Christian Real Estate Professionals : Charlotte Real Estate Glossary: What is a Homeowners’ Association?

Charlotte Real Estate Glossary: What is a Homeowners’ Association?

Charlotte Real Estate Q & A:  What is a Homeowners’ Association?

When you buy Charlotte real estate in a subdivision, co-op or planned unit development (PUD), you may be subject to a host of rules and regulations as established by the Homeowners’ Association (HOA) governing that particular community, subdivision or development. 

You’ve most likely heard of HOA's before, but you may not know exactly how they function and how they can impact you and your Charlotte real estate purchase.  Here are a few Q&A's pertaining to some of the broader issues of which you should be aware when moving into a community governed by an HOA.

Charlotte North Carolina Homeowners Associations

What is a Homeowners' Association?   It is a corporation formed by real estate developers to market, manage and sell homes and lots within a development.

Does the Charlotte real estate developer retain control of the HOA forever?   No.  After a predetermined number of homes or lots are sold, the control is turned over, first, to a handpicked group of homeowners.  Later in the process, elections are held once a year within the development to choose board members.

Can anyone be a board member?  As long as you’re a property owner in the development governed by the HOA, you can campaign for the position.  Elections are held once a year.  It is not a paid position; board members volunteer their time.

What is the primary function of the HOA?  The primary function of an HOA is to maintain the rules and restrictions that were put in place by the developers and to maintain the community’s common areas.  Common areas include streets, parking lots, parks or green areas, pools and buildings used by the owners like a clubhouse or fitness center.  If your Charlotte real estate is an attached condo unit, this would include the exterior of your unit as well.

Can I elect not to join the HOA?  No, HOA membership is written into the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R's) when the community is developed.  No matter how many times the property changes ownership, the HOA requirements remain with the property.   You’re also required to pay HOA fees, which are used to maintain the common areas; some have additional benefits, based upon the various developments in Charlotte.  If you do not stay current on the fees, the HOA can and WILL apply an assessment lien on your Charlotte real estate and can even foreclose on the property.

Before buying into a community with an HOA, read and understand the CC&R's.  Also, take the time to talk with some of the other homeowners in the development to find out how they feel about their HOA.

If you’re interested in buying Charlotte real estate, with or without an HOA, I can help.  Please give me a call or email me with questions you may have about home buying in Charlotte NC.

Charlotte North Carolina Real Estate - Charlotte NC Relocation Information

Debe Maxwell, CRS, Realtor®/Broker
The Maxwell House Group
1920 E. 7th Street
Charlotte, NC  28204
Mobile:  (704) 491-3310
Fax:       (704) 353-7014

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Comment balloon 47 commentsDebe Maxwell, CRS • April 24 2011 09:35AM


Good morning Debe,

Excellent post on Homeowners Associations. I want to wish you and your family a happy and blessed Easter!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) over 7 years ago

Great post - thanks for sharing!  We have a lot of buyers who come to our area to buy and say they definitely do not want an HOA but then they see the way the neighborhoods with HOAs are kept up and many change their minds.  As long as they know what being part of a Homeowner's Association involves which you explain very well, they are able to weigh the pros and cons to make that decision. 

Posted by Jenn Neumann Deer, Surfside Beach Real Estate (RE/MAX Southern Shores) over 7 years ago

WOnderful post idea....I am sure those that didn't know what a HOA was or did, know now...well done!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) over 7 years ago

Debe, good Q&A on the definition of an HOA in Charlotte. Information prospective buyers need to know.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 7 years ago

Debe - Great Q&A on HOAs !  It should also be noted there is always one or two (or more) nutty folks involved in every HOA so not to be scared of that, but just accept it and be okay with it : ) .  As an owner of several condos it can get downright humorous and frustrating at the same time.  At the end of the day, people just want the best for their living but have to understand they are part of a community and not just a single family dwelling.


Posted by The Somers Team, Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate. (The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access) over 7 years ago

Good Morning Debe and Happy Easter. I just finished drafting two posts about HOA and short sales, and then I realized that I did not explain in clear terms exactly what the HOA is. Were you looking over my shoulder? Great overview!

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) over 7 years ago

Good Morning Debe, Happy Easter!

I love HOAs, but not everyone does. I believe a great HOA will keep the community healthy and give you a strong voice in the city government too. Many communities without HOAs have lost their home values. Some great information for any buyer.

Posted by Jerry Newman, Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation (Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, over 7 years ago

Have a very "Happy Easter" my Friend ...

VB ;o)

Posted by Robert Vegas Bob Swetz, Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale (Realty ONE Group) over 7 years ago


Great posting for the home buyer out there they may have never lived in a home with an HOA.  It is always important that they check the HOA rules and regs and verify that they could live with those restrictions.  Some HOA's will even place limits on the number of pets you can have.

Posted by Larry Story, Total Care Realty, LLC, Greensboro, NC Real Estate (Total Care Realty) over 7 years ago

Great Q&A.  I've always understood the general concept, but not the details.  Thanks!

Posted by Joshua Vensel (VENVISIO - Real Estate Photography - Atlanta, GA) over 7 years ago

Debe, you are a wealth of pertinent information for all people interested in real estate in your area! Hope you have a great Easter!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Happy Easter, Debe, I think HOA's were originally a desired part of a new community, now many have become so controling that they are avoided and can kill a deal. Personally if I buy a home with my money I want control over my own property. But that is just me,..Great thought provoking post

Posted by Gerry Michaels, GettysburgGerry Social Meida (Glasswork Media Arts) over 7 years ago

If you have ever read C C & R's, it beats a sleeping pill every time....HOA's while dull often explain the rules under which you have to live and operate in not so clear terms. No pets, no extra parking, no renting out of your unit, no loud noises, what you can plant, or add, visitors and management fines, fees and requests for repairs to common areas and on and on. When I was doing tract sales, this is what took most of the time before a deal could be sealed. Great subject to know about and good post Debe....thank you

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 7 years ago
Great info. We met with a client from out of state this past weekend and did not understand what HOA is. Thanks.
Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) over 7 years ago

Debe - some people curse them, and some people think they are an necessary evil, but I don't know anyone who loves their HOA.

Posted by Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc (Benchmark Realty LLc) over 7 years ago

Debe- HOAs are a necessary evil, and keep associations going - some do it well, and others not so well.  Good info for the public!

Posted by Dagny Eason, Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo (Dagny's Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Nice summary and q&a on home owner associations. Some associations require such strict adherence to their rules that it actually affects the quality of life within. 

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) over 7 years ago

This is so helpful.. i copied it and will use it in the future...

Posted by Michael (Mike) Robinson, CRS, CIPs, REALTOR (Broadmoor Realty, Inc.) over 7 years ago

This Q&A and this post is a good primer. 

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) over 7 years ago

Great post Debe, you will be surprised on the amount of people who do not understand what an HOA is and why communities have them.

Posted by Lorinda Ward, Serving, Hampton Roads Virginia. Norfolk, Chesapeake, Va Beach (Keffer Realty) over 7 years ago

This is a really great post, Debe. Very clear and thorough information about HOAs and what people should consider before buying into a complex with a HOA. Thank you!

Posted by Nina Rogoff, Sells Real Estate! (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 7 years ago

Btw, I love your new profile photo!

Posted by Nina Rogoff, Sells Real Estate! (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 7 years ago

Debe - This is a really informative post.  It's so important that a buyer understand what an HOA is and what is does, and you've done a great job of explaining it.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 7 years ago

This was very informative about HOA's.  We take them for granted, but Buyers often don't understand them.  This is a very good summary.  Blessings to you this Easter day

Posted by Mimi Foster, Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor (FALCON PROPERTY SOLUTIONS ) over 7 years ago

Something that comes so basic to us because we see it everday can be a foreign concept to a lot of buyers, this was a good explanation of what a HOA, how it operates, and what it will mean to a new buyer.

Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Debe, very clearly stated for the uninitiated on HOAs...something the buyer should always look into

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Great post,so much usefull information and it should help with SEO!

Posted by Scott Fogleman, New Home Team (New Home Team 804-573-9592) over 7 years ago

Nice post...I am always explaining this subject to clients...thanks for the great post.

Posted by Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty, Florida Space Coast Homes (Waves Realty) over 7 years ago

Hi Everyone and Happy Easter to you all!  I have been out of town for the afternoon and am just getting in!  Thanks for all of your comments--yes, HOA's are a necessary evil, no one LOVES them but, we do appreciate that they have a large part in keeping our communities to the level of standards which we need to keep our property values on the rise--or in this market, stable.  

We hate the dues but, they do so much more for us than we realize--and yes, some folks DO take HOA's to the extreme!  There is definitely a love-hate relationship with HOA's but, the other option (not having one) is FAR worse.

Have a great evening all...

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 7 years ago

I have purchased investment property in areas with high HOA fees.  They have a great deal of control and most of the time, their fees can extend beyond a foreclosure.  However, they can also be reasonable to work with, especially when they have lots of vacant properties in the neighborhood.  They can eliminate past due fees and decrease future fees for short periods on time.  Don't be afraid to ask.

Greg J. Gardner

Posted by Greg Gardner (Blithernet Online Classifieds) over 7 years ago

What a great way of explaining HOA... thanks for sharing. Have a great Easter, Debe.

Posted by Donna Paul, Long Island Home Specialist,All About Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty Gold Coast) over 7 years ago

Happy Easter Debe to you and yours.


I love the post today and have bookmarked it for future reference. Thanks

for getting it out to us .


Patricia/Seacoast NH & ME

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 7 years ago

Debe, great article. It really explains in very good detail and reminds me that I shouldn't always assume that the lay person knows or understands this.

Posted by Mark Montross, Listing and Buyer Specialist (Catamount Realty Group) over 7 years ago

Hi Debe...How helpful.  This is great information for home buyers new to the HOA.


Posted by Kate Elim, Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a (Dockside Realty) over 7 years ago

Fabulous explanation of what a homeowners' association is, Debe.  Some people don't know what they are getting into when they buy into a community that has one.

Posted by Jane Peters, Connecting you to the L.A. real estate market (Home Jane Realty) over 7 years ago

Buying a condo is not the same as buying a home.  You did a great job of explaning the Home Owner's Association.  Condo ownership is not for everyone.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 7 years ago

Debe - great explanation about HOA.  I tell my clients that HOA is like a marriage and for future homeowners it is essential that they become acquainted prior to making an offer.   

Posted by Petra Norris, Realtor, Lakeland FL Homes for Sale (Lakeland Real Estate Group, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Debe,  AWESOME Q&A about HOA's and one added note is that if the customer is obtaining financing in an HOA there are some additional lender requirements that need to be met...have a GREAT day!

Posted by Steve Barker, Steve Barker (Movement Mortgage) over 7 years ago

Great explanation of HOAs for anyone, very detailed and easy to understand.  Thank you for sharing. 

Posted by Gwen Kelly, Long Beach, CA Real Estate (Broadmoor Realty, Inc) over 7 years ago

Ha!  Great explaination Debe.  Can I elect to not join the HOA?  Very few newer homes are not located in HOAs here.  It can be a challenge!

Posted by Renée Donohue, Las Vegas Real Estate Broker - (Savvy Home Strategies Realty, LLC-REALTOR®-Estate-Probate) over 7 years ago

No, once you agree to buy the property, you are stuck with the association. 

Posted by Beverly Femia, Broker Realtor Stager - Greater Wilmington, NC Are (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) over 7 years ago

HOA's are something that never caught on in our community. I think we're all too independent.

But, I can see the value for people who live in close proximity to each other.

So, if you got a buyer who came from here, they'd definitely need your explanation, because they wouldn't understand the concept.

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 7 years ago

Debe, great information for a buyer in Charlotte and anywhere for that matter.

Posted by DeeDee Riley, Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas (Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA) over 7 years ago

HOA's can be a blessing and/or a curse.  You should know what you are getting into before you buy into one.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 7 years ago

AR wouldn't be the same without you and your helpful hints.  Greetings from Asheville!

Posted by Evelyn Zebro, Asheville NC Real Estate Broker (Beverly-Hanks & Associates) over 7 years ago

Debe - Thank you for the post.  If it is okay, I would like to incorporate the Q&A into my resource book.

Posted by Robert Courtney, Century 21 All Islands, RA, CDPE, MCRE, CIAS over 7 years ago

Great post Debe.  Is it true that after so many years OR after a certain percentage of the homes in a comunity have been sold, a community can vote to dissolve their HOA? I heard that some where, but in all my research online, I haven't been able to find anything supporting that comment.

Posted by S. McCall over 7 years ago