“What are the HOA fees?” It’s a question we hear often here at 55places.com and we can certainly understand why. Knowing how much you’ll have to pay each month in homeowners association fees helps you understand your budgetary expectations. Plus, knowing what the HOA fees cover gives you an idea of what extra costs you might incur for things not covered, which varies from community to community.
The price for your house is what gets you into an active adult community but it’s the homeowners association fees that you’ll be paying for the years ahead. While these fees go towards worthwhile services (lawn care, trash removal, exterior maintenance, amenity upkeep, just to name a few potential items), they can be a source of discomfort for many residents who didn’t know the specifics going in or until they were already buying.
So why is it so hard to find out what a 55+ community’s HOA fees are? Turns out there are a few reasons.
HOA Fees Change All The Time
Here at 55places we once embarked on a mission to figure out the HOA fees in all 2,000+ communities on our site. It was a grueling, manual process that took months to accomplish. Not only was it impossible to find all of that information (for reasons we’ll get into) but by the time we completed the mission, a solid percentage of the numbers we had collected were out of date.
HOA fees are not fixed and are subject to change at different intervals depending on the community. They may change every year or even as quickly as every quarter. When we say they change, we really mean that they’re probably going up in order to cover the costs of upgrades, emergency maintenance, and inflation.
HOAs Don’t Always Like To Give Out That Information
Some communities are pretty upfront about HOA fees and spell them out on their website or in their brochures. Others, however, like the keep that information close to the vest. They may not want to share it because they view it as information only suitable for residents. They may prefer not to share it because what the fees cover changes frequently.
Many times they prefer not to give out that information because it can get fairly complicated quickly. Some communities have separate HOA fees based on where residents live. So everyone in the community might pay a certain fee for general amenities but then people who live in specific buildings or neighborhoods have their own HOA fees related only to them.
There could be separate fees based on country club memberships or golf course memberships. If a community allows residents to take care of their own property and maintenance, there might be different HOA fees for you and your neighbor. All of that can make it sound overwhelming and so HOAs would prefer to share that information with you directly.
How Can You Find Out HOA Fees?
The good news is that despite the hurdles, there are easy ways to find out what kind of HOA fees a community has.
That information may be listed online, either here on 55places.com or on a community site. Check our community page or a Community Spotlight blog post if we’ve done one.
Another easy way to find out about HOA fees (and other specifics) is to contact a real estate agent in the area. 55places' partner agents are experts in every community they represent and they know all of the ins and outs of buying a home there, including fees, taxes, pet policies, and more. You can find the agent on the right side of any community page.
Finally, when you visit an active adult community, don’t be afraid to ask for as much information as you need to make an informed decision, which includes a full breakdown of HOA fees, a history of how the fees have changed over time, and a copy of the HOA’s annual budget. Your agent should be able to help you procure this information if you’d prefer (and if they tell you they can’t, you might need a new agent).