A quality renovation can produce a high-end product that brings in a hefty profit. But let’s be real: flipping a house isn’t easy—it can be full of risks and unknowns. Will you uncover termite damage beneath the floor boards? Do the soffits in the kitchen above the cabinets contain ductwork, or are they simply filling the gap between the cabinets and the ceiling? Is the pool in good condition, or will it need to be resurfaced?

Although flips can come with many unknowns what you can prepare for are the rules and regulations of your community’s homeowners association (HOA). While your HOA’s ordinances are intended to help the neighborhood maintain a consistent appearance, they may present issues that could impact your design and overall finished product. So it’s best to educate yourself about your particular HOA before work gets underway.

If certain aspects of your flip aren’t consistent with HOA rules they’ll typically send a written warning regarding the violations and provide deadlines for you to perform the fixes. If you don’t correct the problems in a timely fashion, the HOA can levy fines.

Here are two more aspects of your property that are likely to be regulated by an HOA.

Exterior Designs

You won’t find many, if any, HOAs that won’t require you to keep the exterior of your home similar to those in the neighborhood. That can mean certain restrictions on the use of exterior colors. You may also require approval from the HOA board to make changes like adding a deck or patio to your property.

Landscaping

Many HOAs perform landscaping in shared, or common, areas of the community so that it maintains a neat and consistent appearance. In areas like park spaces, playgrounds, and along walking paths, an HOA may cut grass, mulch, and trim trees. Some may even edge your front lawn where it meets the sidewalk.

The HOA is likely to have rules for how you maintain and enhance your landscape, and although your flip may be in progress you must still abide by the ordinances in place—like how often you cut the grass. When you go to beautify your landscape, the kinds of trees and bushes you plant—and in some cases the color of mulch you use—may be regulated.

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