As a first-time homebuyer, the terms COA, POA vs HOA 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.
What is the difference in COA HOA 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 COA, POA vs HOA do share some similarities, it’s important to know that they are slight differences between them.
The 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 a fee each month to cover the expenses of maintenance and upkeep of the community. There is no standard HOA fee as they can vary wildly depending on your location, size, and the extent of your common areas.
These fees can be as low as $100 per month to as high as $700 per month. There are even homeowners associations that charge fees in the thousands, but these are the outliers and not the norm. Expensive HOA fees usually come from high-end or luxury communities.
To compute these fees, the HOA board prepares the annual budget consisting of projected expenses for the year ahead. They also factor in contributions to the reserve fund, which consists of money set aside for future major replacements, repairs, and maintenance.
Once the board arrives at a total projected expense, they will then proceed to divide it among all homeowners, themselves included. Most HOAs charge homeowners fees on a monthly basis, but there are some that do it on a yearly basis.
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 fees that pay for maintenance and repairs, as well as services such as landscaping, trash collection, and snow removal. Condo owners associations also maintain a reserve fund, much like a homeowners association. Unit owners typically pay these on a monthly basis, though there are also associations that charge them on an annual basis.
What is a POA in real estate? The acronym POA stands for property owners association.
What is a property owners association? Unlike HOAs, POA real estate is not confined to homes. 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 dues, 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.
Although you might feel apprehensive about paying POA fees on top of other expenses such as rent and taxes, these fees do serve a purpose. Without these fees, the association would have no way of covering the maintenance needs of your POA property, resulting in poor upkeep and lower property values.
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 COA, POA vs HOA.
Admittedly, 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.
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.
By now, you should have a clear understanding of the COA, HOA, and POA meaning in real estate terms. 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 COA, POA vs HOA is most advantageous for you.
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