I confess. I serve on multiple Home Owner Association Boards. Yes I am one of those dreaded power hungry autocrats that lives to tell homeowners what they can and can not do with their property. Power trip? I can honestly say in my case, no. A desire to preserve the property values in the communities.
When I first thought about running for the board (s) all I could think about was the old Seinfeld episode when Jerry's father served on the board of a retirement condo. Basically, the running joke was the board was more interested in residents' personal lives than the well being of the community. Of the boards I serve on I really can say all the members are more interested in the preservation of the community's assets and the property values.
Board members on the average volunteer significant time working with the community management teams, working on improvement projects, making sure reserves are at proper levels, and monies are accounted for. Items and elements that preserve the integrity of the community and the value of the homeowners' property. A noble gesture. The difficult part is when the board is called into to CC&R issues. (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions). The rules by with all residents must abide.
Most of the confrontations trace back to the resident's non understanding that the community has rules. By the time the resident has been notified of the infraction and seeks to plead their case to the board, they angrily resort to one of three defenses: My Realtor told me I could. No one told me about this. or I never received a copy of the CC&Rs therefore I'm not responsible to abide by them. Which one works? NONE.
In Arizona, many of the communities are governed by HOAs which have their CC&Rs readily available. In your closing package all buyers receive a copy and sign that they have read them and agree to abide by them. A good Realtor is not expected to know the rules but should appraise a buyer that rules exist and offer to find out about any needs their client has that might be affected by the rules.
So, in order to save you a lot of anguish, when shopping for residential real estate in Arizona, make sure you understand the rules and regulations of the community before you make the offer. It will help make your home ownership experience here a little nicer.
If you have any questions about HOAs and CC&Rs please feel free to contact me. I may not have all the answers but I do know where to find them!