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Community Inspections: Debunking Common Myths and Offering Useful Tips

It's common for homeowners to have some misunderstandings about community inspections. Let's take a closer look at these together, and then we'll provide you with a handy cheat sheet to make preparing for your next community inspection a breeze.  

Misconception 1: Inspections are arbitrary, and the manager is nitpicking – Let's address this head-on. We understand your concerns, and trust us, we've heard our fair share of HOA horror stories. However, it's important to clarify that we're not the ones who set the rules; we're here to assist the Board in ensuring they're followed. Please consult your governing documents for details on your community's maintenance responsibilities and usage guidelines. These can typically be found in the Declaration, design guidelines, and the rules and regulations. 

Misconception 2: Where does it say I have to do that?  When you purchased in an association, you agreed to abide by the rules and restrictions outlined in the governing documents. In addition to the documents detailed above, you should familiarize yourself with local and state ordinances, as they may also limit or restrict the use of your lot.   

Misconception 3: Someone trespassed on my property.  Almost all association inspections are completed from a car on the street, or from the common area(s).  Please note, this may not be the case for resale-related inspections, or for an inspection connected to property damage or emergency maintenance.  

Misconception 4: The association is out to get me, or this must be personal.   We really do understand and empathize with this feeling – after all, what could be more personal than your home, right?  But believe me when I say, this is not personal.  Managers perform hundreds of inspections every year, and I can guarantee we spotted something similar in one of your neighbor’s yards. That said, managers embrace the phrase: if you see something, say something!  We’re human; maybe we missed something- or maybe your neighbor only breaks out their personal putting green after office hours.  There is no reason for homeowners to feel frustrated about someone who is breaking the rules – send us an email, and we’ll look into the issue for you.  

Misconception 5: Inspections are pointless and punitive.  HOA inspections help ensure that all homeowners are complying with the community's rules and regulations. While inspections may result in violations which can feel punitive, the overall goal of community inspections is to protect and preserve property values.  After all, ensuring that homes are well-maintained and the community is aesthetically pleasing, enhances the desirability of living in the neighborhood. 

I’m sure there are plenty of other misconceptions, but I think we’ve covered the big ones.

Now let’s get to the useful tips –things you can do to prepare for a community inspection.   

  1. All exterior modifications should be approved by the architectural review committee and kept clean and in good repair.

  2. Landscaping: Make sure the lawn is mowed, the flowerbeds are weed-free, and shrubs and trees are pruned.

  3. Siding and shutters: Wash siding to remove moss/pollen and ensure any damaged siding is repaired or replaced.  Make sure faded shutters are repainted, and any missing shutter is reinstalled or replaced.

  4. Exterior paint: Ensure paint is in good condition (no wood rot!), and conforms with HOA guidelines.

  5. Mailbox: Ensure your mailbox is in good repair, rust free, and that the post is painted. Replace faded or missing mailbox numbers.

  6. Review the HOA guidelines and regulations to ensure compliance 

Remember, we all share a responsibility to contribute to the well-being of our communities.  By following this checklist, you can ensure that your property is well-maintained.   

We appreciate your dedication and commitment to your neighborhood! 

Join us next time we’ll explore a comprehensive diagram, and help you identify some other areas that may just need some extra TLC this year.  

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