With a new year, many of us will have fresh opportunities and potentially major life changes. For many, 2014 will be the year in which they move into an HOA community—and for those folks, it’s important to know what to expect!
HOA members, feel free to share the following HOA newbie tips with any friends, family members, or new neighbors you know of who may be unfamiliar with the ways in which the HOA works.
- Familiarize yourself with all of the governing documents, including declarations, bylaws, and so forth. This may seem obvious, yet it is shocking how many new HOA residents fail to do this. Reading the rules ensures that you’re not ever caught off guard by them, and that you don’t inadvertently violate them in the future.
- Know how to contact the HOA Board or the property manger. Whether you have a general question or a work order that you need to put in, knowing how to contact the powers that be is necessary.
- Understand the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) process; this will be necessary should you ever wish to add on a deck, pool, sunroom, or other home expansion.
- View the HOA budget. If nothing else, this will show you exactly where your assessments are going.
- Make sure, when you move into a new HOA community, that you request your keys for the pool or other amenity centers.
- Attend the annual HOA meetings, and get a feel for what’s going on in the community—both now and in the future.
- Attend some community social events. Get to know some of your neighbors a bit better!
- Budget for your HOA assessment payments, and sign up for electronic billing/automatic drafting if it is available.