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How do I address HOA restrictions when building my new home?

August 7th, 2023

By Sofia Alonso

2 min read


When planning for your new home project, it is important to consider the location of your new home and if there are any Homeowners Association (HOA) restrictions that will limit your design options. As a homeowner looking to build a dream home, understanding and addressing these potential problems beforehand can save you time, money, and frustration. 

As a design-build firm, we, at AV Architects + Builders, always talk to our clients about these potential HOA restrictions when deciding the location of their project. Especially as a firm that specializes in modern design, it is important to consider as most communities in this area are typically more traditional designs. 

Here are some tips on how to approach HOA and zoning restrictions in your new home project:

1. Awareness and Review:

Ideally, your architect and realtor should be well-informed about HOA and zoning regulations when assisting you with selecting a lot. 

Before purchasing a lot and beginning spending time and money on the design, make sure you and your realtor or architect carefully review the neighborhood’s HOA bylaws to identify any stipulations that may affect your preferred architectural style or exterior materials.


2. HOA Street-Facing Restrictions:

Some HOA bylaws can be very specific and detailed, while others can be a bit vague and unclear. Their restrictions can cover aspects like siding, windows, roofing materials, fences, driveways, and more. 

Typically, restrictions are geared more towards any street-facing exterior features as HOAs often prioritize consistency and maintaining the neighborhood's aesthetics. Some HOAs even have rules regarding the appearance of smart home features, like security cameras, if they are visible from the street.

If there are restrictions that clash with your desired design, you can work with your architect to make changes to the plans that will accommodate the HOA's guidelines while preserving your vision.


3. Window Design and Materials:

If the HOA prohibits modern window designs that are generally large and unobstructed, you could consider adding divided lites or mullions to create a more traditional look on the street-facing windows. 

Depending on the HOA, you may be able to still have modern style windows on your back windows. Similarly, for siding, explore alternative options like stone or brick if certain modern materials like Nichiha are restricted.


4. HOA Preliminary Review and Approval Process:

Before submitting your plans to the county, find out the specific approval process required by the HOA. This will help you anticipate any changes needed based on their feedback before final submission. 

Most HOAs require a preliminary review of the design before it's submitted to the county. During this review, the HOA can provide feedback on your design, and you can make adjustments as needed to gain their approval. 

It is best to do this review before submitting your plans to the county in order to save yourself time and money having to re-submit if your original plans fail to pass the HOAs review. 

How to Address Design Changes during Construction

5. Size Restrictions:

HOAs may impose limits on the size of homes, preventing construction of excessively small or large houses that deviate too far from the neighborhood's standard size. Most HOAs exist to maintain a sense of uniformity throughout the neighborhood, so a highly customized home can be difficult to get approved in a neighborhood where the HOA is strict. 


How to Address HOA Restrictions for a New Home Design

Addressing potential problems with zoning regulations and HOA restrictions in architectural design requires careful planning, understanding of the guidelines, and effective communication with professionals. 

Work closely with your architect and builder to troubleshoot any issues arising from HOA or zoning restrictions. Their expertise can help you find creative solutions that comply with regulations while still reflecting your preferences.

By being proactive and collaborating with your architect and builder, you can create a home that meets both your vision and the neighborhood's guidelines, ensuring a harmonious living experience for years to come.

Reach out to us at AV Architects + Builders if you want to talk more about your design options for modernizing your new home!

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9903 Georgetown Pike Suite 201
Great Falls, VA 22066
(703) 865-5065