Belonging to a neighborhood with an HOA can be both a blessing and a curse. This rings especially true for new homeowners who've never dealt with an HOA before.
On one hand, you enjoy the privilege of having a picturesque neighborhood and enjoy a more peaceful lifestyle (think: lack of noise interruptions due to regulations). On the flip side, you’re expected to keep up your home in accordance to any and every HOA policy or face a penalty.
Now, most HOA policies are reasonable and are for the most part logical. Obviously you shouldn’t let your pets roam wildly around the neighborhood or park your car in the middle of your lawn. That being said, sometimes lacking the freedom to landscape on your own terms can be frustrating.
Perhaps the most prudent advice for new homeowners is to do what they can to stay out of trouble from an HOA and simply adhere to their policies within reason. The following tips will make sure that your HOA stays out of your hair and you can enjoy your journey as a homeowner in peace.
Take Care of Your Lawn
Yard upkeep is absolutely essential to keeping your HOA and neighbors happy. After all, there’s nothing that signals a problem in the eyes of passers-by than a totally unkempt lawn. Between picking up weeds and regular mowing, maintenance is an absolute must and not something you should let fall to the wayside.
Taking proper care of your lawn doesn’t have to be rocket science. Simply adhere to the following and chances are you’ll be golden:
· Make sure you purchase high-quality lawn maintenance equipment so you don’t needlessly have to spend longer on mowing than necessary
· Establish a regular maintenance routine by blocking an hour or so per week to mow your lawn
· Bear in mind that you don’t have to do everything at once: rather than spending an entire Saturday performing lawn maintenance, consider taking a few minutes a day picking up weeds or doing smaller tasks to keep your lawn looking fresh
Be Smart With Your Storage
Another way to get in trouble with your HOA is by storing junk on the exterior of your home. For starters, you may want to consider decluttering your home as means of getting rid of such waste in the first place. You can always rely on smart storage solutions such as a shed or your garage to avoid exterior complaints.
When in Doubt, Ask Questions
If you’re interested in an involved home improvement project such as installing a new fence, don’t assume it’s alright to move forward until explicitly speaking to your HOA. This will put you in their good graces by seemingly like a concerned member of the neighborhood; likewise, you’ll avoid any potential fines and wasted money by pursuing projects you’re not allowed to undertake.
Pay Your Dues on Time
Finally, you can keep a low profile by simply paying your dues on time and maintaining a positive attitude each and every time you speak with your HOA. Chances are they already get their share of complainers and offenders: do everything in your power to keep yourself on their “nice” list.
Having an HOA isn’t all gloom and doom; however, you should strive to maintain the exterior of your home to keep them out of your hair. At the end of the day, all you really need to do is take care of your house and keep the lines of communication open to avoid any problems down the road.