A new home project can be exciting, but there’s something that all homeowners in an HOA need to be aware of and that is whether the project requires approval or not. If a homeowner were to start a project that required approval but didn’t request it first, there could be consequences (these would depend on the specific HOA and their guidelines, of course). In some cases, homeowners could be fined, and projects may be paused or stopped altogether. When approvals aren’t sought after first, it can waste valuable time and money for homeowners.
The Importance of HOA Guidelines Regarding Home Renovations
While it can be frustrating for homeowners at times to need to seek approval to make changes, these guidelines are in place for a good reason. Since there are various people living within the community, it’s important for the HOA to think carefully about how projects will affect the whole community. Is it in the best interest of the community and the property values? The HOA needs to consider what will help the community retain value and cohesiveness. Overall, the rules are in place to protect the community.
What Projects Often Require Approval?
The best way to find out what projects require approval in your HOA is to look at the rules and regulations. What’s required will vary from HOA to HOA. However, we can discuss the projects that typically require approval.
Usually, when it comes to the exterior, anything involving renovating or remodeling that affects the appearance will need to have approval. Examples include adding a new roof, any change in exterior paint (including the door), changing the landscaping, and updating the trim outside. Exterior projects are not the only things to keep in mind though. There are interior projects that often require approval as well. These typically include doing full remodels of the bathroom or the kitchen since utilities are involved. Anything that involves plumbing or electricity services will often require approval. Sometimes new flooring will require approval as well, especially if you’re adding hardwood or tile. If you want to open up a space and plan to have a load-bearing wall moved, this will also need approval first.
What Projects Don’t Usually Require Approval?
Again, it’s always important to consult the HOA’s rules and regulations before assuming what’s permitted without approval. However, these are the typical type of projects that do not require it. You’re typically allowed to replace existing things such as countertops, tubs, light fixtures, showers, sinks, and kitchen appliances. You can usually update the interior walls with new paint or wallpaper. Updating interior trim is typically permitted without approval as well. When it comes to the exterior, you can usually make any gardening improvements without approval as long as you have a fence around your yard (adding a new fence would typically require approval though).
If you’re not sure whether a project requires approval or not, it’s best to just ask. By asking first, you can help reduce the chance of running into more costly issues later like redoing a project or facing a fine.
What are the Steps to Seeking Approval?
The first step is to find out what form/s you need to fill out in order to gain approval from the HOA. If you can’t easily find these, ask the HOA to find out then fill out the forms and wait to hear whether the project has been approved or not. If you gain approval, then you can move on to the next one which is finding the right contractors. Typically, it’s required that they be licensed and insured. In fact, your HOA may have a list of recommended contractors. After this step, it may or may not be necessary to offer up a more detailed plan once the contractor puts this together. You’ll need to find out if your HOA requires this or not. Keep in mind that if you change anything to the project after approval, you need to run it by the HOA to ensure that you’re not violating any rules, otherwise your project could end up being halted. Also, be aware that the HOA may do an inspection when the project is complete so they can guarantee that none of the rules have been violated during the process.
While the rules and regulations can sometimes feel confusing or frustrating, there in place for a good reason. These regulations help the HOA maintain a set of community standards and keep property values at a maximum. When it comes down to it, if unsure, it’s just best to seek approval before a project to ensure that HOA compliance is being met.
At PMI, we know how important it is to help HOAs maintain property value and homeowner satisfaction, learn more about what we have to offer on our website today.