When you purchase a home, there’s a good chance you’ll have to pay a homeowners association fee, especially in gated communities, townhouses, condominiums, and other similar planned neighborhoods. The idea is to keep common areas clean and maintained, and there’s usually an HOA board that is responsible for setting the rules and regulations.

Each HOA is different, but most have the same core elements. You’ll pay your HOA fees at a particular time period; either monthly, quarterly or annually, and it’s an important factor to consider when you’re weighing your options for a new home.

So what is typically included in your HOA fees?

Amenities are typically the big perk of living in a community with an HOA. While you lose out on some of the freedom of living without an HOA, you instead get community amenities like a maintained pool, gym, clubhouse, tennis courts, and other amenities. The HOA fees pay for cleaning and maintenance, so—in theory—you’ll always have a clean pool whenever you want to use it. Some HOAs cover the roof, which is a huge cost saving overtime, if you’re going to need a new roof.

Protecting the community, HOA fees often contribute to insurance for the community amenities, as well as a fund called reserves used for unexpected repairs to damaged community property—think damage from weather or accidents.

Most HOA fees will go toward general maintenance for the general safety and upkeep of the community. This means things like elevator maintenance for condominiums, snow removal in the north/ palm tree fronds and tree branches in the south, and trash/recycling services.

It’s good to be active in the association so that you can stay in the know and help your neighbors make good decisions about major purchases. There may be a board of directors, but homeowners associations exist for the betterment of the entire community, and every voice matters. HOA meetings—and the amenities they support—provide great opportunities to meet your neighbors and make your community a better place.

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When it is time for you to purchase or sell your condo or home that involves a homeowner’s association, let me help you! Call 941-504-2537 or email patsproehnle@kw.com.