Ever wondered why you have a Homeowners Association? Your Association may be your best tool to protect the value of your home and the quality of your neighborhood. Community Associations do any number of different things, such as setting and collecting the maintenance fees required and needed to run an Association, maintaining landscaping or recreation centers, and providing for events or meeting places for neighborhood functions. One of the most important functions of an Association is to enforce deed restrictions and protect the value of the community assets – among those being your home. If deed restriction violations are not corrected, there can be very negative results over time. Estimates are that property values in a subdivision with an inactive Association can fall as much as twenty percent due to failure to enforce restrictions. The Association, acting through its Board of Directors, can control the appearance of the neighborhood by taking deed restrictions seriously and by vigorously enforcing infractions of those restrictions. Deed restrictions are legally binding covenants, filed with real property records, which provide for building, maintaining, and using the homes in your neighborhood. The deed restrictions control how homes look and what can be done to alter them within the subdivision.

Why do so many homeowners buy their home in a community Association? Purchasers make a decision to buy into a lifestyle and surroundings which include many things outside the home itself, encompassing everything from the subdivision entries, the recreation/amenity center, to the general condition of all the other homes in the neighborhood. They purchased with an expectation that their property and those in their community would be protected by deed restrictions and maintained to a certain reasonable standard.

What does it take to keep a neighborhood attractive and nice? The crucial factor is the willingness of the men and women who make up the Association’s Board of directors to enforce the rules that have been created. What could happen if the restrictions are not enforced? An average size community with 100 or more members will invite varying degrees of what constitutes an acceptable standard of differing views of what is attractive and, without certain deed restrictions, there is a good chance of the neighborhood looking dramatically different over time from the way it did when you first bought your home.

What about commercial use of homeowner property within an Association? Again, it would be surprising to note how many different viewpoints are out there. How would you feel about the owner of a portable toilet company keeping its toilets in the side yard between your yard and his, and cleaning them on the driveway next door? Or what about a semi tractor-trailer truck parked right across the street? Or people in every other business under the sun operating out of their homes? It all happens and the only way to preserve the lifestyle you thought you were buying into is to enforce the deed restrictions of the homeowner Association.

Without these restrictions, some people would leave garbage in their yards permanently, never maintain their homes, park their cars and boats on the grass in their front yards, park motor homes in the street for years, leave construction unfinished, and make every kind of bizarre, structurally unsound remodeling project you can imagine. These are very real examples of problems we have seen in many local subdivisions in recent years.

So, what is the value of your homeowner Association? If you consider the amount of assessments you are paying annually and compare that to any drop in value of your property, wouldn’t you agree that the value you are receiving for the payment you are making is worth it?

(Edited from an article in Association Times)

National Survey Finds Homeowners are Happy with Their HOAs as FirstService Residential Reaches 8,000 Managed Properties

Community Associations Institute survey results give insight into what’s driving growth and a more than 90 percent property retention rate at top property management company

Residents of managed communities are happy with their condominium and homeowner associations (HOA) according to the results of the Community Associations Institute’s (CAI) annual homeowner satisfaction survey. Notably, 85 percent of those polled for the 2018 national survey were satisfied with their experience living in a homeowner association. Homebuyers also seem to be seeking out HOA communities. A third of respondents indicated knowing the home they wanted was in a managed community made the property a more desirable purchase.

Conducted biannually since 2005, the CAI survey has consistently shown Americans living in condominium and HOAs are very pleased with their communities. This satisfaction has come amidst a significant period of growth for HOA communities, and the leading property management companies, like FirstService Residential, that manage them. CAI estimates there are now more than 342,000 community associations in North America, representing an almost 15 percent increase over the last decade.

“When FirstService Residential manages a community, we strive to add value and make a difference every day for each resident we serve. It’s gratifying to see that as an industry we’re delivering a positive living experience,” said FirstService Residential CEO Chuck Fallon. “We’re also encouraged to see that CAI’s survey found more than 70 percent of homeowners believe community managers provide a service that enhances their properties.”

The results of CAI’s research also mirror the growth and overall satisfaction of the communities in FirstService Residential’s portfolio of managed properties. The company has had two decades of consistent growth, and currently manages 1.6 million units in more than 8,000 communities across North America. Moreover, by capitalizing on its scale, resources and service excellence culture, FirstService Residential has consistently retained well over 90 percent of its communities.

“Our body of research from thirteen years of studying homeowners’ satisfaction with their community association, along with the incredible growth and retention rates of industry leaders like FirstService Residential, challenges the sometimes negative narrative surrounding HOAs and condominiums,” remarked Thomas M. Skiba, CAE, CAI’s chief executive officer. “Instead, it reveals the reality that homeowners remain pleased with the lifestyle and overall value community associations, and their managers, continue to deliver.”

Learn more about FirstService Residential and its industry-leading customer service.

Learn more about the CAI survey and review this year’s results!

An interesting article in the Goose Creek paper.

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