What is an HOA?
It’s important to learn more about the neighborhood HOA, such as annual dues, community amenities, and restrictions when looking to buy a new home. The goal of the HOA is to help maintain home values and the overall aesthetics of a neighborhood.
When looking for a house, many buyers tend to take into account costs associated with owning a home such as insurance, utilities, and taxes. One thing buyers may not think to consider is whether the house is in a neighborhood with an HOA, what the dues are, and how the association is run. Many buyers may be aware of association dues and regulations in multi-family developments such as condos or townhomes. But, it’s becoming a new normal to find HOAs in developments with single-family homes
What is an HOA?
There are different definitions out there for a Homeowners’ Association and many operate differently from one another. A Homeowners’ Association, or HOA, is an association that works to maintain and oversee the common areas of a neighborhood or property complex. It’s fairly common to find them in neighborhoods that offer amenities such as a community pool, gated access, a playground, tennis courts, etc. The HOA is typically a volunteer-based board made up of homeowners living in the neighborhood. Many HOAs have committees that coordinate neighborhood events, review proposed changes homeowners wish to make to their property, enforce the covenants, and more.
Get to Know the Rules
The covenants, conditions, and restrictions are different for every HOA. Some rules commonly seen in HOAs are in regard to the overall appearance and aesthetics of the neighborhood, such as the appearances of houses and lawn maintenance. Some also have restrictions regarding street parking or where residents can park their boats and RVs. Others may deal more with coordinating neighborhood crime watches and events.
When considering a house, it’s a good idea to ask for a copy of the HOA covenants, conditions, and restrictions to get a better idea of what is allowed and not allowed in the neighborhood. It’s becoming more common for HOAs to have a website or social media page, which is a great place to learn more about the community. For example, some mandate there can be no cars parked in the yard of any house in the neighborhood. If a homeowner wants to paint the house a new color, change the landscaping, or add on to the property, the owner has to submit the proposed changes to the HOA for review and approval. The committee will review the proposed changes to ensure they fall in line with the covenants of the neighborhood. While these may seem rather burdensome or trivial, the HOA was designed to help maintain home values and the overall aesthetics of a neighborhood.
How are HOAs Funded?
Many HOAs require annual, quarterly or monthly dues. Those dues will vary based upon the size of the neighborhood and amenities. Dues are used for a number of things including maintenance of common spaces such as neighborhood entrances, playgrounds, pools, etc. In gated neighborhoods, many of the items that would normally be maintained by the city or parish must be maintained by the HOA. These items may include roads, sidewalks, and street lighting to name a few. Some HOAs will hire a property management company to oversee the collection of dues and coordinate maintenance issues.
Another thing to consider is whether the house is located in a new development. There may not be many amenities or common spaces to maintain as the neighborhood is being developed, so dues may be minimal. The developer may cover some of the associated costs while the neighborhood is still being developed. The true cost associated with running the HOA and maintaining the neighborhood may not fully come to light until the neighborhood is near completion and the developer turns the HOA over to the new residential board.
It’s important to pay the dues on time. Depending on the bylaws, late fees and interest could be tacked on to the bill and the HOA could place a lien on the property if the dues are not paid. The HOA could also foreclose on the property for nonpayment of dues.
After the Closing
Contacting the HOA should be a priority on the Post Move-in List as it is important to provide contact information to the HOA. It’s also a great time to get more information regarding upcoming neighborhood events or other ways to get involved. The HOA cannot operate without residents who are willing to give of their time.
It’s also a great idea to attend neighborhood events such as an ice cream social, an Independence Day parade, Halloween trick-or-treating, and a Christmas party. These events can serve as a great way to meet neighbors and build relationships.
It’s important to remember that the volunteers who serve on the HOA are your neighbors and friends. Like you, they want what’s best for the community. Every homeowner benefits from a well-cared for neighborhood.
The Teal Pumpkin Project was inspired by a local awareness activity run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) and launched as a national campaign by FARE in 2014. FARE thanks FACET for their ongoing partnership as we work to reach families across the country and around the world with the Teal Pumpkin Project’s messages of awareness, inclusion and community.
TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT FAQs
What’s the Teal Pumpkin Project®?
The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season. The steps to participate are:
- Provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters.
- Place a teal pumpkin – the color of food allergy awareness –in front of your home to indicate you have non-food treats available.
- Display a free printable sign or premium poster from FARE to explain the meaning of your teal pumpkin.
Why is this important?
Halloween can be a tricky time for families managing food allergies. Many traditional Halloween treats aren’t safe for children with life-threatening food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies. This worldwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option. It keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all!
What do I do if I want to participate?
Participating is simple. Pick up some inexpensive toys, and place a teal pumpkin and/or a free printable sign from FARE outside your home to show that you have non-food treats to hand out. Supporting the Teal Pumpkin Project is a simple gesture that can have a big impact.
Do you want to help spread the Teal Pumpkin Project’s messages of a safer, happier Halloween for all even further? You can support FARE and the Teal Pumpkin Project in a variety of ways:
- Download FARE’s promotional flyer to circulate in your local community so that your neighbors can take part too!
- Host a Teal Pumpkin Project inspired fundraising event to support FARE
- Order an official Teal Pumpkin Project Halloween Essentials Kit that includes a fun selection of non-food treats, a pumpkin stencil, support poster, cool trick-or-treat bag, and more.
- Make a donation and receive a free Teal Pumpkin Project magnet (while supplies last)
- Download free materials and use the hashtag #tealpumpkinproject to help us spread the word.
I don’t have time to paint a pumpkin teal, what do I do?
Simple – you can print out a free sign from our website to post on your door. You can also look for teal pumpkins to purchase online and at local retail shops.
I didn’t know this was a problem. Why is Halloween a challenge for families managing food allergies?
Food allergies are a life-altering and potentially life-threatening disease, and a growing public health issue. In the U.S., one in 13 children has a food allergy – that’s roughly two in every classroom. For these children, even a tiny amount of their allergen has the potential to cause a severe reaction.
Virtually any food can cause a reaction. Many popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat, which are some of the most common allergens in children and adults. Additionally, many miniature or fun-size versions of candy items contain different ingredients than their full-size counterparts and some miniature candy items may not have labels, so it is difficult for parents to determine whether these items are safe for their child with food allergies.
Non-food treats provide a safe, fun alternative for children with food allergies and other conditions for whom candy may present a problem.
What children can benefit from non-food treats?
All kids love non-food treats like glow sticks or small toys. There are children who have various conditions that may preclude them from having candy, or can particularly benefit from non-food treats, including:
- Food allergies
- Food intolerances
- Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)
- Celiac disease
- Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES)
- Children with feeding tubes
- Any child on a special diet
Is this taking away the tradition of collecting candy on Halloween?
The goal is not to exclude candy from the Halloween tradition. The goal is simply to ensure that children with food allergies – and other children for whom candy is not an option – are able to enjoy a safer, happier Halloween. Trick-or-treaters typically receive pounds of candies and chocolates, and we’re sure they will continue to collect plenty of candy. Many kids, whether they have food allergies or not, enjoy the experience of receiving little toys and other fun items that they can keep.
Can I still pass out candy?
Sure – just do it safely! The point of the Teal Pumpkin Project is to make trick-or-treating as inclusive as possible. You can keep the experience safe by keeping your food treats and non-food treats in separate bowls.
Do kids with life-threatening food allergies actually trick-or-treat?
Yes! Who wouldn’t want to take part in such a fun tradition shared with friends, classmates and family? Many kids with food allergies go out to trick-or-treat just like their friends. They know they’ll give much of their candy away because it’s not safe for them. They have come to understand that a lot of their fun will come from dressing up in a costume. We hope the Teal Pumpkin Project becomes a tradition for years to come so kids will know that when they knock on someone’s door that has a teal pumpkin, they’ll have a treat they can fully enjoy.
Are there any non-food treats that I should avoid?
There are a few considerations when choosing which non-food items to hand out. First, some non-food items still contain food allergens. For example, some brands of moldable clay contain wheat. Additionally, try to choose latex-free items, as there are children who have latex allergies.
If I’m handing out candy and non-food treats, how do I determine which treat to give to each trick-or-treater?
You can either ask trick-or-treaters if they have any food allergies, or give every visitor a choice of which treat they’d like: candy or a non-food item.
Do kids really like non-food treats?
They don’t just like them, they love them! Finding a unique treat at your house will be a fun surprise. Glow bracelets, for example, are a great option. They are inexpensive, kids can wear them throughout the night, and parents are appreciative because they help make kids more visible after nightfall. Other non-food items, such as pencils and stickers, can be used at home and at school long after candy has run out or expired.
How do I know which houses in my area are participating?
FARE is providing a Teal Pumpkin Project Participation Map that allows people participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project to add their home address, street or neighborhood. Adding your household to the map shows your support and allows you to connect with other families in your area who are participating.
How do I get my neighbors involved?
Getting your community involved is easy!
- Ask your friends and neighbors to learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project and participate. Print out FARE’s flyers and hand them out.
- Host an event like a teal pumpkin painting party and ask your friends and neighbors to participate.
- If you have a neighborhood email listserv, send out an email about the initiative, including a link to FARE’s website (www.foodallergy.org).
- Reach out to your local library, dentist/doctor offices, schools, or community buildings to see if they would be willing to help you post signs or get the word out.
- Share information on social media, and post a picture of your teal pumpkins when you have them near your door! Don’t forget to use #tealpumpkinproject when you post!
Teal is the color of food allergy awareness. It has been used to raise awareness about this serious medical condition for nearly 20 years.
How did the project start?
The Teal Pumpkin Project was inspired by an awareness activity run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET). FARE thanks FACET for their ongoing partnership as we work to reach families across the country and around the world with the Teal Pumpkin Project’s messages of awareness, inclusion and community.
Walking Trails Overtake Golf Communities
A golf course is no longer the showpiece of a master-planned community. Instead, buyers are showing a greater preference to live near extensive trail networks and shared gardens. Developers are responding with new developments that are pushing out golf courses in favor of other outdoor areas that foster a sense of community.
Read more: What Will Replace Golf Course Communities?
“What we’re seeing is this trend toward helping people interact with each other and helping them interact in natural environments,” says Ken Perlman, a principal at John Burns Real Estate Consulting in San Diego. “There is a real desire to be outside, to have their space, and to get their breath of fresh air.”
In response, developers are adding in more walking trails in a community. But the trails can’t just be in a straight line, they say.
“When you talk about trails, they should be meandering,” says Dean Naef, president of Rise Communities, based in Katy, Texas. “No one wants to be on a linear trail where they can see what’s coming. We want curvilinear where the landscape changes. We like to create monuments along the way, respites to work out on, or take a rest to enjoy art.”
The New Home Company’s upcoming Russell Ranch community in Folsom, Calif., is adding mountain biking and hiking trails that rise and fall with the topography. A community known as Daybreak, outside of Salt Lake City, will use its mountain backdrop to have a looping walking trail and a separate bicycle lane for riders. The community also features public gardens, kayaking, and 30 miles of trails.
Jessica Lautz, managing director of survey research at the National Association of REALTORS®, says that millennials are a big driver behind the trend of more nature incorporated into developments. More millennials rate living near parks and recreation facilities more important than do older generations.
Source: “A New Kind of Green: Developers Trade Golf Courses for Hiking Trails, Gardens to Draw Buyers,” Construction Dive, National Association of Realtors, REALTOR magazine