Here’s some important do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when working with Maine homeowners associations:
Do decide if a homeowners association is for you.
Many places in Maine, such as waterfront properties or wooded areas, are not bound to a particular homeowners association. However, denser neighborhoods in cities like Augusta or Portland host many of them. Because of this, many homeowners might not be familiar with the rules of Maine homeowners associations.
Like in other states, these organizations can have quite a bit of control over the customization of your home’s appearance. If you are the kind of person who doesn’t want to ask permission before painting your home or building a shed, then you need to carefully consider your other options.
Don’t forget to ask about fees.
Like most other organizations, Maine homeowners associations require membership fees. Before you purchase a home governed by one, you need to make sure you know the answers to the following questions:
- What are the fees per household?
- Do they annually increase? If so, by how much?
- What neighborhood services do they cover?
- How much money does the association have in savings?
Knowing these answers well before your closing date will ensure a lot less surprises down the line.
Do get to know the board.
Although it is often not the case, sometimes homeowners associations have a reputation for power trips and petty politics. To avoid potential sticky situations, make sure that you are friendly and invest time in your new community.
We encourage you to meet the association’s president to see if their personality and rational is agreeable to yours, as well as other current owners who have experience working with this person. You can also always ask to see old homeowners association meeting minutes to get an idea of how the organization has been run in the past.
Don’t neglect its requests.
As we mentioned, if you lived in a community managed by a homeowners association, you need to take it seriously. While you might appreciate it for preventing your neighbor from painting her house neon green and taking care of trash collection, you might be frustrated if you receive a citation for leaving your trash cans out overnight. In Maine, homeowners associations have the legal right to take action against you, including issuing fines or even placing a lien on your home -- so you’ll want to make sure you put those pesky trashcans away.
As always, if you need help finding a home with or without a Maine homeowners association, please contact us.