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)

HOA Satisfaction Survey

At Community Management Group, we’re not proud of the national statistics of owner satisfaction and work hard every day to ensure that you are satisfied that your HOA is achieving its goal of enhancing your property values and living experience.  The article and research below was sponsored by the Foundation for Community Association Research, a non-profit organization created in 1975 by Community Associations Institute (CAI)

Americans who live in community associations are overwhelmingly pleased with their communities, expressing strong satisfaction with the board members who govern their associations and the community managers who provide professional support.

More than seven in 10 community association residents expressed satisfaction with their community experience, according to a survey conducted by Zogby International, a leading public opinion research firm. Almost 40 percent of community association residents say they are “very pleased,” with only 10 percent expressing some level of dissatisfaction. Almost 20 percent express neither point of view.

An estimated 54 million Americans live in some 274,000 homeowner associations, condominium communities, cooperatives and other planned developments.

Here’s what community association residents say:
88 percent believe their governing boards strive to serve the best interests of the community.
90 percent say they are on friendly terms with their association board members, with just 4 percent indicating a negative relationship.
86 percent say they get along well with their immediate neighbors, with just 5 percent reporting a negative relationship. Of those who reported issues with neighbors, the most common problems were pets, general lifestyle, noise, and parking.
78 percent believe community association rules “protect and enhance” property values, while only one in 100 say rules harm property values. About 20 percent see no difference.
88 percent of residents who have interacted with professional community managers say the experience has been positive.

Based on telephone interviews conducted in August 2005, the survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. A summary of the results is posted at www.caionline.org/about/survey.cfm

Architectural Review Processes

An interesting article in the Goose Creek paper.

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