The average HOA fee for a home in Portland, just outside Vancouver, Washington, was $384 a month in 2020. HOA fees are associated with luxury living in the suburbs, but they are becoming increasingly popular among any community in a desirable area.
Even if you decide to live closer to the city or downsize once your kids have grown up and left home, you may still face HOA fees. So, we created this guide to help you acclimate to the costs associated with joining an HOA community.
What is an HOA?
HOA stands for homeowner's association. These nonprofit organizations manage the common area of a residential neighborhood.
A home owner pays a monthly fee to live in an HOA community. HOA costs cover the costs of maintaining common areas like parks, pools, roads, sidewalks, landscaping, trash removal, and security patrols.
How to Find Out if Your Home Has an HOA
One of the first questions you should ask when buying a house is whether or not the neighborhood has an HOA. Sometimes, you'll find that information in the real estate listing. But, you can also speak to the seller's real estate agent or the seller to find out.
If you're still having trouble determining whether the home has an HOA, the most reliable way to know is to check the county property records. But, being unable to find HOA information anywhere else is rare.
What are HOA Fees?
Homeowner's associations exist to maintain a certain standard of living within the neighborhood they control. The number of amenities an HOA provides can change the amount of HOA dues you owe each month. Neighborhoods with a higher standard of living and more amenities cost more to maintain.
HOAs calculate your monthly fees based on the square footage of your home. People with larger homes pay more for community upkeep than those with smaller homes.
How Do I know What my HOA Costs Are?
This is a question you can ask either your real estate agent or the seller's real estate agent. They should be able to provide you with accurate HOA fee information. If they cannot, you can request the contact information of your HOA board members or HOA management company.
What if The Fees are Too High?
Then you don't have to buy it! You can move on and find another house with lower to no HOA fees.
But if you're really set on the home, there are some actions that you can take on your own to lower those future costs. Becoming a member of your local HOA and finding ways to cut costs is one of them.
Can I Opt Out of my HOA?
Some people may be surprised that they cannot opt out of their HOA when they purchase a home. But HOAs govern the neighborhood and all houses in it, sometimes even holding a lien against homes with outstanding balances.
HOAs also require a certain percentage of owners to be actively involved for an HOA agreement to exist. So, even though a few people don't like the HOA, most homeowners in the neighborhood do and the majority wins.
You can, however, try to convince your neighbors to dissolve your HOA. But it's a hard sell since so many people desire that standard of living.
HOA Management in Vancouver, Washington
When buying a home in Vancouver, WA, you should understand how much the monthly HOA fees will be before making an offer. If you're having trouble getting that exact figure, your HOA may be in serious need of some management. That's where Invest West Management can help.
For over 40 years, we've provided the Vancouver Washington area with top-of-the-line HOA and community management services. Put your community in the hands of experts today. Contact us today and learn more about how Invest West Management can help your neighborhood.