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If you are looking to purchase a home you may be confused by the overwhelming multitude of terminology and acronyms that exist in the world of real estate. When it comes to HOAs, POAs, and COAs, it is important to understand the difference. Although they are sometimes used interchangeably, this is actually a mistake as there is a significant difference between the three and how they function.

Homeowners Association (HOA)

A homeowners association is usually comprised of a group of similar homes and residences along with the common areas and property that is shared by the community as a whole. HOAs usually conform to a strict set of regulations, and requires all residents to likewise adhere to these regulations. Rules regarding anything from appearance of homes to number and type of pet are established to improve the quality of life of all of the residents. The aim of the HOA is to create a beautiful and comfortable community that helps to raise overall property values in the neighborhood. Although these rules can seem quite strict, they are agreed to and usually appreciated by the members of the community as they dramatically increase the desirability of the area. Members of an HOA can expect their fees to assist in the upkeep of pools or other common amenities, as well as opportunities to connect with other homeowners.

Condominium Owners Association (COA)

A COA is specific to owners of condominiums. Owners that are a part of these associations own their specific condominium and then share the ownership of the grounds and the building among other condominium owners.

Members of a COA can expect their fees to go towards the basic maintenance and repairs on the property as well as the care of any common areas such as the upkeep of lawns and snow removal.

Property Owners Association (POA)

The biggest difference between a POA and COAs or HOAs is its primary function and goals. Whereas the focus of an HOA is entirely residential, a POA can govern multiple types of property such as residential and business. The goal of a POA is to improve an entire area, neighborhood, or even an entire town. POAs can implement zoning restrictions, undertake development projects, and beautify community areas. POAs often focus their attention more on the overall health of the community by engaging in plans to develop businesses and increase property values across a large area.

If you are purchasing a home, you may actually find that a home is part of an HOA and a POA. It is helpful to ask if this is the case before purchasing the home and if there are any additional fees.

POAs, HOAs, and COAs can be extremely beneficial. If you are looking for a home, considering one that is part of one of these associations can ensure that you live in a community that is well-loved by all of its residents and will be sure to gain in value.