Should You Join Your HOA?

by Rose Wolkins 11/01/2020

Photo by RawPixel.com via Shutterstock

When it comes to homeowner’s associations, you need to know what type yours is before you determine whether to “join” it. There are two types of associations, covenant-based and voluntary. When homeowners ask about requirements to join a homeowner’s association, they may believe it is optional, but if our association is covenant-based, you have automatic membership by virtue of being a property owner.

Here’s How They Work

A voluntary association is a group of property owners that collectively decide how to improve their neighborhood. By the time you move into the neighborhood, the HOA may be well-established, so you’re not aware of how it started. Such HOAs are more similar to neighborhood improvement clubs, local sports team sponsors and other folks that join in order to develop a sense of community.

A covenant-based HOA is a contract that is part of the land purchase agreement within a development. That means that all property owners automatically must retain membership and that agreement is binding on all future owners within the specified development.

Future Owners

You might question how a contract is binding on future owners, but in the case of a covenant-based homeowner’s association, the covenant “runs with” the property as recorded in the county land records office. The document that spells out the covenants attaches to the property deed. When you buy a lot or home in the development, the original deed and any liens or covenants that attach to it become your responsibility.

Often, the original developer set up and controlled the association until the last piece of land sold or a sufficient number of homes sold so that the running of the association could transfer to the owners. Typically, these determinations are part of the original covenant documents filed with the county records. HOAs run by a board of elected owners from within the development. Unlike a voluntary association, renters or leaseholders cannot become members even though they are bound by the rules and conditions of the association.

Know Which Type It Is

Before you choose to purchase a home in a neighborhood with an association, learn whether it is voluntary or covenant-based. Ask to see copies of the covenants, conditions and rules (CC&Rs) before you commit to purchasing in that development. Your real estate agent can write a contingency into your purchase contract to require approval of the CC&Rs if you’re concerned about living within the HOA.

About the Author
Author

Rose Wolkins

REALTOR® Rose Wolkins has been building a long list of satisfied San Diego home buyers and sellers since she began her real estate career in 1988.

Her motto “Building lifelong relationships one home at a time” exemplifies both her attitude and the care and commitment with which she serves each client. It all begins with communication – in listening well, being readily available to answer questions, and keeping clients fully informed throughout their transactions. She’s also known for staying one step ahead of things, so she can keep transactions on track and address issues before they become problems.

Always striving to do the best for her clients, Rose stays current with changes in laws and technology through taking numerous classes throughout the year. She also stays current with the ever-changing San Diego housing market.

While she thoroughly enjoys using her advertising, photography, staging, marketing, and negotiating skills to successfully sell her listings, her favorite part of the business is handing overjoyed buyers the keys to their new home. She loves sharing the joy.

In addition to supporting her clients, Rose supports the real estate industry and was voted chairperson for the North County Real Estate District Coordinating Committee several years in a row. Voted a 5 Star Top Real Estate Agent for the past several years and now again in 2020, she’s also a member of the Women’s Council of Realtors.

In her free time, Rose enjoys reading, gardening, exercising, using her considerable photography skills, and spending quality time with friends and family. When you’re looking for a San Diego agent who knows the territory well and who will dedicate herself to turning your real estate goals in to reality, take this advice from her past clients: “Call Rose Wolkins.”