Community Association Management and Architectural Controls

Architectural controls are necessary for an HOA’s ability to protect the homeowners’ investment and quality of life. Understanding architectural controls and how community association management can help with them can be a major advantage to a new community and its developers. 

What Are Architectural Controls?

When a new development is built, the homes in that development share a style. You want the look and feel of those homes to create a sense of unity between them. It helps pull the community together as a single unit.

Over time, the weather and other unforeseen parts of day-to-day life will start to damage the exteriors of the houses in the neighborhood. The eventual homeowners may also wish to make other additions or alterations to better suit their needs and preferences.

Regardless of the reason, most houses will eventually need exterior renovations or touch-ups. Architectural controls established by the HOA’s founding documents create guidelines for the renovation and maintenance of homes in the community.

Why Should Your Development Have Architectural Controls?

The ultimate goal of an HOA’s established architectural controls is to benefit the people that buy homes in the development. There are two ways that architectural controls accomplish this goal:

1. Support the Community’s Appeal

One of the main appeals of a homeowners’ association is the sense of community it can foster. The people who buy into a planned development often look for more than just a home; they are looking for a community. Aesthetic cohesion among the houses is one of the features of a housing development that supports this sense of community.

The architectural controls outlined by the HOA work to preserve this cohesion over time. When it is time for major maintenance or a redesign of the home’s exterior, well-established architectural controls provide a framework for the homeowner to work within. This framework allows them to accomplish their goals while preserving the overall look and appeal of the neighborhood.

This need for aesthetic collaboration is especially true for lots that adjoin common areas and green spaces. Homes built on these lots will significantly affect the overall look and feel of the area.

2. Support the Community’s Land Values

Complimentary architecture among the homes in the community also supports the second facet of an HOA’s appeal—preserving property values.

A family home is a significant investment. Buying a home often involves facing major financial risk in the form of loans, and periodical real estate market collapses demonstrate that land values are not as stable an investment as people may sometimes think. One of the HOA’s roles is to protect the value of a homeowner’s investment by preserving the value of the land.

Architectural controls are one of the tools that an HOA uses to accomplish this task. The look and condition of a home’s exterior can influence the value of homes around it. Requiring a homeowner to seek the HOA’s approval and adhere to the community’s architectural controls is a powerful tool for protecting the homeowner’s investment and those of their neighbors.

How Does Community Association Management Help?

Professional community association management can help developers manage the community’s architectural controls in three ways: 

1. Draft Architectural Controls

An HOA’s founding legal documents need to reconcile the HOA’s founding principles and means of operating with the requirements of State and local law. Keeping the necessary experts on as permanent staff is often too expensive to be a practical option.

A community association management firm can draft HOA founding documents on the developer’s behalf. Their experience with community associations and the relevant laws allows them to address this issue cost-effectively and promptly.

2. Manage Requests for Alteration

To make alterations to the exterior of their home, a homeowner will need to submit plans and a request for alteration to the HOA. Typically, a request would be reviewed for compliance by the HOA’s Architectural Control Committee, but this may not be possible in new developments.

A community association management firm can take over this duty, allowing these requests to be processed quickly. Community management can also provide tools that make submitting and reviewing requests for alteration more straightforward for the homeowner, the developer, and the homeowner-led ACC that will eventually take charge.

3. Organize HOA Board and Architectural Control Committee

In the early stages of development, the community’s HOA will be under the developer’s control, but this will change. As homes are sold and residents move into the community, homeowners will take charge of the association. A community association management firm can help organize and train the HOA’s committees. This will make this transition smoother for everyone.Architectural controls are a powerful tool for protecting the beauty and value of homes in a community. Community association management can help developers, and homeowners get the most out of this facet of their HOA.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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