If you’re buying a home in Lakewood, Long Beach, or a community nearby, you may end up being part of a homeowners association, or HOA—but what is it, and how does being part of one affect your ownership and enjoyment of your home?
What is a Homeowners Association?
A homeowners association is a group of people who come together to set and enforce the rules applicable to a community. The rules have specific purposes, such as to preserve and improve home values in the neighborhood and to ensure everyone can enjoy community amenities.
If you buy a home in a community that has a homeowners association, you’re obligated to join it; you can’t opt out.
About HOA Dues
Part of being in the HOA includes paying dues, which can typically be paid monthly, quarterly, or annually.
Every community has its own dues, and they can vary significantly. Typically, neighborhoods or communities with more shared amenities have higher HOA dues; that’s because part of the dues go toward maintenance.
What Are CC&Rs?
Every homeowners association has its own CC&Rs, or covenants, conditions, and restrictions. These are the rules for living in the community. Some of the rules you may encounter can involve:
o Parking restrictions, such as whether you’re allowed to park in the streets, store a boat in your driveway, or park an RV in your back yard
o Pets, such as the types, breeds, and sizes you’re allowed to keep, as well as your responsibility for cleaning up pet waste (even in your own yard)
o Building restrictions, such as whether you’re allowed to put an addition on your home
o Aesthetics, such as landscaping requirements and whether you’re allowed to put up a fence between your house and your neighbors’ homes
o Paint colors that are approved by the HOA
Can You Read CC&Rs Before You Buy?
You’re absolutely allowed to read a community’s CC&Rs before you commit to buying a property. In fact, you should—it’s better to find out that you can’t abide by a community’s rules before you make an offer than it is to find out after you’ve moved in and unpacked.
You’ll also want to find out how much the association’s dues are, and whether you’ll need to pay monthly, quarterly, or annually before you sign the dotted line. Finally, you need to find out what the dues cover; what’s in it for you? Will you still have to pay for trash pick-up, for example, or will you be allowed to use the community pool whenever you’d like?
Do You Need to Talk to a Lakewood Realtor® About Buying a Home?
Whether you’re buying a home in Lakewood, Long Beach, or one of the surrounding communities, we’d love to help. We’ll walk you through the entire process, from start to finish.
Call us at 562-882-1581 to let us know what you need. We’ll help you find it.
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