Home > Uncategorized > What Do My HOA Fees Cover?

Comments 0 Comments

If you are in the market to buy a house, you may find yourself in developments touting some serious services — but not without a charge. Condominiums, townhouses and other properties in certain planned developments can come with a homeowners association, or HOA. To live there, you must pay the HOA fees either monthly or annually. These can be great when it keeps your neighbor from painting their home neon green and when your swimming pool is always clean, but may seem less helpful when the rules feel too restrictive. If you are thinking about buying or renting one of these types of properties, it’s a good idea to figure out how they work and what exactly these fees get you.

How It Works

Gated neighborhoods or buildings with HOA fees often charge as much as $400 a month, with higher fees on a more upscale building with better amenities. These communities operate under the idea that many parties that live in the same area can help each other out with some shared needs. All residents are equally responsible for maintaining common areas and there is usually a governing HOA board that works toward a better quality of life for residents, sets certain rules and protects the property values for all properties. It’s important to learn the rules and you may want to try and meet some other residents of the development you want to live in before making a final decision.


Every property requires maintenance and usually when you buy a home, all the responsibility falls on you. With an HOA, you don’t have to worry about all the costs and effort necessary for the upkeep of your property. There is usually a property manager who takes care of lawn care, trash removal, swimming pool and fitness room maintenance, snow removal and common area upkeep (like elevators, lobbies, clubhouses, walkways, parking garages, etc.). Sometimes they even maintain your specific lawn.


Perhaps one of the most attractive parts of living in an HOA community is the amenities that come with your home. Some offer pools, clubhouses, gyms, tennis courts, basketball courts, walking trails, gardens and green space to name a few examples. The added entertainment benefit can outweigh the cost of the fees for residents.


Many people who live in an HOA home or apartment appreciate the sense of community and security it affords them. You can meet neighbors and friends during HOA meetings if you choose to be active, or just through experiencing the shared spaces.


There is usually a reserve fund for future improvements or unexpected damage repair, similar to a personal emergency fund. HOA fees also usually pay insurance for the building or common spaces, including hazard and liability coverage. Depending on what area your new home or apartment would be, it’s a good idea to research what insurances are included in the HOA fee.

While this is usually how homeowner’s associations work, every community has its own sets of rules and priorities. Before you hand over that first month’s rent or down payment on a home, consider what you can afford, if the benefits of HOAs are important to your household and what exactly you would get out of a specific property.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: Big Cheese Photo

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team