T. Jay Johnson Jr. - Lamacchia Realty, Inc.



Posted by T. Jay Johnson Jr. on 1/3/2020

Photo by Andrey_Popov via Shutterstock

An HOA — or Homeowners' Association — is an organization in your subdivision or community that creates and enforces regulations and rules for the properties and residents. If a property is part of an HOA's jurisdiction, buying it automatically makes you a member. Therefore, you are required to pay HOA dues that cover the organization's costs and services. The strictness of HOA rules can vary significantly from community to community, and while some are very restrictive, others allow a wide range of changes to your property. It's essential to check in to what an HOA requires, costs and offers in a particular community or neighborhood before purchasing a home. Contrary to fictional portrayals, an HOA can be really beneficial to the homeowners by providing deals on local services and generally keeping the home values constant or increasing by keeping the neighborhood the same.

Collective Bargaining

In a lot of ways, you can think of an HOA like a homeowner's union. It gives you that collective bargaining power with larger agencies like utilities, city services and local governments. This power can save you a lot of money by getting members better deals on trash services or electricity, including landscaping with HOA dues and more. It's a well-known rule that the more you buy, the better prices you get. That means when a group of 50 homes is negotiating for a landscaping deal, they can get much better prices than if it's just one home. Don't feel like you're cheating the other business owners either. They offer lower prices because doing a bunch of things in one area lowers their overhead, and having a consistent client increases their overall profits.

Maintaining Home Values

The main job of any homeowners' association is to maintain property values. They do this not by restricting what you can do but by limiting what your neighbors can do. And yes, since you are a neighbor as well, you are also subject to the same neighbor restrictions. That means you typically can do whatever you want inside your home since that only affects you. However, you can only do things within a specific range to the outside of your home since that affects your neighbor's houses as well. The look of a neighborhood, especially neighboring homes, can significantly affect the value of a home and usually are outside the purview of the homeowner. HOAs seek to fix this by requiring that everyone keep their home up to the same standards and avoid practices that will devalue the neighborhood.

It's essential to understand the benefits and restrictions of living with an HOA, especially if you've never had one before. Your professional real estate agent will be familiar with or be able to get, the bylaws of any HOA that covers a home you are considering. Sit down and go over them together to ensure that those rules work with your preferred lifestyle.




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Posted by T. Jay Johnson Jr. on 8/26/2016

Moving to a new town can be overwhelming. We are creatures of habit and moving to a new home in a new town puts us totally out of our comfort zone overnight. Being uprooted from our communities and day to day routines can leave us feeling a little lost. If you plan to or recently have moved to a new town keep reading for some tips on how to feel at home in your new community. Introduce yourself. A great way to do this is by hosting a housewarming party and inviting new neighbors to attend alongside your family and friends. For the shy, taking a walk around the neighborhood and introducing yourself, if you happen to run into a neighbor, may feel like a more natural way to make your introductions. Explore the area. Whether it’s by car, bike, or foot get out there and discover your new neighborhood and town. Discover hidden gems and familiarize yourself with different routes you can use to get around. Shop local. Stop into the local restaurants and shops in your area. Becoming a regular at a spot to your particular liking can be a great way to become a part of the local community and even put you in a position to make some local friends. Play tourist. Get to know your new town by becoming familiar with the sites and places of note it is famous for. Check out the visitor center, community center and/or town hall for information on the attractions that make your town unique. Meetup. Hop online and browse the site Meetup.com for any groups in your local area that are interested in the same hobbies and/or activities as you. This is a great way to find your niche in your new community. If you are shy it is a great way to make friends in the area since you will have something in common with group members right off the bat. Go off the beaten path. Research where the local trails are in your area and pick a day to explore one. Being in nature is a great stress reliever, which is perfect after a big move. A lot of areas offer group walks along their trails which are a great way to meet other community members. Volunteer. Another great way to meet others in the community is by volunteering for local organizations. Not only will you be helping those in need within the community but you will be working side by side with others who enjoy helping as well. Read local. Pick up the local paper or join some of your area’s related Facebook pages to find out about events happening in your new town. Attending ones that pertain to your interests or even some that push your comfort zone will get you out and socializing with your fellow townspeople. While immersing yourself in the community of your new town can leave you feeling a little bit like the new kid in class, it doesn’t have to be quite so painful. With a little bravery and willingness to get out of the house, you will be sure to feel at home in your new community in no time.




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