If you just moved into a community with an HOA, you may be confused about a new kind of fee that you are charged. An HOA fee is what keeps your HOA up and running and allows them to conduct services that maintain your home’s property value. Below is some more information about HOA fees that can be helpful to new homebuyers.
HOA Fees Cover Different Services Based on the Community
What your HOA decides to charge for their fee depends on what kinds of amenities and services they provide to their homeowners. Factors like the type of housing, size of the community, and location can also have an impact on the fee amount.
Your HOA must pay to maintain the facilities and amenities they offer, and they need to pay the companies that provide services like landscaping, snow removal, and security. They get money to pay for these services from you, the homeowner. So, if your community has a state-of-the-art pool and tennis court, it will cost more to upkeep those facilities, and you would pay more in fees than a community that does not have those amenities.
HOAs Can Raise Fees
You might be wondering, “Can HOA fees go up?” The answer is yes. Depending on what kinds of renovations or repairs your community undergoes or requires, your fees could go up. Usually, though, your board will have an annual meeting that members can attend to vote on those proposed increases and what that money will go towards.
Your next question might be, “How are HOA fees calculated?” These organizations cannot just raise fees as they feel like it. They must first adhere to their governing documents and state laws.
Governing documents, known as the CC&Rs, will have guidelines for how often and how much the HOA can raise fees. CC&Rs stands for covenants, conditions, restrictions, and easements, and HOAs have most of their governing policies and requirements within them. If you’re on the fence about joining a community and would like to learn more about what their HOA charges and does, the CC&Rs are a great place to read up on it.
Additionally, some states have laws restricting how much HOAs can increase their fees. For example, Arizona prohibits HOAs from increasing fees over 20% per year unless they have a majority vote from the people in the community. This highlights the importance of remaining involved in your community and staying up to date on any potential changes, so you have the most insight and opportunity to participate as possible.
However, keep in mind that restrictions on fees aren’t always a good thing. A shortage of funds can mean that community services could start lacking, or your facilities could fall into disrepair. Then, your property value could suffer. So, while lower fees mean more money for you, it could mean that your home loses value and you end up losing even more money in the long term.
HOA Fees are Mandatory
By purchasing a home within an HOA, you’re agreeing to pay what that HOA charges in fees. Become familiar with the payment schedule, as it can be monthly, quarterly, or annually charged. If you are frequently late on payments or neglect to pay in full, your HOA can take legal action against you.
It’s best to treat your HOA fees like rent payments to avoid potential consequences of nonpayment. Some of these consequences could include placing a lien on your property, charging late fees, or even foreclosure. If you think that you’re going to be late on an HOA payment, do your best to communicate with your board to see if there is an option to start a payment plan. Otherwise, you may be subject to late fees and other negative outcomes.
Again, it’s crucial to read your HOAs governing documents to see how they treat late payments or nonpayment, so if you find yourself in a tough spot, you know what action to take and what to expect.
HOA fees are mandatory, but it’s important not to think of them as an annoying expense. They help maintain your community and your home’s property value, so while you may feel like it’s a burden on your wallet, you are reaping the benefits of paying that fee. Also, if you feel that the amount your HOA is charging is unfair, you have the right to sit in on board discussions about budget and fees and vote however you feel fit.