Did you know that as of 2016, there were around 69 million Americans living in HOA communities? No matter what state you live in, there are likely hundreds of community associations. There are both pros and cons to living in an HOA, but many people find that the benefits win out, especially when it comes to property value and a well-maintained community.

If you’re new to living in an HOA community, it can take some time to adjust, but here are a few tips for getting settled in:

Read the rules. First and foremost, make sure you read the governing documents provided by the HOA. They let you know what you can and cannot do, especially as it pertains to making changes to the exterior of your home or yard, where to park, or where to store your trash cans. Once you have a sense of how things run and what the expectations are, it is easier to ensure you’re in compliance.

Speak up. If there’s something you’re unsure about, or you don’t know where to find the answers you need, ask. Contact your HOA for more information or insight. They should be able to answer your questions or at least point you in the direction of someone who can. Rather than guessing and later receiving a violation notice, reach out and ask for help.

Get to know the community. Spend some time walking or driving around and getting to know the lay of the land. Figure out where the playgrounds and pools are, when the clubhouse is open, and where different roads lead. Introduce yourself to your neighbors and make it a point to smile and say hi to others. Check out the community calendar to learn about upcoming events and activities you can attend and meet more people. This is your home now, so take advantage of all that the community has to offer.

Get involved. Another great way to get to know people is by getting involved. You don’t have to dive right in and run for a board position (unless you really want to!), but volunteer to be on a committee or help with special events. Learn who the decision makers and influential leaders are. Find out how to get your voice heard if you have ideas for improvements or concerns about things that are happening.

Don’t live in a bubble. Attend HOA meetings and take advantage of all of the activities and amenities the community has to offer. Meet your neighbors and the families of children your kids go to school or play soccer with. Make the most of your new neighborhood so that it really feels like home. And don’t forget – property management teams like Kuester are there to partner with your HOA and create a more peaceable living environment.

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