HOA vs COA (and what’s a POA)?

Most of us know about HOAs as homeowners associations. But as a homebuyer you may find some terminology unfamiliar…so what are these and what do they stand for?


HOAs are typically single family homes in a gated community or neighborhood.  Being an owner in these communities means that you are (automatically, whether you want to or not) a member of the HOA. You will share ownership of common areas and assets, from amenities like a clubhouse to the gates. Maintenance and repairs are paid for with HOA fees.


COAs are condominium owners associations. Similar in many respects to HOAs, to the point they often refer to themselves as an HOA, but often consisting of one or more larger buildings. You will still share ownership of common areas, which will include hallways, the lobby and roof. Other common assets such as swimming pools and gyms are also funded by your COA/HOA fees.


POAs are the lesser-known property owners associations. These community are more expansive, encompassing HOAs and COAs as well as businesses. POAs encourage long-term development so have the ability to direct zoning as well as enhancement projects. One other difference is that POA fees are typically assessed annually.


Each HOA, COA or POA aims to be safe and well-maintained, reducing the burden on owners. Before buying, ensure that you are happy with the rules and costs.

Whatever form of owners association you may find yourself looking at, the goal is to find a home that you can afford with services that you value. Be sure to read the documents carefully to understand the health of the community.

If you need a little help digesting your condo or HOA documents, you can sign up and run a free Eli Report!  We use artificial intelligence to extract what matters and let you navigate directly to critical issues.