Many first-time home-buyers may not have heard of home owners associations (HOAs), but they’re very common for a lot of properties. You’ll almost certainly see them if you’re purchasing a condominium or townhouse, but they’re also frequent in gated communities, and sometimes exist even in regular subdivisions. Investopedia covers nine things you need to understand about your HOA (which you may be obliged to join, and to which you may have to pay dues). Review their coverage and take their advice — the most important of which may be to understand whether you want to live in a community that has one or not.