When a Minneapolis resident buys an unencumbered piece of land and constructs a private residence on that property, she is only limited in her building plans by the area's zoning and building ordinances. A person, to some extent, may use and treat her land as she sees fit to produce the use and enjoyment out of it that she desires. Many existing homes may also be purchased and used without extra restrictions; outside of planned communities, private homes usually may be changed, modified, and improved at the owners' choosing.
In planned communities, owners sacrifice some rights to the use of their properties in order to preserve the overall maintenance of the entire community. For example, whereas in an unplanned community a homeowner may paint his house whatever color he wants, in a planned community a homeowner may only be able to paint his house a color from a limited palette preselected by the homeowner's association. A homeowner's association exists to create and enforce the rules of a planned community, and for the work it performs, it often receives fees or dues from the property owners subject to its coverage.
Homeowner's associations ensure that maintenance to planned communities is completed and that residents do not violate the rules that have been established for the overall good of the community. Many people run into disputes with their homeowner's associations when they desire to use their properties in ways that go against the established rules. Real estate attorneys can assist parties in homeowner's association disputes to better understand their rights and possible legal limitations.
If a person is buying a home in a planned community, she should look at what the related homeowner's association covers and what that coverage will cost. Dues for homeowner's associations can vary greatly and what they do can also differ from community to community. Individuals who have questions about homeowner's associations may always have real estate attorneys work with them during their residential property purchases.