While searching for your new home, you will most likely hear the acronyms HOA (Home Owner’s Association) and POA (Property Owner’s Association) being used by your real estate agent. Most of us are familiar with HOAs, but may not completely understand them, and you may have never heard of a POA. Let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between the two associations.

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What is an HOA?

An HOA is an organization of homeowners in a subdivision whose main purpose is to preserve the maintenance of the neighborhood and enhance the homes and property. HOAs are usually non-profit corporations that provide services, regulate activities, and impose fines. Residents of HOA communities pay monthly dues that are used to pay for the community maintenance and upgrades. Residents of an HOA community are required to follow set regulations that can range from specific exterior paint colors to holiday decor. An HOA is always within a neighborhood and is made up of community volunteers that are members of the association. 

HOAs bring a sense of community to a neighborhood. The association typically has a Board of Directors who are elected by the community. The board manages the guidelines and regulations of the community. The board works to improve the community and collects fees from the residents. HOAs usually have impressive  amenities like swimming pools, basketball courts, dog parks, and clubhouses. 

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What is a POA?

A POA is usually a mix of property types that can include single-family homes and businesses. While HOAs focus on creating a sense of community with activities and upkeep, POAs' goals are very different. POAs are focused on community education within the real estate industry. A POA often starts with the development of an area like a golf course. They care less about the shade of green you want to paint your exterior and more about long-term improvement to the community as a whole. POAs also differ from HOAs as they represent more than just the homeowners, although their role can seem similar to an HOA.

POAs generally manage community amenities and enforce rules as an HOA does, however, they do more than an HOA and their focus is different. POAs often hold a monthly or quarterly meeting, as an HOA does. However, their meetings are focused more on local development plans, networking, and education opportunities for real estate developers and investors. The area that a POA oversees is much larger than just the community. It can include multiple towns or it may just focus on part of a town. The focus of a POA is much more than just property value and community aesthetics. Instead, its attention is the long-term development of both businesses and community which helps with the overall property value. 

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The major differences between an HOA and a POA are the focus, goals, and the area that is governed by the associations. To put it simply, POAs goals are generally focused on the larger community’s long-lasting developments than an HOA. An HOAs focus is more on micromanaging the appearance of the community and bringing a sense of community to the neighborhood. 

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Khalil El-Ghoul

"Thanks for reading! I’m passionate about empowering home buyers and sellers with professional advice and unbiased information, throughout the real estate transaction. Unlike most agents, I always put clients first. When it comes to negotiating, marketing homes, and sealing the deal, I’ve got the experience and knowledge you’re looking for. If you have any questions about moving to VA, D.C., or MD, don’t hesitate to reach out."