Neighborhood Association vs. Homeowners’ Association, What’s the Difference?

Lilyana Houses

If you are a longtime homeowner, you may be familiar with the concept of homeowners’ associations and neighborhood associations.  If you are shopping for your first home at Lilyana by Hillwood or elsewhere, you may not know the difference. Often used interchangeably and incorrectly, these similar terms can be misunderstood. Let’s compare neighborhood associations vs. homeowners’ associations for their similarities and differences.

What is a Neighborhood Association?

A neighborhood association, sometimes called a civic or a community association, is a voluntary not-for-profit organization, organized by residents of a specific area.  The purpose of these groups varies depending on the intent of its organizers.

These organizations are strictly voluntary and are typically open to anyone who is interested in being involved in the community, including renters and also local business owners, law enforcement groups, schools, churches, businesses, etc.  The association board, made up of volunteers, runs the entity and creates committees to handle issues such as social events, neighborhood crime, beautification, and other areas of concern. Dues for such an organization may be between $20 and $100 per year depending on the benefits members receive.

Many neighborhood associations are formed to bring residents of an area together socially and also to represent the community in dealings with the local government. The group will often take on projects to improve the neighborhood’s appearance or augment government-provided maintenance of local parks and natural areas. Of course, these efforts are totally voluntary and their success depends on the level of participation achieved within the community, which varies greatly.

Sometimes neighborhood associations become an outspoken advocate for or against a particular community issue. For example, when the City of Dallas wanted to change zoning laws on a property it owned in a community, a local community association got involved to oppose this change. The group tried to publicize the drawbacks the change would cause for the neighborhood, encouraged residents to contact their elected officials, and circulated a petition opposing the rezoning. Their efforts ultimately failed.

What is a Homeowners’ Association?

What is a homeowners’ association (HOA)?  An HOA is an organization in charge of governing a neighborhood or community.  In most cases, the association provides services and maintains many portions of the community in exchange for monthly or annual dues.

HOAs are private entities led by a board of directors. Sometimes, homeowners can become members of an HOA when they buy a home in an HOA community. In exchange for the benefits and privileges provided by HOA membership, the members are asked to comply with the organization’s rules.

These rules are in place to create harmony within the community and also to ensure that the integrity of the neighborhood’s aesthetic is maintained. HOA guidelines govern items such as home color, fence height, setbacks, home and landscape maintenance, and other concerns that affect the appearance of the community. These regulations protect homeowners’ investments by preventing a rogue resident from painting their home a garish color or letting their fence deteriorate into a pile of matchsticks. Neighborhood associations do not get involved in these types of issues.

Many master-planned communities in Texas use HOAs to manage the neighborhood and maintain the communal facilities that are on-site. For example, the new home communities developed by Hillwood Communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston areas have homeowners’ associations in place. The HOAs in these developments maintain the neighborhoods and provide an amazing array of services for homeowners.

Managing the daily details of large communities is a full-time job and too much to ask of a volunteer board. For communities like these, an HOA management company handles the daily administration while the board serves as overseers. The services provided by HOA management companies are first rate and residents can rely on these professionals to keep their communities looking great and running like a well-oiled machine.

What do HOAs at Hillwood Communities Do?

The homeowners’ associations that take care of Hillwood’s master-planned communities provide amazing services for homeowners. The HOAs at our properties maintain the resort-style pools, amenity centers, and sports courts that are exclusively for the use of our homeowners. The HOAs at some of our communities also support additional services like front-yard maintenance or a community garden. HOAs at our bigger communities run robust lifestyle programs that allow resident to enjoy scheduled activities and events with their neighbors. Of course, the amenities and HOA dues vary by community and not every community has every amenity.

The HOA is responsible for maintaining the sparkling pool, pavilion, outdoor kitchen, parks, and landscaped common areas at Lilyana by Hillwood, our very popular community in the fast-growing Celina, TX within Prosper ISD. Exciting news: we just finished a new amenity! Bluebonnet Park recently opened and features a covered pavilion, bocce ball and sport courts, gas grills, and a deluxe play area for children!

Frequently Asked Questions about HOAs

What is an association fee?

That depends on the type of association.  A neighborhood association fee is a membership fee in a voluntary neighborhood organization.  A homeowners’ association fee is the cost that homeowners pay for the maintenance and upkeep of the common areas of their community.  Examples include maintenance of swimming pools, landscaped common areas, outdoor kitchens, pavilions, sports facilities, fitness centers, clubhouses, and other similar amenities.

How often do you pay HOA fees?

This depends on the HOA. Some ask that you pay monthly while others have a yearly or bi-yearly payment. HOA fees at Lilyana are $805 per year. This amounts to far less than you could expect to pay for a membership in a country club, or for annual upkeep of a home swimming pool.

Are HOA fees included in mortgage payment?

No, HOA fees are not included in your mortgage payment. HOA fees typically are paid directly to the HOA itself or to the HOA management company. FirstService Residential manages the HOA at Lilyana.

Come See the Amenities at Lilyana by Hillwood

Still not sure of the difference between neighborhood association vs. homeowners’ association? Drop by Lilyana for a visit and we will explain! Take a look at our beautiful community of gorgeous new construction homes and all the fantastic amenities you can enjoy as a homeowner. If you prefer, take a virtual tour or contact us online.