HOA stands for Home owners association, and is an organization of community members that set the rules of a community and enforce them. The HOA usually charges a monthly HOA fee to residents that can cover a variety of amenities and maintenance. The HOA board is usually made up of homeowners from the complex or community that they serve that are elected to their positions by other homeowners.
What is an HOA fee?
With the amenities that HOA provides, there is often a fee. The HOA fee is typically monthly, but can sometimes be quarterly. The HOA will use the money that is collected from the home owners in the area, in order to pay for the services provided. It is important to note that this fee is on top of your mortgage, it is not built into that payment. Even if your home is paid off, you will still have the monthly or quarterly HOA fee.
How much are we talking?
This will completely depend on your area, and the services that are provided by your HOA. The national average for a single-family home is roughly $200-$300 dollars per month. It is also possible that different homes within a community will pay a different rate. For example, If your property has more grass, it will take longer to cut, you may have a higher fee.
What is covered in an HOA fee?
It is important to note that every community is different. Your HOA should have documents explaining all that is covered within the fee. Some things that may be covered under are snow removal, pool and hot tub maintenance, gate maintenance or a security guard on staff, and electricity for shared spaces. The more services that are offered, the higher your fee will be.
Are there ever extra or unexpected fees?
The fees associated with the HOA, can be raised from time to time if the board decides its necessary. Aside from normal raises, the board can also authorize a “special assessment”. These are usually put into place to cover unexpected work. One example of this could be repairing shard spaces after a natural disaster. A special assessment can also be an additional recurring fee on top of your regular dues, that will go into a reserve fund for major unexpected repairs.
Questions to ask your HOA
Chances are if you’re looking at a property that has HOA fees, the info will be included in the listing information. With that being said, it is always a good idea to come prepared with some questions.
- What services are covered?
- How many times have the fees been raised or changed in recent years?
- Is there a reserve fund for large expenses or long-term repairs?