We know. We know. All you have to do is HEAR the phrase ‘Homeowners Association’, and the reaction is usually the same. Groan. Boo! Hiss. Living in a homeowners association can be wonderful with all its amenities and close-knit community.
If you’re slightly less dramatic, the idea of a board association comprised of your fellow neighbors determining rules as to how high your lawn or how many inches apart the address numbers on a house should be at least inspires a slight eye roll or five.
But did you know that you can enjoy a pleasant lifestyle and still reside in an HOA community? 70% of Americans living in some kind of an association rate their overall experience as very good or good.
Read on to find out how.
Get to Know the People Behind the Rules
If you live in an HOA community and are having a hard time liking it, it’s understandable. At first glance, homeowners associations rules seem like a long list of impossible dos and don’ts. However, that is not the case.
The people behind the rules are usually your fellow neighbors. With 73.9 million Americans now living in a community with a homeowners association or condo board, it is becoming more and more common that Joe next door may be the next HOA president.
Those on the board have been living in the homeowners association community and usually want to form a safe, clean, and well-arranged neighborhood. And not only that, they face a lot of the same neighborhood issues that you do.
So get to know your neighbors. Be friendly, and get involved in community activities. Once you have an established rapport with the neighborhood gang, when minor issues arise, a bridge of communication has already been formed. Problems are easier to hammer out and differences mended before you even have to go to the HOA to resolve an issue.
Not only that, try — and work with us on this one — attending a board meeting or two. You will be able to find out what the local issues are, and have a say in what rules get passed (or don’t). Knowing what ideas the board association has floating around lends a hand to mutual understanding and even a more willing and compliant attitude with some of those pickier rules.
Get to Know the Rules & Bylaws
This step is even more preferable to follow BEFORE you move into the community but is necessary once you move in.
After all, “knowledge is power”, right? This really is the course of logic. If you are familiar with what is expected of each household in the association, you are less likely to anger fellow residents by sidestepping a rule by mistake or ignoring a familiar mandate.
Granted, it may not be your exact cup of tea to paint your front door the same color as the rest of your neighbors. But an HOA helps provide standards to live by so that the neighborhood is maintained as a delightful place to live in for all.
And obeying the rules can have its upside too. For example, when an HOA limits the number the cars parked in our driveways, that means you won’t get that neighbor with piles of junk cars infringing on your property and leaking oil all over the place.
When there is a set rule of no running around the pool deck (which, c’mon, common sense should rule supreme on this one), this allows for a more enjoyable time relaxing in the water on a sunny day without worrying if someone is going to slip and hurt themselves.
In other words, rules are usually set for a reason. And if the rule still seems a bit extreme, being active in the community gives you a window to discuss a variance with the neighbors to try and set it right.
Learn How to Be an Effective Communicator
This seems to be another “duh, no brainer” moment, but oftentimes the reason that people are leary of HOAs is because of the arguments that break out, most of the time at community meetings. So how do you navigate that?
As was previously mentioned, becoming friends with your neighbors and getting involved in the community is a crucial step. But sometimes you have to go a step further by learning how to diffuse a difficult situation.
Learn how to listen to others, without interrupting. When it is your turn to speak, use a calm, even voice. Instead of using accusatory phrases such as “they always” or “they never”. Try to voice certain neighborhood complaints by stating something along the lines of, “This situation makes me feel upset because…”
And when it seems inevitable that a neighbor is not going to be appeased. Take your leave before the disagreement turns ugly.
Enjoy the Benefits of a Homeowners Association
Benefits? Did we say benefits?
Yes, and there are many! Consider some of the amenities that come with living in a community governed by an HOA. A well-maintained and clean pool beckoning for an afternoon of enjoyment in the hot summer sun. Clean sidewalks lined by manicured grass, free for the daily walk or jog. Well-lit tennis courts and facilities to enjoy a good match with neighbors. And the benefit of knowing that should anyone shady try to enter your neighborhood, they will just as surely be leaving.
If you take the time to appreciate the security and amenities that an HOA brings to the table, you will find how much more enjoyable life in your community can be.
Living Life to the Fullest With Your HOA
In reality, there are a lot of reasons that we can have a successful life with a Homeowners Association. Try a few of these suggestions out and you may see a drastic perspective change — from groaning to grinning.
Want to learn more about living in an HOA? Contact us today and see how we can help you!