Southeast Michigan Real Estate Glossary: What is a Homeowners’ Association?

Posted in Southeast Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 2nd, 2011

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

You’ve most likely heard of HOAs, but you may not know exactly how they operate and how they can impact you and your southeast Michigan real estate.  In this article, you’ll get information on some of the broader issues that you should be aware of when moving into a community governed by an HOA.

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 southeast Michigan 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 southeast Michigan 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 pros and cons of buying a home when the development is formed.  No matter how many times the property changes ownership, the HOA requirements remain with it. 

You’re also required to pay HOA fees, which are used to maintain the common areas.  If you do not stay current on the fees, the HOA can put an assessment lien on your southeast Michigan real estate.

Before buying into a development with an HOA, read and understand the CC&Rs.  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 southeast Michigan real estate, with or without an HOA, I can help.  Please give me a call at 248-514-2640 or email me at

Lee Morof sells North Woodward Homes in Oakland County Michigan RE/MAX Showcase Homes 

Lee Morof
Associate Broker/Attorney  
Certified Distressed Property Expert
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640

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