4 Exterior Home Enhancements That Need HOA Approval

San Francisco townhomes
Thinking of changing your home’s exterior? First check your community’s homeowners association rules.

Many homeowners belong to a homeowners association that charges fees and sets community standards. The HOA provides group amenities, keeps the neighborhood or complex uniform and attractive, and helps maintain property values.

While you own your home, belonging to an HOA involves a tradeoff: sacrificing some rights to enjoy the community’s benefits. That means before you change your home’s exterior, you need to check the HOA’s rules.

Here are four home improvements that often require an HOA’s approval.

Row House with aluminum siding
Check with your homeowners association, if you belong to one, to verify that you can paint your home. Row houses, like this one, often are governed by HOA rules. (DepositPhotos)

1. Updating Your Siding

Severe weather may damage the siding on your home, leaving it vulnerable to the elements. You’ll need to replace the siding right away to prevent additional damage to insulation and waterproof layers.

While you might want to take this opportunity to change the siding to stone or brick, your HOA must approve the change. Usually, the HOA board will direct you to a preapproved material and color.

Home addition, viewed from inside
A home’s addition should include the same architectural elements, such as window shapes, as the existing house — but before you even plan the work, get HOA approval. (DepositPhotos)

2. Building an Addition

If you’ve outgrown your house or condo, you may want to add a sunroom, bathroom or bedroom. But you need the HOA’s permission before you can even think of adding on.

Before hiring a contractor, electrician or plumber, read your HOA’s covenants or guidebook. Being informed now can save you money — and prevent serious problems — later.

Even if your HOA approves the change, always check local building codes for any site review or permits that may be required.

a roofer laying tile on the roof
Your roof may need replacement, but your HOA will have guidelines for the new roof’s material and color. (DepositPhotos)

3. Replacing Your Roof

Do you want attractive metal roofing on your home or condo? First, check with your HOA to understand the do’s and don’ts of replacing a roof.

You may have to use certain materials, colors or designs to avoid an HOA violation. Remember: While a metal roof is more durable than other roofing materials, the HOA may still want you to choose an asphalt shingle roof to match the community’s other homes.

By understanding the guidelines, you can confidently replace the roof — without having to worry about tearing it down and starting over again if the HOA disapproves.

Swimming Pool
Installing a swimming pool may enhance your home, but would it violate your HOA’s rules? Check first!

4. Installing a Swimming Pool

Water therapy is a great way to improve your health, so you may want to install a private hot tub or a swimming pool on your property.

Despite the health benefits, your HOA may not permit it. Or, your HOA might permit installation of these items, but the organization might have guidelines about the process.

Failing to follow the rules can lead to fines and even eviction.

Get the Book!

If you don’t have a copy of your homeowners association’s guidelines, visit its website to print a copy, or stop by its office to pick one up.

Read it carefully to understand the rules, and if you don’t understand something, talk to the HOA’s management for clarification.

Better yet, attend your HOA’s quarterly or annual board meetings to stay informed about the latest changes in fees and rules.

That way, you’ll always know the rules!


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