Homeowners Associations (HOAs) play a role in maintaining the aesthetics, standards, and values of residential communities. While they often get both praise and criticism, they play specific purposes in neighborhood communities. HOAs are in charge of maintaining a neighborhood and upholding expectations for residents.
What are Homeowner Associations?
A Homeowner Association is a governing body established within a residential community to manage and oversee various aspects of the neighborhood. This can be any set of two or more structures from townhomes and condo units to a neighborhood of single family homes. Its primary goal is to maintain and enhance the quality of life for all residents while upholding a set of rules and regulations designed to govern the community's appearance, infrastructure, and harmony.
Most HOAs are typically non-profits and run solely on monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, or annual fees collected. This money goes into the HOA’s reserve fund to use on community projects such as landscaping, amenities, and general maintenance and upkeep. Occasionally, additional fees are levied for specific and usually unforeseen issues arise such as emergency repairs or big additions to common living areas.
These HOA fees differ in amount per neighborhood and how they are spent is determined by the HOA board customarily composed of a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and general members. Becoming a general member of your HOA can be a great way to meet your neighbors as well as have a say in how your neighborhood is managed. Covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) are written by the HOA, or an attorney hired by the HOA, and outline what is allowed and not allowed in terms of parking, decoration, maintenance and remodels, pets, and garbage/unsightly items. These fees and guidelines must be adhered to with failure possibly leading to lawsuits and property liens.
Benefits of Homeowners Associations
- Property Maintenance - One of the most significant advantages of an HOA is its responsibility for maintaining common areas, landscaping, and shared amenities. This ensures a well-kept environment that contributes to curb appeal, property values, and easy living.
- Community Amenities - Many HOAs manage amenities like swimming pools, parks, clubhouses, and gyms, providing residents with facilities they might not have access to otherwise. Not all HOAs include amenities such as these.
- Rules and Standards - HOAs establish rules that preserve the community's aesthetics and quality of life. These rules cover architectural guidelines, landscaping standards, noise regulations, and more. These are outlined in the CC&Rs and need to be reviewed prior to obliging to see if your lifestyle matches the neighborhood’s.
- Dispute Resolution - HOAs often provide a structured process for resolving disputes between residents, ensuring a peaceful coexistence within the community.
Challenges and Considerations
- Fees and Assessments - HOAs require homeowners to pay regular fees to cover maintenance costs and other community expenses. While these fees contribute to community upkeep, some homeowners might find them burdensome. Assessments are usually one-time gross sums needed to fund a specific capital gains or emergency repair project.
- Rule Adherence - The strict enforcement of rules can be seen as both a benefit and a challenge. While rules maintain the community's appearance, some homeowners might feel restricted by the guidelines.
- Power Dynamics - The decisions made by HOAs can sometimes lead to power struggles and disagreements. Effective communication and transparency are crucial to address these issues.
HOAs can have a substantial impact on property values. Well-maintained communities with clear rules often attract buyers who seek a high-quality living environment. However, overbearing rules or mismanagement by the HOA could potentially deter potential buyers.
Durango and the surrounding areas have a mix of HOA run communities, as well as HOA and covenant-free properties. Popular neighborhoods that provide many amenities through on HOA fees include Three Springs, Edgemont, Durango West, Cascade amongst many other condo, townhome, and single-family neighborhoods. There are a lot to choose from with differing amenities and level of restrictions.
Homeowners Associations are a fundamental aspect of many residential communities, offering a range of benefits and challenges for homeowners. While they promote property value appreciation and a well-maintained environment, they also require active participation, adherence to rules, and careful consideration of the community's dynamics. As a homeowner or while looking to buy, understanding the roles and responsibilities of your HOA is essential for making informed decisions. If you have any questions about HOAs or any other real estate questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.