Congratulations! Your dreams of making home improvements are about to become true.
This process begins by submitting a Request for Architectural Modifications to your homeowners association's Architectural Review Committee, whose members are put in place to help your landscaping and exterior design ideas align with the common goals of the community.
This may seem like an unnecessary step, but the good news is that the tools for developing the most appropriate proposal are readily available to you through your HOA.
IKO Community Management would like to share some guidelines to make this process as smooth as possible:
- Do your research – Before you start planning your renovations, take a look at your community’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CCRs). This will help you understand what guidelines and restrictions exist before you bring your written request to the ARC.
- Variances are only allowed under extreme conditions - In most communities, while the stated guidelines may be open to interpretation, in order to preserve the overall desired look of the community the guidelines must be followed. Even if your plan doesn’t seem like a big change, your neighbors and potential buyers may not have the same opinion.
- Meet with an architect or designer – Sit down and go over the community’s CCRs with them before submitting your proposal. Highlight the sections that relate to your plans to make sure your design falls within the guidelines from the beginning.
- Speak with your neighbors – Each situation is unique, but it may be a good idea to talk to someone who's gone through this process before. They might have insight into what did and didn't work with the HOA’s ARC.
- Be patient - Most Architecture Review Committees meet monthly to discuss and review applications for architectural modifications (ACC). Like you, these volunteers live in the community and want to make sure it develops as beautifully as possible. If your request gets denied, take it in stride. Try to work with the committee to amend your proposal for acceptance.
- Collaborate – While you ultimately have the right to make modifications to your home, take advantage of the knowledge and experience of those who have done this before. You HOA’s Architectural Review Committee has the keys and vision for your community and will help ensure that your plans align with this vision.
- Remember - Your HOA’s Architectural Review Committee is a gatekeeper. Appropriate proposals are permitted, but your neighbor’s polka dot house (or this one) is prevented before potential buyers are giggling as they drive by. While it might seem that the rules and restrictions are blocking your artistic vision, the common goal of your community is to preserve the integrity for current and potential residents.
One of the many benefits of living in a planned community is the aesthetic cooperation of homes. The improvements benefit everyone in your community, and we encourage everyone to improve their homes once in awhile. Remember: The common appeal of your community relies on the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions set in place by your HOA from the first groundbreaking. The community already has these guidelines in place, the Architectural Review Committee's job is to make sure those guidelines are followed.
This process is worth the time and effort! Your HOA’s Architectural Review Committee wants to help preserve and grow the value of your home and neighborhood while letting you express yourself through landscaping and exterior decoration. Come prepared, positive, and ready to get to work when submitting your request.