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Understanding a Home Owner's Association
The best thing about buying a condominium, townhome or property within a master planned development like Daybreak is that you’re buying so much more than a home… you’re buying a lifestyle. Your new place is part of a unique community specifically developed to include perks and special amenities for its residents. And best of all – you don’t have to take care of them!
The community aspects of planned developments like apartment complexes, condominiums and MPCs are most often managed and maintained by an HOA, or Home Owners Association, which is tasked with taking care of things like the building structure (in the case of townhomes and condos for example), community pools, parks, walking trails, clubhouses and everything else each unique development provides. You pay a monthly “assessment” to cover the expenses of community management, and the HOA takes care of the rest! They make sure the homes, lawns and amenities are all well maintained, and that the community remains a place you can be proud of.
With any home purchase, there are a lot of things new buyers need take into consideration. If you’re considering a property within an HOA, understanding their basic rules and regulations should be on the list. Some think this is complicated – but it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few key elements you’ll want to understand…
 
Governing Documents
Each community is created according to a specific vision. The HOA’s governing documents define how the vision will be maintained, and which specific items the Association and the owners are responsible for. It’s a good idea to ask the sales person in any community you are considering for a copy of the governing documents so you can review them for yourself.
 

4 Key Elements 

 
Maintenance
Maintenance requirements outline day-to-day upkeep and list all the items the Association covers versus those tasked to the homeowner. Areas of maintenance will vary depending on what type of home you are buying and the vision of the community developer.
 
Insurance
Both the Association and homeowners are responsible to carry certain insurances. (Understanding your personal responsibilities is imperative – especially in townhome and condominium communities.) This section will outline the insurance specifics of your chosen community and the type of insurance you need.
Note: Insurance for townhomes and condominiums is different than for single family homes. If you buy one in an Association you may actually need less insurance than you think because of what’s covered by the HOA. This can save a little on those monthly payments! For specifics, check with the HOA that manages the community as well as with your personal insurance agent before you buy.
 
Rules & Regulations
Association “rules” for resident behavior is usually one of the most attractive aspects of living in a managed community. (Polices around pets, having lawns mowed, houses painted and keeping trash/recycle cans out of sight on non-collection days are great examples.) The rules & regulations section covers every-day expectations that help make communities more comfortable.
 
Assessments
Living in a “dream community” requires ongoing upkeep, which unfortunately is not free. HOAs charge every homeowner a monthly fee or “assessment” to cover those expenses. But rest assured that assessments are not just piling up in the HOA’s bank account! Associations operate zero-based budgets, so they only collect what they actually need for common area maintenance and upkeep. You’ll find information on rates for current monthly assessments in the governing documents. You should also ask the HOA or community sales person for the most recent budget to get an idea of what’s included.

This is the first in a full series of posts on understanding the benefits of Home Owners Associations. Stay tuned for more specific details and examples of statements from actual governing documents about assessments, insurance, maintenance and regulations.

 
Daybreak’s Community Association makes all its information (governing documents, meeting minutes, financials, etc.) available to the public. To review what we offer our residents, check out the Associations’ website, LiveDAYBREAK.com.