HOA Approval: 8 Tips to Quickly Get to Yes!
You own it, love it, and want to keep it looking great. So why does someone else get a say in the color scheme? Many of the millions of Americans living in a community governed by homeowners associations have found themselves asking that question. Then they wonder how to successfully get HOA approval for their project.
When you ask that question before you paint your home or installed that gorgeous new roof, it is a great question. After you’ve made a change to your exterior, that answer may be the beginning of a headache. To keep you from reaching for a bottle of aspirin, here are a few tips for getting your HOA to approve your home improvement project.
1. Review your Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions
Start by digging out the copy of your development’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CCRs.) You were most likely given these at the time you closed on your home. Don’t worry; you don’t need to read all of the Rules and Regulations, just the ones referring to areas of property restrictions. The CCRs will give you guidelines on the colors and materials acceptable in your community.
2. Speak with your Neighborhood’s Property Manager
Don’t stop there, however, because some things may have changed. Even if you have kept your binder up-to-date with revisions, you’ll want to speak with your neighborhood’s property management company about the current protocol for getting your project approved.
Call or stop by their office and ask them to explain the entire process and how long it will take to get approval. Find out what forms you must fill out and where to get them.
3. Obtain a List of Pre-Approved Colors or Get Guidance on your Options
Find out if there are pre-approved colors required or if you are free to choose materials or a color palette yourself. Ask the property manager if there is any guidance they can give you on material or color selection based on their experience. Their answer may give you more insight on how to have your plans accepted than any written guidelines. It is well worth your time to ask.
4. Don’t be a Copy Cat
You may think that if you have pre-approved colors and materials, all you have to do is pick from that list, and your plan will be approved. Not so fast. Even if you choose from a pre-approved list, your selection might not be approved. If, after the renovations, your home looks identical to your neighbors or very similar, you may have to make modifications to your plan. Look around and make sure your colors don’t mirror another home close to your own.
5. Going Without Guidance
What if your neighborhood doesn’t have pre-approved colors? Then you are on your own for choosing colors and asking that they be approved. You will have the best chance of satisfying yourself and gaining the go-ahead if you select colors that express your personality or give your home a unique look but don’t deviate too far from what is the norm for your neighborhood. The ideal color scheme stands out while still fitting in. If you keep that idea in mind as you select your color scheme, you’ll be well on your way to getting an HOA approval for your plans.
6. Add Time for the Approval Process
It can take a couple of weeks to a couple of months to get approval for your colors and design. Don’t expect to decide to renovate one day and start the project the next when an HOA governs your development. You must allow for time to get your plans approved before you begin.
7. Build Your Case
You may find that your HOA’s architectural review board has little knowledge of design and is only comfortable approving something that is very much like what is there now. If you have your heart set on stepping beyond the committee’s color comfort zone, you will have to build a convincing case.
Often showing the HOA approval committee rather than telling them is the best way to convince them that your plan is a good fit for your home and neighborhood. Photos, samples, drawings, or anything that can help them visualize the result can be much more convincing than anything you can say.
8. Ask for Approval Not Forgiveness
Ask for approval on a project before not after you complete it. On several occasions, I have given my professional opinion to resolve a color dispute. It is always much easier and less costly for homeowners to gain approval before beginning a project than after completed.
Know the Process
While the process can seem like unnecessary red tape, the primary goal of an HOA is to protect the property values of each homeowner. By enforcing the rules, the HOA helps maintain the curb appeal of all the homes in the neighborhood and the property values.
Getting HOA approval for your colors and materials won’t be too tricky if you follow these tips. If you take the time to understand the process and follow the steps, your request will be back to you in no time marked APPROVED!
Here are some related stories that may give you an idea for putting together your presentation to the committee:
- New Trends for HOAs – Polymer Shakes!
- Is Your Homeowners’ Association Holding Colors Hostage?
- Custom Tile Roofs Keep Up with Changing HOA Guidelines in Your Neighborhood
About the Author
Kate Smith is an internationally recognized color expert, consultant, and designer. She is a skilled colorist & color consultant who for the past decade has lent her expertise to DaVinci Roofscapes. Kate helps YOU select colors that you will love for many years to come.