Home owners associations are common in neighborhoods in and around Austin. Some are voluntary like in Travis Heights, for example. Most are mandatory, which means that if you choose to own real estate within the boundaries of the Association – membership is mandatory. Home owners associations often provide additional restrictions above and beyond what the City imposes.
Rules and by-laws are defined and outlined for each home owners association and can include anything from buildings restrictions, pet limitations and quiet hours. H.O.A.s impose fee’s to manage common charges and services impacted by the community. Mandatory home owners associations are typically created at the time the subdivision is created whether it is a neighborhood of houses or a condominium community.
H.O.A.s are a legal and financial entity designed to fund and manage common services and areas. Gated entrances, pools, fitness centers and playgrounds are all examples of common areas. Common services can include water, cable, trash and even gas. What services are included typically depends on how the subdivision was initially designed. Home owners associations can be powerful; they will impose fines and can even place liens on a property if fees are not paid or rules are not complied with.
Home owners associations often manage community activities as well, which provides an environment to socialize with neighbors within the community.
Austin HOA Rules and Restrictions
Whether or not a home owners association will work for a buyer will depend on many factors. If you are looking to build and want the freedom to choose any material you want or size of home, a neighborhood with a home owners association may not work for you. Having horses or parking an RV or boat next to a house – may not be allowed. You may be limited to the kinds of fences you can have. Dog breeds that are typically labeled as ‘aggressive’ are often not allowed as well.
Some people like limitations and rules within a community. Members of an association often like the structure within the community and welcome the limitations. Some people like a common aesthetic theme limited building materials bring. They also like the sense of community and small town feeling common amenities often provide.
Home owners associations can include many amenities, rules and by-laws or very few. H.O.A.s vary greatly in terms of when fees are due. Some are monthly; others are quarterly or even paid annually. Frequency is often determined by the size and scope of the association.
Unless I have a buyer who truly doesn’t like the idea of a home owners association, I often suggest clients be open to the idea. You can often tell just by driving through a neighborhood if it is heavily restricted or looks fairly laid back. With so many of them in the greater Austin area, it is hard for prospective buyer to completely rule them out.