If you move into a neighborhood with a Homeowner’s Association, otherwise known as an HOA, you may be initially off-put by the fact that you have to pay dues. Bear in mind, though, that these dues are a small price to pay for all the association does for your neighborhood. From general upkeep, keeping the residential area clean and well-maintained, throwing neighborhood events, to providing common areas and buildings for all to enjoy; those who live in such an area often claim that they’d never do without again.
Of course, since there are so many benefits to living in the subdivision, that means residents have their share of responsibilities. The HOA works hard to ensure that litter and vandalism is kept to an absolute minimum and that the private benefits are manifold, while taking the extra step to make sure that the landscaping is perfectly manicured. They even go so far as to install custom street signs for a neat, uniformed appearance. But everyone has to do their part, and if you want to make your HOA as happy as they make you – while also ensuring they have no reason to crack down on you or your home – there are a few simple things you can do.
Know the Rules
The biggest mistake residents make is not knowing what is and is not acceptable in their neighborhood. We’ve all been overcome by the desire to make a spontaneous change to the appearance of our homes, whether it’s changing the color of the shutters or doing some springtime landscaping. But every HOA has its rules for the outward appearances of homes, and it’s better to plan in advance for any changes you might want to make. Knowing the dos and don’ts makes it easier for you to do some last minute home goods shopping without having to worry that you’re wasting effort or money.
Know your Neighbors
It may sound simple, but it goes a long way — get to know your immediate neighbors. Try to keep a friendly relationship with them as much as possible, whether it’s ‘Hi’ and ‘Bye’ as you see them come and go, or having them over your backyard for a barbecue. It helps if you ever need to make a petition so that you know you’ll have others on your side. You’ll be able to go to them before having a party to make sure they’re aware of it, and therefore avoid noise complaints. And best of all, you’ll get to show your HOA representatives that you’re cordial.
Know your Candidates
If there’s something you don’t like about your HOA, you do have one thing to your advantage — you can always vote. Voting is one of your most powerful rights as a resident, and since it’s a smaller election, your vote counts. Not only do you get to vote on Directors, but there is also voting on policy matters as well. If you’re attending meetings and staying involved, your interest will show and you’ll also be in a good position to inform your neighbors.
About the Author
A savvy interior designer looking to improve people’s living spaces