Many people don’t think much about their homeowners associations until they have a problem. Your HOA might be strict on home improvements or yard appearance. More significantly, HOAs can manage large amounts of money when they are responsible for maintenance and common community assets.
The NC Homeowners Alliance encourages you to get to know your homeowners association. Are its finances in good shape? Is it taking care of the property and planning for the future? What are its bylaws for neighborhood oversight? Is it operating transparently?
The best way to ensure good answers to these questions is through transparency and oversight by the neighborhood residents. You can take a few easy steps to better understand your own HOA.
Examine the financials
Contact your board leadership, or the property management company, and request the following information:
- Balance sheet
- Reserve study (if there is one)
- Delinquency rate
It is good to know where the HOA is spending its money. The most important numbers to look for are reserves. If the HOA is responsible for major maintenance of either common areas or housing units, there should be plans for the future.
A reserve study outlines expected repairs and maintenance along with cost. If the HOA reserves are falling below 30 percent of the study benchmarks, then there is cause for concern. An underfunded reserve can lead to big fee increases or assessments.
Know the leadership
HOA boards are elected by the homeowners. Yet many people do not even know who their elected representatives are. You should be able to contact your HOA elected leadership when needed.
Attend board meetings
Many boards will have a larger annual meeting where they discuss the budget and big items for the community. A good idea is to ask for a copy of the bylaws and covenants to become familiar with them. Are the board members following the bylaws? What are they spending their time discussing? As a homeowner, you have a right to know.
Understand what your HOA does
HOAs vary in terms of the scope of their authority and the budgets they control. Much of an HOA’s work is mundane in terms of approving contracts and working out individual challenges with delinquent homeowners. But the board members often control significant amounts of member money. So transparency is key.
Always remember -- you have every right to ask for information, understand the HOA’s governing documents and view financials.
The North Carolina Homeowners Alliance is an initiative of REALTORS®. Through the NC Homeowners Alliance, REALTORS can support the issues that matter most to the clients, friends and family.
There is never a cost to join the Alliance. We send regular updates to members on housing affordability, taxes, insurance rates and other issues. We also encourage members to contact their elected officials when there is important legislation pending at the NC General Assembly.
The NC Homeowners Alliance also encourages homeowners to get involved. Many of the most important decisions are made at the local level. That's why we provide information about issues like property revaluation and other items that are most impacted by local elected officials.
You can sign up for the NC Homeowners Alliance to receive updates. And we encourage you to identify the issue areas that are most important to you.Sign up
Understanding Property Revaluation
North Carolina law requires each county to re-appraise all property values at least once every eight years. Many counties go through this property revaluation every four years. You can find out when your county's next revaluation takes place here.
Every single property owner in North Carolina is impacted by county property revaluations. Yet, many homeowners do not fully understand the process. The NC Homeowners Alliance has created this brief explainer.
Why is property revaluation necessary?
Over time, property values change. Since property taxes are based on property values, it is important to make sure counties have accurate market value for each property. The law requires property revaluation so that the property tax burden is equitable.
What does it mean when the county sends me an updated property value?
The most important thing to remember is that the property appraisal is only the FIRST step in determining your property tax bill. An increase in property value does not necessarily mean that your property tax bill will increase. In high-growth counties, some homeowners will see an increased property value but a decreased property tax bill.
So how is my tax bill determined?
Your tax bill is set once your local elected officials set the new property tax rate. This must be done at both the county level and municipal level.
After the property appraisals and before setting a new property tax rate, local governments are required by law to first make a statement of the neutral tax rate. This rate would keep total property tax collections the same as the previous year. In counties that are experiencing property value growth, the neutral rate would be less than the previous year. In counties with property devaluation, the neutral rate would be higher than the previous year.
Finally, it is up to the elected officials to determine the new property tax rate. This action is generally taken as part of the budgeting process for the next fiscal year. Sometimes local governments will simply adopt the revenue-neutral rate. Local governments might also keep the current tax rate in place or adopt a new rate altogether.
What if I disagree with my property tax revaluation?
Every county has an appeal process if a homeowner thinks the market value has been appraised incorrectly.You will have to show that similar properties are valued less. Visit your county’s website to find out the process for your area, but don't delay, because appeals can only be made for a limited time.
Thank you for emailing Commissioner Mike Causey and asking him to oppose the insurance companies’ cash grab. There are other opportunities to help us fight back. The Insurance Commissioner is holding a virtual public hearing on December 10th. Please check either or both of the boxes below if you would like to continue to make your voice heard.Sign up
Communities across North Carolina are struggling with the challenge of housing affordability. One of the critical factors in housing affordability is housing availability.
But each community is unique. That is why community leaders in Wilkes County had to gather their own data.
The NC Homeowners Alliance partnered with the Winston-Salem Regional Association of REALTORS and Wilkes County Economic Development Corporation to fund and create an innovative study on housing in Wilkes County.
For Wilkes County, housing supply is critical for attracting employers.
Some of the findings of the study include:
- Wilkes County would need 995 additional rentals and 1,511 for-sale unites over the next five years
- The housing needs and opportunities of the county are diverse and significant, and efforts should be placed on a broad based approach to address housing.
- Nearly 10,0000 commuters travel daily into the county. These are individuals who could become residents.
- With more than 30 potential sites identified in the market, Wilkes County offers numerous opportunities with both vacant parcels for new construction projects and existing buildings that could represent adaptive reuse projects.
County leaders can now work with developers and policymakers to start meeting the demand. The report identifies opportunities for both new housing and renovation of existing structures.
You can read the full report here.
The NC Homeowners Alliance looks forward to working with other communities on housing affordability.
The NC Homeowners Alliance is proud to support our state's efforts to achieve a full Census count. Every year, more than $1.4 trillion in federal funds are allocated to states based on the census. This makes your participation critical.
This year is the first time in history that people will be allowed to respond online using digital devices. We urge you to complete your census form today.
For North Carolina, just a three percent undercount could mean a loss of nearly a billion dollars in federal funding. In addition, North Carolina is on track to gain a seat in the House of Representatives. Getting the proper representation that we deserve depends on citizen participation in the census.
An accurate census count is critical for so many issues that are important to homeowners:
- Businesses and government rely heavily on quality census data to help make important decisions related to sustainability and growth.
- Census figures fuel medical, economic and social research on communities, and inform much of our local infrastructure planning and decision-making processes – for both public and private sectors.
- Due to many variables, children are historically one of the most undercounted populations in our state. Children under five years old represent six percent of our state's population.
For these reasons and so many more, every North Carolinian needs to fill out their census forms. Please share this information. The deadline is fast approaching.
Andrew Meehan wants to volunteer 2020-08-13 13:11:33 -0400
Thank you for contacting your legislator in support of House Bill 1200. Would you be willing to take any of the additional actions below to help us ensure that this important legislation passes?Become a volunteer
Andrew Meehan published Tell Legislators to Support Homeowners and Solve Housing Crisis 2020-08-12 13:43:40 -0400
Support House Bill 1200
When Congress passed the CARES Act, funding to the states was allocated to support housing stability. The money is intended to provide grants for economically distressed citizens who are in danger of foreclosure and eviction. North Carolina is one of the few states in the country that has not yet created the housing relief program. It’s time for that to change.
We are strongly urging the North Carolina General Assembly to pass House Bill 1200: Foreclosure Prevention Grants and Rental/Utility Assistance.
Housing stability impacts every North Carolina citizen, either directly or indirectly. Foreclosure and eviction prevention have broad bi-partisan support. Tell your legislators to support House Bill 1200.
NOTE: You can edit the email below, and we encourage you to personalize your message with stories or other points that matter to you.
The NC Homeowners Alliance wanted to put the most critical information for homeowners in one place. On this page, you will find what you need to know about mortgage relief and finances during this crisis. We will update this page as needed.
Update August 13
Housing relief legislation pending at NC General Assembly
North Carolina is facing a potential housing crisis, and the General Assembly is considering legislation that would help. We have made it easy to contact your legislators today.
House Bill 1200 would utilize federal coronavirus relief dollars to create grants for distressed homeowners and renters.
This grant program is desperately needed:
- In July, one-third of families could not pay their rent and 1 in 5 may face eviction by the end of the year.
- By the end of July, 23 percent of North Carolinians were housing insecure.
- As many as one million families in North Carolina have fallen behind on their electric, water, and sewage bills.
Your communication with your legislators can make a big difference in passing this important legislation.
The North Carolina Homeowners Alliance makes it easy to contact your legislator. It will take just a few minutes, and it could make a big difference for thousands of North Carolinians.
REALTOR Champions for Homeowners
The NC Homeowners Alliance is an initiative of the NC REALTOR. Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, REALTORS have been champions for many policies that directly benefit homeowners. The National Association of REALTORS are tracking various issues here.
Federal housing agencies have clarified their policies on or mortgage relief for federally-backed loans. Homeowners can visit the links below to find out more information. Both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have loan look-up tools that consumers can use to determine if their loans are federally-backed.
Additional information can be found through the federal mortgage entities and agencies:
- US Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Freddie Mac
- Fannie Mae
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Find a Housing Counselor
Many homeowners are waiting for more information about kids returning to school in the fall. While there is no definitive answer at this time, there are various resources where parents can learn the latest information.
Census 2020: Count Yourself In
Whether you live in a rural, suburban or urban community, your response to the 2020 census will influence how billions of federal dollars flow into your community over the next decade. This funding supports programs in your community that expand housing, grow jobs, support emergency service workers and much more. Count yourself in on decisions that shape the future of your community and your country!
Complete your Census response at the Census Bureau.
You can also learn more about the importance of the Census at Home Ownership Matters.
Buying/Selling a Home
The National Association of REALTORS have created a guide for their membership concerning property transactions and other matters. If you are a homeowner with property for sale or under contract, there is useful information for you.
Does the HUD/FHFA moratorium on foreclosures cover everyone in the country?
No, the moratorium only affects borrowers with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA and RHS. This does not apply to the roughly 35% of mortgages held in bank portfolios and private label securities, but some lenders are offering relief.
The HUD notice(link is external) only applies to FHA single family mortgage borrowers and Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) borrowers. The moratorium is set for 60 days (through May 16th). FHFA has also directed(link is external) Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to do the same. Homeowners should check with their mortgage servicer/lender.
My company’s offices are closed, and I am having a hard time providing my final verification of employment within the 10 days prior to loan closing.
FHA(link is external) and RHS(link is external) are allowing verbal verification of employment – meaning your employer can provide this by phone. RHS is also allowing email verification. If you cannot get either of these, the lender will require higher reserves to cover risk.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow verbal verification when available and an email verification under certain conditions. They have also made other forms of temporary verification available in order to help with verification while social distancing.
I have heard that the FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac have raised rates and fees on borrowers with lower credit scores or smaller down payments?
These claims are not true. To date, neither the FHA nor Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have made any changes to credit scoring or down payment requirements. The only change they have made for borrowers is to allow MORE flexibility in how a lender can verify employment.
Some individual lenders are adding their own, higher standards on these products. The rational is that the cost of servicing these loans has surged due to the widespread forbearance that is taxing servicers’ resources. Under forbearance, the servicer must continue to pay PITI to the investor, but the sheer volume of forbearance to deal with the COVID-19 response is unprecedented. Since lower-credit borrowers are more likely to take forbearance and servicing is harder to get, lenders are less willing to extend this credit regardless of the FHA or GSEs’ standards.
NAR wrote to the Treasury, Federal Reserve, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency requesting that they do more to help servicers deal with the unprecedented demands on funds due to broad servicing. Improving servicing is one key to improving the flow of funds to borrowers and homeowners.
Ginnie Mae has announced the creation of a new program(link is external), that should help alleviate lender concerns and improve access to mortgage financing. The program will provide cover for lenders by advancing them the money so they can make the required pass-through payments to investors during the forbearance period. They anticipate this new program to be available in about 2 weeks.
My lender indicated that the IRS has shut down and they cannot process loans without an income verification document that only the IRS can generate. Is this true?
Luckily, there is precedence for an IRS closure based on several recent government shutdowns. Some lenders may require this document, but Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not, so this is a lender overlay.
Fannie and Freddie both issued guidance in January 2019 following the then government shutdown to note that they do not require the 4506T IRS tax transcripts at closing. Rather, they only require a request for the document be signed by the borrower. However, they do require the tax transcript be submitted as part of their post-closing review. We have asked both Fannie and Freddie to clarify and publish updated guidance given the unique challenges that the response to COVID-19 presents.
Furthermore, the IRS reopened this facility during the shutdown as it was deemed essential. We have reached out to the IRS on this point.
The NC Homeowners Alliance works on a wide range of issues for homeowners. To most effectively communicate with you, please tell us how you rank five issues in level of importance. This survey is just five questions and will take less than two minutes.
Thank you for agreeing to continue the fight against unreasonable homeowners insurance rates. The NC Homeowners Alliance will keep you up-to-date as we work to protect consumers.
North Carolina is the only state in the country that allows insurance companies to work together and set rates. As the NC Homeowners Alliance begins to work with policymakers on a better way...Take the survey
Andrew Meehan endorsed 2017-05-01 17:51:32 -0400
The NC Homeowners Alliance raises awareness of issues in state and local government that affect consumers' most important investment: their home. As part of the effort to reach homeowners, the Alliance has started a new program providing customized content to REALTORS®. This unique content can be used in marketing efforts with both clients and prospects.
Please watch the video to learn more. You can add your name to the statement below to have your agents start receiving customized content!
Getting the customized content is simple. By adding your name to the statement below below, you agree to let the Alliance send quarterly content to your Brokers in Charge. The BICs will then distribute the content to individual agents.
I agree to participate in the Homeowners Champions Program.
I would like my Brokers in Charge to receive unique quarterly content for use with agents' client and prospect lists. This content can occasionally be customized to my region on issues such as:
- Tax issues at the legislature
- Insurance regulations and rates
- Local spending on parks, roads and infrastructure
- Important zoning debates
I will encourage my brokers to distribute this information to agents.Endorse
We appreciate your commitment to the issues that matter most to homeowners. The NC Homeowners Alliance sends regular updates and education items to members on housing affordability, taxes, insurance rates and other issues. We also encourage members to contact their elected officials when there is important legislation pending at the NC General Assembly.
So that we can keep you informed the right way, please update your information with us. Let us know about your priorities as a homeowner.
Andrew Meehan Supports the Homeowners Alliance