When searching for an Irvine home, you may end up selecting a property in a community with a Homeowners Association, (HOA), in fact in many communities, there are TWO HOAs.
In Woodbridge for example, there's a Master Association which covers things like the two lakes, the tennis courts, parks and the 22 swimming pools, and for condo communities and some attached SFR communities, there are Sub-Associations, which usually cover the common areas, roofs outside walls, structure insurance, and so on.
There may be additional fees charged to homeowners if the reserve fund for the HOA cannot cover a major or unexpected cost, like severe storm damage. It's important for homeowners to understand that each HOA is a little different, depending on a few factors like the amenities offered. In Irvine's Airport Area, part of the HOA dues covers the cost to maintain elevators, (for high-rise buildings).
Although they are an added cost to the homeowner, an HOA can be a major benefit when it comes to maintaining the value of your neighborhood and your property.
Before you buy, it’s important to know how an HOA works and what they mean for you.
According to a recent article on realtor .com.
“In a nutshell, an HOA helps ensure that your community looks its best and functions smoothly…The number of Americans living in homes with HOAs is on the rise, growing from a mere 1% in 1970 to 25% today, according to the Foundation for Community Association Research.”
An HOA is governed by a board nominated by those living in the neighborhood. It is designed to make sure the residents have a support structure to maintain the value of the community while abiding by a set of guidelines called Common Restrictive Covenants (CC&R),
“Simply put, CC&Rs are just the rules you'll have to follow if you live in that community. Unlike zoning regulations, which are government-imposed requirements on how land can be used, restrictive covenants are established by HOAs to maintain the attractiveness and value of the property.”
The same article continues to say,
“After your offer to buy a home is accepted, you are legally entitled to receive and review the community's CC&Rs over a certain number of days (typically between three and 10)…If you spot anything in the restrictive covenants you absolutely can't live with, you can bring it up with the HOA board or just back out of your contract completely (and keep your deposit).”
Most lenders will factor your HOA fees into your loan package, ensuring the amount of the loan is appropriate for what you can truly afford.
There are some great benefits to having an HOA oversee your neighborhood, and it’s important to understand what fees, structures, and regulations will come into play if there is an HOA where you’d like to live.