What to Know Before Renovating Your Home
Performing home renovations is a great way to improve your home and add a personal touch to your living space. However, when you live in a home that is part of an HOA, renovation work must meet certain guidelines. These guidelines are the established and regulated standards set forth by the HOA’s Architectural Control Committee (ACC) and detailed in your community’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (most often referred to as CC&Rs).
They are simply there to help maintain uniformity and preserve home values within the HOA community.
Failure to obtain prior approval from your association’s ACC Committee could lead to expensive and unfavorable consequences, so it’s important to understand your community’s governing documents and follow established protocol. Below are some general rules to keep in mind when planning for home renovations in an HOA:
Do Your Research
CC&Rs are tailored to each community they serve and are therefore updated and changed occasionally. Make sure you are consulting the latest version for your association’s governing documents when you begin planning your renovation project. Any changes to the exterior of your home must be approved (with the exception of landscaping work in a fenced yard). As for the interior, you must gain approval for all structural changes (such as moving walls) or changes that could affect community resources like plumbing or electricity. These requirements are specific to each HOA, so consult your HOA’s ACC before you get too excited about potential changes.
Keeping your project within the HOA’s established guidelines is not enough. You must make it official and receive approval from the ACC. This step keeps everyone on the same page and prevents unnecessary delays and additional paperwork.
Doing work that has not been approved, or worse – violates your HOA’s CC&Rs, comes with heavy consequences. You could be stuck with fines for noncompliance, blocked and delayed work, or even redoing the work altogether. Always get approval first, and don’t start the work until approval is confirmed in writing!
This usually involves an improvement request detailing your renovation plans. Approval can take anywhere from 14-30 days, so plan accordingly. You may even want to consider enlisting the help of a professional to make sure you include all the important details and increase your chances of the plan being approved.
Hire a Licensed Professional Contractor
When all is approved, you are ready to roll – with the help of a licensed contractor holding all the necessary permits. This ensures that the work will be of the highest quality, keeping your own property value strong and benefitting the uniformity of the rest of the HOA community.
Your HOA may have a list of contractors they work with, or you may need to find your own. Get two or three estimates to make sure you are getting the best value for your project.
Remember to review the community guidelines with your chosen contractor, even if they come recommended by the board. Things may have changed since they last did work in the community, and it never hurts to clarify expectations.
Once you’ve chosen the right professionals for the job, be sure to establish the schedule and time of day work will be completed, and how both the supplies for and waste from the project will be handled.
The use and care of common spaces will affect neighboring residents, too. Be proactive and reach out to your neighbors, letting them know about your work plans and allowing them time to plan for the potential inconveniences. Most HOAs have approved construction hours to reduce noise and traffic disturbances, especially when it comes to working at night.
These are usually 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends, but you should always check with your HOA for their approved hours.
Get Finished Work Inspected and Approved
Mission accomplished … almost. Once the work has been completed, be sure to notify the HOA. They will likely want to perform an inspection to make sure that the project was done as approved, and that work was done in compliance with the neighborhood’s rules and quality standards. This includes cleanup of any common sites used during the work and proper disposal of all project waste. Construction waste found in regular trash often incurs fees to the HOA from the sanitation companies. Again, be sure to discuss this with your contractor up front to avoid any unexpected expenses with clean up.
Though it can seem like a daunting process, following these simple steps will ease you through your home renovations, and help you avoid many frustrations with the HOA. You’ll be enjoying your newer, personalized space in no time! For help with the management of your HOA community, contact Spectrum AM today for a free quote and see what makes us refreshingly different.