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Wednesday's word is HOA

Susan Mangigian

I am a RealtorĀ® by profession, a mom by choice, a friend by desire, an Italian by heritage, an American by sheer luck and providence, a sister, a dau...

I am a RealtorĀ® by profession, a mom by choice, a friend by desire, an Italian by heritage, an American by sheer luck and providence, a sister, a dau...

Feb 6 4 minutes read

Google defines HOA as:

A homeowner's association (HOA) is an organization in a subdivision, planned community or condominium that makes and enforces rules for the properties within its jurisdiction. The purchase of the property automatically makes the homeowner a member of the HOA and dues are required.

If you've never lived in a neighborhood or community that has an HOA, and you aren't a big rule follower, this is going to be a bit of a shock to your system.  The HOA can tell you what color your front door MUST be.  It can tell you that your curtains, if any, need to be lined with white fabric.  It can tell you how many pets you are permitted to have in your home.  There are many rules that in order to live in the community, you agree to abide by.

There are many benefits to living in a community that has an HOA.  One major benefit that most HOA's have is that the lawn care, mulching and shrub pruning is done by the association as part of your HOA dues.  This would most likely only apply to townhomes and condos, not single family homes in an HOA, although lawn care is sometimes included then as well.  Another benefit would be that the rules apply to everyone so that all of the properties in the HOA reflect the same care and attention.  Your next door neighbor won't paint her front door bright pink.  Most HOA's have rules about commercial trucks or campers in driveways as well.  

As society ages, communities with HOA's become more attractive as lawn and garden maintenance becomes less so.  

Photo by Petr Novak on Unsplash

When you purchase a home in a community with an HOA, here are a few of the rules you agree to abide by:

1.  Pay your HOA dues.

2. Usually, there will be a limit on noise.

3. Clutter.  Normal things like patio furniture and grills are probably okay but the exterior of the home should be kept clean and neat.

4.  There is almost always a rule about the number of pets.  There are two condo communities in our area that do not allow dogs. 

5.  You may need to get permission to plant or remove a tree or shrub.  

Single-family homes in HOA's have generally more relaxed rules and regulations.

There is a difference between a planned community, commonly referred to as an HOA and a condominium community.  In both cases, when selling your Pennslyvania home in any such community, you will be required to furnish your buyer with a copy of the declaration, the bylaws, and rules and regulations of the development.  In the case of a planned community (an HOA), the seller is required to give the buyer a certificate of resale, known as a 5407.  A condo owner must give the buyer a certificate of resale known as a 3407.  The buyer will have 5 days to review the documents and declare the agreement null and void if for any reason they do not agree with what they read in the documentation.  The 5 days start when the buyer receives the necessary paperwork, even if that doesn't happen until close to settlement date, so it behooves everyone to get this done as quickly as possible.  

Because of the complexity of real estate transactions in general, and HOA's and condos specifically, a good seller's agent is a good idea.  

Cover Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash 



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