What Is a Homeowners Association Fee?

What Is a Homeowners Association Fee?

A homeowner’s association fee, otherwise referred to as the property owners’ association due, is a monthly or yearly subscription paid by owners of residential properties such as single-family-homes and condominiums for maintenance, repair and improvement of the property and its amenities. Here is everything you need to know about homeowners association fee.  What Is the Cost?

A homeowner’s association fee, otherwise referred to as the property owners’ association due, is a monthly or yearly subscription paid by owners of residential properties such as single-family-homes and condominiums for maintenance, repair and improvement of the property and its amenities. Here is everything you need to know about homeowners association fee. 

What Is the Cost?

How much does a homeowners association cost? Well, according to Investopedia the cost of a HOA fee can vary depending on the type of property and the size. HOA dues can range between $100 and $700 per month with an average estimate of $200. According to ft Journal the average cost for the homeowners association fee is $285.

Kindly note that HOA dues are pricey.

Functions of the HOA Fees and What HOA Fees Cover

The HOA fee is a recurrent fee charged monthly to homeowners in a single neighborhood or condominium for utilities and maintenance of the neighborhood. The HOA fee covers the following areas:

Social Events

It is a common thing for HOA boards to hold special events for their association members. Notable events organized may be an annual get together for members to meet and greet. The costs for food, entertainment and other logistics is covered by this fee. 

Management Costs

For efficient running and implementation of policies, most HOAs hire professionals. Homeowners association fee is used to pay these managers.

Property Maintenance

A bigger share of the HOA fee goes into maintenance and repair. Evidently, these properties have utility areas such as pools or playing grounds that need regular servicing. The HOA fee caters for city services such as trash collection, sewer, and recycling.

How to Pay the Fee

For accountability purposes always ensure that you pay your HOA due on time, through the right channel and to the authorized due collector. Many homeowners associations use professional management companies to aid in running the association. Notably, some HOA’s use third party services. Different homeowners associations have their own means of accepting payment. Here are ways you can use to make your payment:

  • Direct Debit: This is an online payment method that allows a provider to simply pay their HOA dues without necessarily using cash.
  • Credit Card: This system allows you to make payments online via credit card providers with a commitment to pay in future.
  • ACH: This system, Automated Clearing House, ACH, allows HOA affiliates to use electronic credits that are directly linked to their bank accounts.

Legality

Homeowners associations are legal entities that are constitutionally permitted to administer contracts with its members. 

How Do I Lower HOA Fees?

We all agree that HOA fees are costly. Here are some few tips to help you lower this fee:

Review the Contract

Homeowners have different needs depending on the type of property that they have. Always ask for the contract and review all aspects of the services given. This allows you to understand the amount charged by the vendors offering this service. Some of these charges are not reviewed and HOA may on some occasions use backdated figures.

Joining the HOA Board

Joining the board allows you to have an in-depth analysis of the HOA’s financial books. As a member, you are able to review the budget and source for vendors who provide services at a reasonable and member friendly price.

Cut on Costs

To cut on cost on operational costs, reduce the number of times some services such as landscaping are done. In instances where the HOA has engaged professional property managers negotiate with the property managers to reduce their fee.

Reduce Reserves

All homeowners associations have reserves. This is basically the money that is used in carrying out major repairs. Carry out a reserve study to determine and assess the condition of major assets, estimate their repair date, and the cost to be incurred. If the reserve balance is good, cut the reserve amount saved monthly.

Insurance Premiums

HOA insurance covers areas owned by the homeowners association. Generally, HOA insurance eats big into the HOA budget. Try and renegotiate with your insurance provider when your insurance policy comes up for renewal.

Benefits of Buying Properties with HOA Fees

Lowers Cost of Repairs

Purchasing a property is an investment that should ensure a buyer has peace after closing in a deal. Most homeowners dread major repairs, however, the HOA has a reserve fund that helps in repairing major defaults.

Intercede Disputes

The HOA is a legal entity and helps in solving disputes between members of the association for example solving complaints from a neighbor who reports noise.

Covers Property Management Fees

A homeowners association may hire professional property managers to aid in managing your home and run your day-to-day maintenance.

Finances Utilities

The fees covers the use of amenities such as the swimming pool or basketball court for far much less. These facilities would come at an additional cost to install in your property.

Drawbacks of Buying a Property with HOA Fees

Extra Fines

A homeowners association is tasked with ensuring all its members abide by the rules and regulations of the neighborhood contrary to which action may be taken against you. Noncompliance allows the HOA to fine you. 

HOA Fees Can Change

Emergency repairs may increase your dues so as an addition to amenities shared by the neighborhood. 

Limits Creativity

HOA’s value consistency in the neighborhood. This in turn limits a homeowner from developing on their property or rather changes the exterior design.

Restricted Renting

Homeowners association may restrict renting out your property or rather limit the number of people you can rent your property to. Failure to adhere to these regulations may cause the HOA to fine you.

HOA’s Can Evict You

The cost of a HOA fee should be a factor you consider before purchasing a property. In high-cost living areas, the HOA may take action against you for failure to fit an HOA fee into your monthly financial plan.

Are Homes for Sale with HOA Fees Worth it?

It is advisable, to any potential property buyer purchasing a home with an HOA to conduct due diligence.

Purchasing a property is an investment that should be worthwhile while maintaining that it is a business decision. Factor in the monthly HOA fees into your budget before making the final decision. Remember to compare the associations around before settling on one. The members of this neighborhood may give you vital information that you may not get by yourself.

Homeowners association is mandated to engage you with a contract, so ensure that you understand the documents well before you commit. A signed document provides for adjudication in case a conflict arises. HOA fee cushions you from the dreaded repairs and maintenance works that at times may be costly. 

So, yes, homes for sale with HOA fees are definitely worth it.

Closing Remarks

It is every buyer’s dream to own a home — a place that offers a serene environment while posing reduced maintenance responsibilities and sharing social amenities. On the hand, this environment and neighborhood value the need for uniformity with chances of having a sloppy neighbor who may become a problem for you.

Due diligence should be key before you commit.

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