Home Owners Association (HOA) Fees Explained
When searching the Calgary Real Estate market for a new home, there will be a variety of costs and fees to consider in addition to the cost of the home itself. With Homeowners Association (HOA) fees becoming more common in newer communities, it’s important to understand what it is and how it will affect your budget. This guide will help you understand what HOA fee is, what it covers, how much new home buyers can expect to pay.
What is Home Owners Association Fee?
Homeowners Association fee is money paid to an organization that takes care of the upkeep of the communal property available to the residents. For example, green spaces, lakes, parks etc. While it can be frustrating for home buyers to be charged with an extra fee, the money is used for funding services and amenities that residents will benefit from.
What does HOA Fees cover?
The services and amenities covered by HOA fees will vary from one neighborhood to the next. For example, those living in a lake community like Auburn Bay, will pay for keeping the lake clean and accessible. While every community will have different needs, there are some areas that are commonly covered:
- Landscaping parks and green spaces (lawn mowing, weeding and tree maintenance etc.)
- Pond maintenance (pumps, cleaning)
- Ice rinks and sport courts maintenance and up keeping.
How much can homeowners expect to pay?
Just as the services covered by the fees can vary greatly, the cost of the fees will vary as well. In Calgary real estate market, HOA fees vary from one neighborhood to the next. However, upscale communities such as Aspen tend to have higher HOA fees. When considering a property, be sure to ask your real estate agent or contact the community association about the fees you can expect to pay.
NOTE: Homeowners within same community may pay different fees. For example, properties backing on to green space or a lake may be subject to a larger fee than properties which do not.
How to determine if HOA applies?
The existence of an HOA can be determined by visiting the community website, or by conducting a land title search. The HOA fee will be registered on the title as an Encumbrance.
Is it mandatory to pay the HOA Fees?
If you choose to live in an area with established HOA fees, the payment is mandatory. The fees are paid by each resident of the community and the money received by the HOA is used for the common good of the community. If residents are delinquent with payments, they may be denied access to the community amenities. To ensure that the fees are made known to buyers, an encumbrance is registered on the title of the property. If a homeowner does not pay the fees, the encumbrance on the title ensures that it is paid in full at the time of the sale. (Fees will be collected through the proceeds of the sale)
More about HOA?
Buyers interested in making a purchase in a community with a Home Owners Association may want to contact the HOA directly to learn more about the amenities and any other services or programs offered. Most associations will have a website that provides such information.