There are thousands of people throughout the United States that live in neighborhoods governed by HOAs. While it’s often the disagreements that come to light in the media, there are far more people who live peaceably in their communities. When the HOA and its members work together, it can be an effective arrangement that benefits everyone and protects property value. If you’re new to living in an HOA neighborhood, there are several things to keep in mind:

  1. Read the Governing Documents

This should go without saying. The rules and regulations are what dictate everything that happens. If you have a question, be it about replacing your mailbox, where you can park, or what breed of dog you can get, these documents are the first place you should check. Sign up for your HOA’s mailing list and check out their website to catch up on any recent changes and stay abreast of current news.

In many cases disputes arise because homeowners are not following these policies and procedures. Find out who you should call if you have questions, need to make a maintenance request, want to volunteer, or have a suggestion for improvements.

  1. Budget for HOA Fees

As you’re figuring out your finances for your new home, don’t forget to budget for HOA assessments. Some communities collect monthly while others operate on a quarterly or yearly schedule. Know what to expect so you’re not caught by surprise and don’t fall behind or accrue late fees. Remember that it’s these funds that keep the HOA running and allow you to enjoy all that the community has to offer.

  1. Get Involved

Attend meetings and community events so you can get to know your neighbors and find out what’s happening in the neighborhood. You pay your dues, so you do get a say in decisions and voting on new board members. If you are passionate about something, speak up and put your talents to good use. Plus, volunteering and being more social will help you to feel like part of a tighter knit community.

  1. Ask about Discounts

One of the perks of being part of an HOA is that you may be eligible for discount prices from certain service providers. Check with the board to see if they have contracts with specific vendors. They can also give recommendations if you are looking to have work done around your home or someone to take care of your lawn.

  1. Explore the Amenities

Now that you’re a part of the community, discover all that it has to offer. As a member of the HOA you may have access to pools, tennis courts, or other recreational grounds, as well as features of the clubhouse. This can be especially nice during the summer when the kids are out of school or you have guests visiting.

Make the most of your new home and the benefits of becoming part of an HOA neighborhood. The more active and involved you are, the more enjoyable it can be.

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