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Buying Real Estate? How do Homeowner Associations Work?

Investing in Real Estate is one of the biggest decisions you'll ever make. You've probably heard that before and a little research will show you right away there are many different avenues to look at. For a growing number of people, the maintenance free lifestyle of a home governed by the rules set out by a homeowner association (HOA) is the right choice.

What is an HOA: Usually a not-for-profit organization established by a community that governs rules regarding what can and cannot occur in homes, and also determines the rules and regulations on said property. Many condominium are part of such an association. As well, many new developments of single-family homes establish one to protect the rights of all in the community.

Whether you're looking for a home in Augusta Maine, or other areas within Central Maine, understanding these associations will help you determine if they are right for your needs and wants.

  • Uniformity. There are high standards set by HOAs for the appearance of the neighborhood in general and the individual units. After you pay the closing costs and move in, it's unlikely you'll see unkept lawns and houses with peeling paint.
  • Low Maintenance. Seasonal aspects like snow removal and lawn cutting are generally looked after by these HOAs and siding and roofs are often fixed by the money you pay.
  • Best Interest in Mind. With a collective input from members of the HOA, the rules and regulations, as well as the fee amounts, are made with the best interest of the owners in mind.
  • Repairs. Another responsibility that an HOA covers is general building maintenance. Tasks include making sure the building's exterior is intact and repairing any damage caused by weather or natural disaster. HOAs also are responsible for pest controling the building, like preventing termites, and typically have an insurance policy to cover the building's exterior.

When purchasing a condo or townhouse, or home within an HOA neighborhood, be sure to know and understand the rules, and what your fees will cover. HOAs are great for those that are looking to live in a "worry free" environment.

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