What Is An HOA?
There are many benefits to living in a master-planned community. For starters, they usually include community amenities and social events that are conveniently organized creating more opportunity to live, work and play. Ever wonder who is behind the scenes making this happen? Often, it’s the community’s Homeowners Association, known as an HOA. Let’s explore what this means by answering commonly asked questions about HOA’s.
Q: So, what is an HOA?
A: As you begin searching communities, you may consider, “Will there be a Homeowners Association? ”If you have never lived in a master-planned community, you may ask yourself, “What is an HOA?” Simply put, an HOA, or Homeowners Association, is an organization responsible for ensuring the community and its amenities are thriving. The Association takes on specific responsibilities to manage the needs of the community and build a sense of unity among its homeowners.
Q: Got it. But what does the HOA do exactly?
A: We are glad you asked. Specific responsibilities include administrative tasks like keeping financial records and managing contracts for services. They also focus on the lifestyle side of the community by overseeing committees, organizing annual meetings and planning lifestyle events to promote neighbor socialization. From Outdoor Movie Nights to Cookies with Santa, creating unity and fun for home owners is the heart of the HOAs within our HHHunt Communities. HHHunt Communities founded Genesis Community Management to provide our homeowners with the best and brightest professionals who help our HOAs with best practices and advice to run as efficiently as possible.
Q: How do I get more involved with the HOA and with the community in general?
A: Great question. Joining the Board of Directors or a committee within the community is a great place to start. Read below for a list of committees to choose from and a description of each:
- Board of Directors: members who make policy decisions and attend quarterly meetings to address community needs and future plans. The Board contracts a management company for the day-to-day operations. These members are elected annually and require the most commitment.
- Lifestyle Committee: members who strategize and plan multiple community events.
- Modifications Committee: members who review applications sent in by homeowners for making exterior changes to their property.
- Budget and Finance Committee: members who help determine and address the annual budget recommendations.
- Event Personnel: these are volunteers who assist in the execution of social events – this is the least intensive commitment and a great way to meet neighbors!
Q: What is an HOA assessment and what does it cover?
A: HOA assessments vary by community, but they are typically billed quarterly. These fees cover the many services an HOA provides from amenities to events and more. In low-maintenance communities, there are maintenance services provided by the HOA that are included in the fees as well, such as maintaining the roof, replacing siding and re-paving the driveway. Living in a community with an HOA provides peace of mind as it ensures not only a well-managed community but also maintains home values.
Q: If I want to make an exterior change to my property, does that go through the HOA?
A: Yes, exterior improvements go through a review process to ensure consistency in construction andcommunity design. This process varies by community, but the steps below are the same when sending ina request to change the exterior property:
- The homeowner should first review the design standards of the community to make sure it’s a feasible request.
- Next, the homeowner should fill out a Modifications Application and submit any supplemental documents noted on the application.
Once these two steps are complete, the Modifications Committee (sometimes called the Architectural Review Committee) will review the application. If it is approved, the homeowners will receive a written approval that exterior change to the property may take place.
At HHHunt, we believe it’s how you live that matters, and we hope you find this information helpful in understanding the role of an HOA in a master-planned community. Explore our award-winning new home communities in Virginia and North Carolina. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more content like this, as well as video tours, helpful tips and more.
Q: What is a member at large in an HOA?
A: A member at large is a member of the association who owns property anywhere within the association.
Q: What is an estoppel fee for an HOA?
A: An Estoppel letter from an HOA, is a document placed into file when a home or condominium is in escrow. The document states the seller’s annual fees for the HOA and indicates if the seller has paid in full or owes fees at the time of sale.
Q: What is an HOA community?
A: A community association is a legal entity in which the owners enjoy the protection, enhancement, maintenance and preservation of their homes and property. There are three defining characteristics:
- Membership is mandatory and automatic.
- Governing documents bind the owner and the association to each other with mandated actions.
- Mandatory lien-based assessments(maintenance fees) are levied on each owner to operate and maintain the community association.
Q: What is an HOA lien?
A: A lien is a legal claim by the association on the property of a delinquent owner to obtain the payment of the debt or the satisfaction of the obligation. In an HOA, the lien is automatic as written in the Declaration and protects the association’s interests and encourages payment. The lien also prevents sale or transfer of the property without settling the debt.
Q: What is an HOA meeting?
A: HOA’s hold meetings in accordance with the governing documents. Each year, the HOA holds an Annual Meeting of the Membership where the members elect Board members and receive reports on the financial status of the Association and may also vote on changes to the governing documents. The Board of Directors is also required to meet periodically to manage the business of the Association. Typically, Board meetings take place quarterly or monthly depending on the size of the HOA and the business to be conducted.
Q: What is an HOA resale package?
A: Some states, such as Virginia, require that the seller of a property provide a resale Disclosure package to the buyer of the property. The package contains all documents that govern the HOA as well as financial information about the HOA, and other documents that provide information about the operations and condition of the community association. Additionally, the package contains a statement telling the buyer if the owner owes money to the HOA and noting if any violation of the Covenants or Design Standards exist on the property. The Buyer has the obligation to review the contents of the package prior to purchasing the property.
Q: What is an HOA statement?
A: An HOA statement is the accounting of funds owed to the HOA and paid by the property owner.
Q: What is an HOA transfer fee?
A: A transfer fee would also be called the post-closing fee to the purchaser of the property. It is collected at settlement, for the purpose of establishing the purchaser as the owner of the property in the records of the association.
Q: What is cumulative voting in an HOA
A: Cumulative voting is a system of voting by which each voter multiplies the number of votes he or she is entitled to cast in the election by the number of directors for whom he or she is entitled to vote. Then, casts the product for a single candidate or distributes the product among two or more candidates. Typically, the By Laws of an HOA will not permit cumulative voting.
Q: What is the purpose of an HOA?
A: The purpose is to help preserve, protect and enhance property values by establishing standards for the community that all homeowners must meet.
Q: What is the purpose of an HOA board?
A: This is to govern the affairs of the HOA. The Board establishes the budget and financials of the HOA, establishes policies and procedures, and rules and regulations to ensure proper operation of the HOA, and hires management to assist with the implementation of policies and manage the day-to-day operations of the HOA.
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