Ignite FB Tracking PixelWhat you need to know about Home Owner's Associations - Lori Madden
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What you need to know about Home Owner's Associations

by Lori Madden 11/07/2018

Did you know that Florida is the state with the most Home Owner Associations in the country? We have more than 47,000 with California right behind us at 45,000. If you’re a first-time homebuyer or interested in a house that is a part of an HOA here’s what you need to know.

First, you should know that Home Owners Associations or HOA’s are in place via deed restrictions which are tied to the title of the house, not the owners. This means that when buying a home with deed restrictions you will automatically be joining the HOA. You will be under obligation to pay yearly fees to keep the association running and follow the bylaws in place.

An association can legally enforce hefty fines if you do not follow these bylaws and they usually do. When there isn’t an association in place please do not make the mistake to think you are “off the hook”. A neighbor can decide to sue and take you to court for not keeping within the rules.

You might be wondering why have deed restrictions at all. The truth is there are quite a few positives that many people find well worth the rules and fees. Having an HOA in place protects your home’s value. By requiring neighbors to maintain their homes and lawns your home’s value can’t be brought down because of someone else’s actions. Deed restrictions are also frequently put into place to protect a particularly stunning view for the neighborhood. This is to prevent it from being obstructed so the whole community can enjoy it.

A Home Owners Association can create a sense of community. It helps to ensure everyone is happy and that the roads and facilities the neighborhood uses are well maintained. It is up to community management to ensure trash, road repairs and storm damage are duly taken care of. Often, communities with associations even have amenities for everyone to use like a pool, playground or hall.

Common restrictions you should keep in mind when considering a home under deed restriction are:

  • the number of people who can live in a home

  • what type and number of pets you can/can not have

  • if cars can be parked in the driveway

  • if there is a limit on how many cars can be parked on the driveway

  • if motor homes, boats, and motorcycles are not allowed

  • What sort of home business can be operated

  • The colors used for siding

  • Types and style of materials used when renovating

  • What type, size and extent of renovations can be done

If you have or plan to have, a large family, a lot of leisure vehicles or run a business with a lot of foot traffic in and out of your home it is probably best to look for a home that does not come with deed restrictions or an HOA. You should also look elsewhere if you plan for major renovations now or down the line and enjoy having a unique one of a kind home.

If you don’t plan on major structural changes to your home, aren’t bothered by all the houses more or less looking the same, and following some restricting rules an HOA might be the right fit for you.

About the Author

Lori Madden
As a Florida native growing up in Sarasota, I have seen my hometown grow from a sleepy coastal town to a highly sought-after destination along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. After working in Chicago for 5 years, I returned to Sarasota and saw it through a new lens and really began to appreciate what makes Sarasota so desirable, including temperatures that allow for year round outdoor activities including tennis (a personal favorite), golf, boating, kayaking, fishing, paddle boarding, or just relaxing and/or shelling on our pristine sandy shores, including Dr. Beach’s #1 beach in the United States for 2017, Siesta Key! Sarasota’s cultural amenities are many and diverse, appealing to a wide range of arts lovers. Downtown Sarasota has become a destination in itself, drawing many new developments for those who want to be within walking distance of Main Street's offerings and the picturesque bayfront and marina. Foodies will find an eclectic mix of locally owned and operated restaurants offering something for everyone, and there are now Farmers Markets every day of the week in various locations throughout Sarasota, but the Saturday morning Farmers Market in downtown Sarasota draws the biggest crowds. Since 1988, my passion has been selling real estate, representing both buyers and sellers. I have been recognized by my clients and customers for an uncompromising work ethic and dedication to helping them achieve their real estate goals. Relying on my experience as a real estate paralegal and being highly organized, I am able to help make the transition between contract and closing a smooth one for my clients. With an eye for interior and landscape design, I've been known to pitch in and help Sellers minimize and/or reorganize their belongings in order to stage their home to maximize its sale potential. I specialize in out of state buyers looking for their piece of paradise along the Gulf Coast and make it a priority to keep them up to date on our quickly changing local real estate market. I welcome the opportunity to share with you all Sarasota and her surrounding islands have to offer!