HOA, POA, and COA: Breaking Down Each

As a first-time homebuyer, the terms HOA POA COA may sound confusing or unfamiliar to you. There are numerous terminologies and acronyms that exist in the world of real estate. So, it will be helpful to understand the meaning of these three terms, as well as recognize the differences between them and how they function. Here’s what you need to know.

HOA POA COA: Breaking Down Each of These Three Terms

What is HOA? What is COA? What is POA? As someone who is currently looking to purchase a new home, these are legitimate questions to ask. Many people seem to think that these three terms are interchangeable. While HOA, POA, COA do share some similarities, it’s important to know that they are slight differences between them.

What Does HOA Stand For?

house network | hoaThe acronym HOA stands for homeowners association. An HOA usually consists of single-family homes in a neighborhood or a gated community.

When you buy property in these communities, you automatically become a member of the HOA. All homeowners share ownership of common areas such as clubhouses, swimming pools, fitness centers, basketball courts, and so on.

An HOA is governed by a board of directors, who ensure that the community rules and regulations are followed. They are also responsible for the day-to-day management of the community — which includes regular maintenance and repairs of amenities and facilities.

Homeowners pay an assessment fee each month to pay for the maintenance and upkeep of the community.

What Does COA Stand For?

The acronym COA stands for condominium owners association. A COA has the same functions as an HOA but in the context of a condominium building. In a COA, anyone who purchases a unit in the building will share ownership of common areas such as the lobby, elevator/s, swimming pool, and gym.

Unit owners also share responsibility for the condo maintenance of communal walls and the roof. Similar to an HOA, members of a COA pay monthly fees that pay for maintenance and repairs, as well as services such as landscaping, trash collection, and snow removal.

What Does POA Stand For?

The acronym POA stands for property owners association. This type of association is more expansive in nature and can encompass both HOAs and COAs. POAs often govern over a mixture of residential properties and businesses. And so, a POA can span several neighborhoods, an entire town, or even several towns.

POAs can implement zoning restrictions, development projects, and enhancement projects. Rather than just maintaining property values — like in an HOA or COA — the main objective of a POA is to encourage and sustain the long-term development of a larger area. Just like HOAs and COAs, POA members pay fees too. However, these are usually paid annually instead of monthly. The amount also depends on the maintenance needs of your area and the range of services it requires.

HOA vs POA COA: What Are the Differences?

As you can see, there are some similarities between the terms HOA POA COA. So, some people take it to mean that all three terms are the same and fail to recognize the differences in how they function. For the purpose of providing clarity to first-time homebuyers, let us discuss the specific differences that may exist between HOA, POA, COA.


condo | hoaAdmittedly, the lines between HOA and COA are blurred most of the time. Some condominium buildings may even refer to their governing association as an HOA. This is because the HOA and COA share quite a lot of similarities.

In terms of differences, though, an HOA may have more comprehensive rules and regulations for its homeowners. One of the main goals of an HOA is to protect property values so there is a lot of emphasis on the aesthetics of homes in the area.

HOAs may have strict guidelines when it comes to the paint color of your home, the length of grass on your lawn, or the height of fences in your property. The more curb appeal the HOA has, the higher the property values. It also attracts more home buyers to your community.

Since condo owners all live in the same building, COA rules have less emphasis on architectural guidelines. However, COAs still enforce strict rules concerning noise levels, smoking and odors, ownership of pets, and so on.


In HOAs and COAs, you become a member of the community by owning property. However, in a POA, the association doesn’t necessarily have to own property. POAs are also less concerned about the aesthetics of residences and businesses in the area. Rather, their main objective is to boost the industries in the area. As such, POAs may offer community education, legal assistance, and networking events to help owners across a large area.

HOA POA COA: What Are the Benefits?

Choosing a property with an HOA, COA, or POA can be very beneficial. It takes a lot of time, money, and effort to maintain a home, condo, or business. So, having an association that governs your community can remove a lot of the burden on your shoulders. Owners in an HOA, COA, and POA can have peace of mind that their community is safe, well-maintained, and prosperous. Though this may come with some trade-offs — such as additional expenses and adherence to strict rules — it’s an investment worth considering.

A Better Understanding of the Terms HOA, POA, COA

By now, you should have a clear understanding of the terms HOA, POA, and COA. The next step is to choose which one is most suited for you. As a first-time homebuyer, try to think about your specific needs and preferences. It will also help to visit your prospective communities and ask any questions you may have.

A home is a major investment so you have to make sure that all your bases are covered, especially when it comes to fees and services. As you compile all the information gathered, it will be easier to determine which among HOA POA COA is most advantageous for you.



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