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Inside the HOA Architectural Review Process: What You Need to Know

nice landscaped house adhering to HOA architectural guidelines

Thinking about adding a pool to your backyard? Want to make your home pop with a new coat of paint? Don’t act too fast—if you live in a homeowners’ association (HOA), you’ll have to get changes approved by your community’s architectural review board first. The odds are that you’ll still be able to complete your plans, but your community’s board of directors must uphold HOA architectural guidelines and OK the modifications.

There’s a process in place for that—and it’s called the architectural review process. Not sure how it works? Follow along as we answer some important questions about the architectural review process, architectural guidelines, architectural committees, and more. 

What is the HOA Architectural Review Process? 

The architectural review process is a system that ensures any changes to a neighborhood property meet the HOA architectural guidelines and standards outlined in the governing documents. This covers a wide array of modifications, from major renovations and additions to simple cosmetic alterations like paint colors and landscaping. Homeowners submit their change requests to the community’s board of directors or an architectural review committee, and these governing bodies manage the process to approve or deny the pitched plans.

The safeguard of architectural reviews is just one significant aspect of HOA living. To learn more about what makes the lifestyle worthwhile, check out our complete list of HOA benefits!

person drawing backyard living space plans to submit to HOA architectural committee

Why Do We Need an HOA Architectural Review Process?

Many people move into a managed community because of the consistent look and feel. Well, the architectural review process makes this vision possible. But that’s not all—other architectural review benefits include:

  • Aesthetic cohesion: Imagine if one neighbor decided to paint their house neon pink and another wanted to build a spaceship-themed treehouse. Without an architectural review process, your community’s home designs wouldn’t be up to the desired standards. With it, you achieve a cohesive and appealing aesthetic.
  • Increased property values: Adherence to architectural guidelines typically leads to higher property values. Homes that are well-maintained and complementary to their surroundings are more valuable and attractive to buyers.
  • Eased environmental and safety concerns: An architectural review process confirms that structural and landscaping changes don’t negatively impact the environment or pose safety hazards. For example, a pool construction proposal might be adjusted to guarantee that entry and exit ladders are properly placed.  
  • Neighborhood harmony: When everyone is on the same page regarding what is and isn’t allowed, it encourages cooperation and fosters a sense of community and respect.

What’s an HOA Architectural Review Committee?

An HOA committee is a group of volunteer homeowners who help ease some of the board’s workload. One of the most recognized committees is an HOA architectural review committee. This group is responsible for interpreting the community’s architectural guidelines and overseeing the requests submitted by other residents. This committee might also be called:

  • HOA architectural committee
  • Architectural review board
  • Architectural control committee
  • Design review committee
  • Environmental control committee
  • Alterations review committee
  • Landscape review committee

No matter the name, the overarching goal of the committee is to make sure modifications are up to community standards and protect the neighborhood’s integrity.

Committees can do so much to improve community living. Discover other popular HOA committees now. 

person painting garden fence approved by the HOA architectural committee

How the HOA Architectural Review Process Works

The architectural review process is more than just inspecting homes or turning down ideas that seem outlandish. While it varies by community, it usually goes a little something like this:

  1. Application submission: Homeowners wishing to make alterations or additions to their property complete an application with detailed plans and specifications.
  2. Application review: The board or an architectural review committee evaluates the application and determines if the proposed changes comply with the community’s architectural guidelines.
  3. Decision-making: The project will be approved or denied over the course of 30 to 60 days. During this time, the board or committee may provide feedback or suggest revisions. If denied, homeowners may be able to appeal the decision and resubmit their request.
  4. Execution: Once approved, homeowners can carry out their projects accordingly. HOA inspections could occur to ensure compliance throughout construction.

nice, tree-lined HOA neighborhood

The Takeaway: The HOA Architectural Review Process Really Works!

So, there you have it: the architectural review process shouldn’t be a buzzkill, but a safeguard for your community to be a beautiful place to live, protecting property values, aesthetics, and harmony. The next time you plan to repaint or redesign, embrace the architectural review process as a guiding light so your home can be a part of your dream neighborhood.

Feeling inspired to join your HOA board and make a difference in your neighborhood? Check out 7 reasons why you should join your HOA board.