Homeowners Associations – almost every suburban household deals with them at some point. While unsolicited calls and letters of complaint may be more than what you bargained for, the thing to remember is that you’re on the same team. More likely than not, if you settled in a neighborhood with an HOA, it’s for one of two reasons: 1) You have kids and want them to grow up in a tight community, or 2) you wanted to live someplace where you could drive through and critique a variety of well-groomed lawns.
First-time buyers are usually the ones who have the most difficulty with the HOA, but it doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience. After all, the HOA is there to protect the high standard and culture of your community, and that’s probably why you signed the contract. But if you’re finding dealing with the HOA is more than you expected, try these three tricks. It might help to get on their good side.
HOA is there to protect the high standard and culture of your community.
Follow the regulations – The rules and conditions often vary from one HOA to the next, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your neighborhood’s specific requirements as early as possible. This will save you the hassle of dealing with complaints and unsolicited phone calls.
Some rules are oddly specific and will require that you use certain colors of paint or provide specifications for ornaments and plants allowed in your lawn. Others might be common sense, prohibiting leasing arrangements in a non-leasing neighborhood, or noisy gatherings on weeknights. If you’re uncertain about any of the regulations for your neighborhood, visit the website or contact someone on the board. More likely than not, they will be eager to share information.
Volunteer at a neighborhood event – Besides ensuring that the neighborhood meets certain physical standards, the HOA also enriches the community culture. Summer cookouts and holiday parties present great opportunities for neighbors to get to know each other. So why not show some team spirit and volunteer to help with the next planned event?
Maybe you can serve drinks at the Tacky Christmas Sweater party, or you could become a regular contributor by making updates to the website. The HOA runs on volunteer hours and any contribution will be appreciated.
Have fun with it – The longer you stay in the neighborhood, the more you take stock in the HOA’s affairs. Your kids might be featured in the newsletter for winning first place at the swim meet, and over the years, they will look to the community leaders as people who helped shape their formative years. So take pleasure in knowing that the HOA is helping to provide your kids the best childhood they could have.
Maybe you will join the board, and help create changes that you deem important. The HOA is structured to serve residents, so make it yours, befriend other families and get the biggest bang for your buck — you are paying annual fees after all.
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