Lori Madden's Blog
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.