As I sit here writing this post I'm still having a hard time fathoming the extent of government reach into our everyday lives and livelihood. Noone doubts this virus exists and can be quite
Home Owner Associations In The Poconos What You Need To Know
Dated: March 8 2020
Buying a home in the Poconos can lead to many years of great memories for you and your family. It can also seem a bit confusing for first time Pocono home buyers if you are not fully familiar with the vast area that is the Poconos. I've previously blogged about the different areas, and some highlighted communities but today I'd like to demystify the Home Owners Association, or HOA.
What is a Pocono "Community?"
You may be familiar with "neighborhoods" these are areas in specific towns that are geographically close to one another, usually consisting of several streets in a given town with some blurred boundary lines. In the city of Manhattan for example, there is the Theater district, Chinatown, and the Garment District. In Philadelphia, there is Center City, South Philly, and Kensington. You can think of each Community in the Poconos like a neighborhood, with some important differences.
Communities are planned developments of land, homes, community buildings, and amenities.
Communities are private.
Communities have strict geographical boundary lines.
Community amenities (lakes, pools, clubhouses) have restricted use, They are not open to the public (in most cases.)
Communities are managed by a Home Owner Association or HOA.
What is a Home Owner Association?
HOA's are the managing body for a designated Community. Many times a management team will be hired to oversee the administration of the community. The HOA will also have a board of members elected from the community. The purpose is to oversee all of the activities inside the community, to manage the communities financials, upkeep the amenities, roads, community buildings and spaces and ensure security. Each HOA will have its own Rules and Regulations developed to keep the community cohesive, clean, and safe. They differ in every community. When you buy a home in a private community, you will most likely have to join the HOA, and agree to uphold the Rules and Regulations.
Things you should know about joining a HOA
Home Owners Associations charge dues. In order to maintain the governance, and all the things that the community provides to it's members, each homeowner/landowner is charged a yearly or quarterly fee. These fees vary greatly from one community to another. Some communities annual HOA fee may be $100, while others may be $13,000 per year. When considering a home in the Poconos, always ask your Realtor what the HOA fees are for the community you are looking into.
Amenities are not the same in every community. Just like the fees are not the same, the amenities are never the same in two communities either. Amenities may include Lakes, Pools, Clubhouses, Tennis, Golf, Skiing, fitness centers, childrens clubs, and just about anything else you can think of. Each community can offer all, some, or none. If it's important for you to be able to fish, swim in a pool, or have a fitness center, you'll want to check the communities amenities.
Additional HOA Perks. Some HOA's will provide additional services to their members including garbage pick up, 24 hour security, and exterior home maintenance. However, none of these extra's are a given in any community. Check with your Realtor on the services each community provides it's members.
Capital Fees- Many but not all communities have a one time fee for Capital Investment. This money is typically charged a new homeowner during the closing process. Many times, it is the equivalent cost of one year of HOA fees. Your Realtor should include this fee in an estimate of costs to you before you sign your contract to purchase a home.
Covenants, Rules and Regulations. Each HOA will operate under and expect its members to adhere to, community Covenants, Rules and Regulations. By law in Pennsylvania, you must be provided with these several days prior to closing on a home so you have time to review them. If you don't agree to them, you are able to cancel your contract. A word of advice, ask your Realtor to provide the Rules and Reg's before you get a week out from closing on your home! It will save you much time and possible aggravation to review the rules before you've ordered the moving truck.
So how do you use this information in your home search?
Knowing your financial limit on HOA fees to start. If you are getting a mortgage, the HOA fees will effect your purchase price approval. Make sure to work with a local lender that is familiar with the Pocono area so they factor in the HOA fees in your monthly expenses, and get you an honest pre-approval. The last thing you want to do is over extend yourself, or have your loan denied because the HOA fees were not calculated.
Discuss your goals with your Realtor. Ask her to send you listings that meet your criteria. For example, "No HOA fees over $3,000, community must have a pool, and a lake for swimming and fishing" etc. This way, you're not searching through Zillow at homes that don't meet your criteria. (For the record, Zillow often publishes the wrong HOA info)
Found a house you like, with the amenities and HOA fees that fit your goals? Get the Rules and Regs for the commuinity. Look them over well before you hire the moving truck.
Good luck in your home search! I hope this blog has helped you in at least some way find your perfect Pocono home. Of course, I would love to be the one helping you find your perfect home. Please feel free to contact me at any time, even if it's just to answer a question. I'd be happy to help.
HAPPY HOME SEARCH!
Hello! My name is Tami Almquist. I've lived in the Pocono Mountains since 1984, after moving with my family from New Jersey to Paradise Valley while still in grammar school. I obtained my Bachelors of....
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