If you have bought a house recently, you might take a little comfort in the fact that your neighborhood is governed by an HOA, or a Homeowner's Association. Since these organizations focus on protecting community aesthetics and property values, you might be able to keep your place safe and beautiful for the long haul. Unfortunately, unless you understand the rules, you might end up in trouble, just like that guy down the street who likes to park his cars on his lawn. Here are two ways to avoid trouble with your HOA, so that you can enjoy your new home:
1: Understand the Rules
When you first moved in, you might have gotten a visit from your local homeowner's association. As representatives told you about the area, you might have zoned out and assumed that you could find whatever information you needed inside of that big packet they gave you. Unfortunately, skipping over valuable information could lead to misunderstandings down the road.
Since your homeowner's association can dictate almost anything from the cable network provider you use to the type of flowers you can plant in your yard, it is crucial to go through the rules with a fine-toothed comb. Some associations offer a paper print-out of CCNR's, or covenants, conditions, and restrictions, while others simply guide you towards an easy-to-use website.
After you move in, take the time to read the entire extent of the rules in your area, and ask HOA representatives if you have any questions. It might seem like a lot of work, but it could help you to avoid trouble down the road.
2: Seek Permits Before Construction
When you move into your first house, you might be excited to put your own stamp on things. After all, since there isn't a landlord around to dictate your every move, why wouldn't you repaint the living room or stick a few garden gnomes around the yard? However, making changes without talking with your HOA first could cause problems.
If you break the rules, your HOA might issue a warning, and then a fine if you don't turn things around. Although these fines are usually small, ranging from about $25 to $100, they can vary depending on where you live. Before you make any permanent change to your home including adding a fence, awning, or repainting the exterior, seek a permit from your HOA.
By understanding how to work with your homeowner's association, you might be able to enjoy all of the benefits, without any of the hassle.
To learn more, contact a homeowners association company like Cornerstone Properties Inc.