If you have just bought a property in a planned development with a homeowners association, you may not be sure how the association will affect you. Typically, a homeowners association (also commonly referred to as a HOA) has rules about lawn maintenance, pets and other issues. These rules are in place to help protect the values of properties in the development and contribute to the overall well-being of those who live there. Here are some tips for making sure your relationship with the homeowners association is a good one.

Know the Rules

One of the best things you can do to avoid problems with your homeowners association is to spend some time familiarizing yourself with their covenants, bylaws and rules. For instance, it can be very easy to run afoul of the HOA if you put up a fence without getting approval if that is required. Not only will you have to pay steep fines if you violate the rules, the HOA may require that you make changes to comply with the bylaws and rules in the development.

Get to Know Your Neighbors

In the past, you may not have taken the time to get to know your neighbors, but if you move into a development with a HOA, it is a good idea to start introducing yourself to others. If you form a friendship with people, they may be more likely to talk to you about a problem before talking to the HOA about it, which may result in fines and other penalties. Another reason to be friendly with your neighbors is that if you feel you are being treated unfairly or want to make changes to HOA bylaws, you may be able to muster support in your favor. 

Pay Your Dues in a Timely Manner

Once you buy your home, you may put your HOA dues at the bottom of your to-do list and think nothing of paying late or forgetting to pay each month. However, you must realize how important it is to pay your dues. If you don't, your HOA may be able to foreclose on your house. Treat your dues very seriously and make sure you pay them in a timely manner.

Use the tips in this article to help you remain in good standing with your homeowners association. If you have questions, talk with some of the board members in your development, as they can provide guidance that is particular to your development.

For a local homeowner's association, contact a company such as Cornerstone Properties Inc