FAQ - HOA Rules - What do I need to Know as a Buyer?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 DRE# ER40011786

FAQ - HOA Rules - What do I need to Know as a Buyer?


Rules & RegulationsWhen buying a property located within a Homeowners Association, there are rules you have to adhere to.  Most homeowners associations for a detached housing community are similar.

  • fencing has to the the same height & material throughout the community     (if they fencing is only 4' - no privacy fences allowed)
  • exterior paint colors must be approved by the HOA architectural committee
  • sheds must be approved by the HOA architectural committee
  •  some landscaping needs to be approved (some have rules about percentage of grass
  •  may not be able to change your oil in the driveway
  •  may not be able to park a work vehicle with the name of your company on it


Condo living


When buying into a property that is multi-family (condo or townhome) there are a few other items you need to think about -

  •  anything that is done to the exterior of your unit that can be seen from the street needs to be approved by the HOA architectural committee (windows, security door, paint)
  •  parking restrictions
  •  pet restrictions (not only through the HOA, but the City restrictions)
  •  rental restrictions
  •  garage (assigned or deeded)


Each community will have their own rules and regulations, and a good idea to do some homework ahead of time if you have a large dog, a work panel van or would like to rent out the unit down the road.


Posted by

Joan Cox
Broker/Owner, REALTOR®
House to Home, Inc.

Serving the Denver Metro area including all suburbs

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Comments (36)

Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Joan, I have many buyers that tell me they don't want ot be in a HOA community. Then I dig deeper and find out they only have an issue with a couple of restrictions. Not all HOAs are alike and that should be checked first before writing the contract.

Mar 05, 2014 01:10 AM
John Marshall - FORE!
LoKation Real Estate - Cherry Hills Village, CO
Specializing in Golf Course Properties

Joan - this is a very good reminder for agents to explain the rules to their buyers in these covenant controlled communities to make sure they are a fit for each other.

Mar 05, 2014 01:22 AM
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Joan-Some can and will do the right thing without formal rules and guidelines, but others will not. Some HOAs are great and have effective elected officials and others are run by power mad dictators. Either way, they are here to stay.

Mar 05, 2014 01:27 AM
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

It is always a good ideal to read everything talk to those that are living in the subdivision get their  take on it.

Mar 05, 2014 01:31 AM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Joan:  Knowing and passing on the info regarding rules is a fairly easy thing accomplished.  But from a financing and economic viewpoint, Buyers need to know any costs associated with their HOAs ... and the health of the Association, as well.  That is definitely growing in importance prior to Closing ... and certainly for any future re-sales of the property ...


Mar 05, 2014 04:50 AM
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

There are lots of rules with HOAs and as you say, each is unique.  We have a person locally who will review and summarize an entire HOA rules package into a nice, compact form for only about $200.  Well worth it considering what's at stake.

Mar 05, 2014 05:28 AM
Anita Clark
Coldwell Banker Access Realty ~ 478.960.8055 - Warner Robins, GA
Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA

Joan: Excellent advice for buyers to do their homework upfront if the community has an established HOA...it could save a lot of headaches and $$$ down the road.

Mar 05, 2014 05:44 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Joan, Buyers need to make sure they read the condo doc's and HOA guideline carefully or they could be in for some unpleasant surprises.

Mar 05, 2014 08:24 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

We are required in our contracts to produce HOA materials to the buyer. Normally our title companies do this. The next trick is getting a prospective buyer to read it.

Mar 05, 2014 08:59 AM
Stefan Winter
Real Estate in IL & NV | Owner of Real Estate Web Tech | Daily Vlogger - Las Vegas, NV
Owner - Winter Group & Real Estate Web Tech

Out here in Ohio there are very few HOA's however in Vegas almost every neighborhood was part of one. I always stressed for clients to review the HOA docs in detail. It may take time, but it's worth it for the heacaches it can save your clients later.

Mar 05, 2014 10:12 AM
Michelle Gibson
Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. - Wellington, FL

Joan - This is such a great explanation of what home buyers can expect if they decide to purchase a home with a HOA.

Mar 05, 2014 10:31 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Most of the rules adopted by the HOA or Builder are for the protection of property values and stability of the subdivision.  I think it is a good thing.

Mar 05, 2014 10:36 AM
Jack O'Neal
HomeSmart Elite Group - Gilbert, AZ
I also agree, most of the rules used are to protect the homeowners and homes so they're good to have.
Mar 05, 2014 11:33 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

It is very important for homebuyers to thoroughly read the CC&Rs of any association they are considering buying into.  The rules and restrictions can vary greatly among them.  The other thing to check for is any litigation or lawsuits the association is enduring.

Mar 05, 2014 12:22 PM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Joan -- There are a lot of reasons to purchase a condo, however, buyres should be sure that their expectations are in alighment with the rules and regulations of the condo association.

Mar 05, 2014 12:31 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
This is a little bit to take . I might have to come back to this. Thanks.
Mar 05, 2014 02:03 PM
Brandon Vukelich
BV Real Estate - Auburn, WA
Exceptional Service. Stellar Results.

Yes, good post.  I always highly encourage my clients to thoroughly review the rules and regs of the HOA as we've seen some pretty crazy restrictions.  I give them a review as well but want to be sure the clients know it is up to them and ask if any questions whatsoever.

Mar 06, 2014 03:57 AM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

You would be surprised how many people buy into a neighborhood and have no idea there is an HOA, much less what the Covenants contain. Thank you for helping to bring this information to the forefront.

Mar 06, 2014 05:23 AM
Barbara Altieri
Better Homes and Gardens RE Shore and Country Properties - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Joan -- Your last sentence is the best advice. Be aware of the rules and regulations sooner rather than later ..... and especially where pets are concerned. Sure, you might be able to have a dog but there could be a size and even breed restriction. 

Mar 06, 2014 09:37 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

My main rule for HOA's, Never buy anything that is restricted by one!

Mar 07, 2014 10:33 AM