Home Buying in Portland in an HOA (Homeowners Association)
When most people hear the term 'homeowners association' they may think about a condominium. Homeowners associations are technically a group of homeowners and members of the board that control rules and regulations set forth within a subdivision, community or condominium complex. This group could be residents of the subdivision or complex or they could be made up of a board of members from the property management or whomever owns the homeowners association in general. Typically, there are at least one or two board members in the Association that actually live in the subdivision or complex.
While just about every condominium complex or building has their own Homeowners Association, many developments and subdivisions will have one as well. They will regulate and manage the rules, covenants, restrictions and conditions set forth in the bylaws and make any changes according to the rules each year or quarter depending on how often the Association meets.
It's extremely vital to know about the Association before you purchase a home in that subdivision. You need to know what is allowed and what is restricted. If you have plans to build on your lot or add onto your home you will want to verify that this is allowed from the Association. There are usually noise ordinance rules, pet rules, and even house color rules that you need to take into account.
Just as with a condominium complex, you will receive the packet that has all the CC&Rs of the Association listed (covenants, conditions and restrictions). You will need to go over all of this before you finalize the purchase and sale contract on a property. If anything is not what you can agree upon, it's best to find a different home or speak to the Association about how lax they are about bending rules. Many times, a simple request form or exemption is all you need. Other homeowners associations can be extremely strict, consistently sticking to the rules and rarely deviating from them. You can however become a member of the board, therefore having a greater chance of changing roles in the future. But, I would only suggest this if you really love the home and know that you want to live in this particular subdivision.
You might be surprised as to what is required and what is restricted when it comes to managing or maintaining your own property. Even small details such as keeping your grass mowed, flowers trimmed and garbage cans out of sight can meet among some of the most important things to some managers. Most homeowners association will have a property manager that frequently tours the area making sure everyone is up to par and staying within the association rules.
Associations are not put in place to be mean or demanding but they are put in place to maintain a certain decorum and reputation for the community. If you plan on maintaining your home to the best of your ability then an association probably won't be an issue. Make sure you go over all of the covenants and restrictions before you finalize the purchase and sale if you have any specific questions it's advisable to contact the association directly and simply ask. Usually, you can get most of your questions answered over the phone.
Many new Portland developments and subdivisions have their own homeowners Association so make sure you check with your real estate agent about any covenants, conditions and rules set forth in the Association before deciding on a home.