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What is an HOA?

HOA

Recently, I had a client who was looking to purchase a townhome in the Santee area. With each townhome we went to view, there was an “HOA” attached to it that was a monthly expense. My client, being a first-time home buyer, had a few questions about what an HOA is and what it covers.

HOA means Home Owners Association. It can exist in planned housing developments, townhomes, and condos. It is billed typically on a monthly basis, however sometimes can be billed quarterly. Most developments in areas of San Diego, such as Rancho San Diego and El Cajon, have HOA fees that an owner must abide by paying.

HOA fees are dues to pay for upkeep of common areas within the development, such as parks, tennis courts, swimming pools, and elevators. Sometimes, HOA fees also pay for things like trash pick-up and in certain complexes, water. They also serve as special assessments on homeowners when the association lacks sufficient reserves to pay for unexpected repairs.

Home Owners Associations are typically run by the home owners themselves within a neighborhood, and the up-keep is done through a property management company. Some homeowners are extremely picky about what their members can do with their properties, so picking a home with the right HOA is important. Sometimes, homeowner associations dictate whether Christmas lights can be hung, or what kind of window coverings can be used, while others are more relaxed and just want to keep property values up by doing things like mowing the grass in common areas or preventing homeowners from painting their homes unusual colors.

Home Owner Associations can have a huge impact on your decision to buy a property. When you are ready to purchase a property, you will be shown the HOA documents, which include the HOA budget and HOA contracts.

If you have questions or a concern regarding what an HOA is and what they cover, leave us a comment!

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

Stephen Nissou

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