors blasting loud music, those who have barking dogs and debris from your neighbor’s tree constantly falling into your yard. If your neighbor doesn’t straighten up, she or he will have to face HOA penalties.

You’ll Live in a Great-Looking Neighborhood

Another thing worth noting about living with an HOA is that you can expect to live in a well-taken care of building or neighborhood. This means lawns are well-maintained, you don’t have to worry about old vehicles rusting on the street and that every property’s paint job looks impeccable. While you might like the sound of this, know that you’ll have to do your part to keep the neighborhood looking great, otherwise, you could find an HOA notice on your door when your property’s paint has started to chip or flake.

There Are Dues to Pay

While HOAs are great for overall appearances, those appearances come at a price. You’ll have to add HOA fees to your monthly budget, which go towards taking care of the grounds and services like snow shoveling. Before buying a property, be sure you ask not only about how much dues are, but if and when you can expect due or fee increases. Find out what your fees cover as well as how large the association’s reserve fund is in case there’s an emergency. Finally, bear in mind that even if you choose not to use the facilities covered by HOA fees, you’ll still have to pay for them.

There Might Be Restrictions on Home Improvements

Before you build a new patio or put up a gazebo in your backyard, you’ll first want to check with the HOA to ensure such construction is approved. Seeing as you’re focused on being a more energy-efficient homeowner, the improvements you seek to make might be more sustainable than they are cosmetic. Be sure to focus on that sustainability when you approach the HOA and they might be more likely to give you their stamp of approval.

An HOA-controlled community might be a great fit for you, but only if you know just what to expect. Do thorough research as you’re searching for your next sustainable property.   

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