As many as 20 percent of American homeowners live in a community managed by a homeowners association (HOA) -- and that number jumps to as many as 80 percent for homes built in the last 25 years or so [source: Meyer]. HOAs aren't just found in single-family home neighborhoods; townhouse communities and condominiums also may have to play by HOA rules.
A homeowners association manages a neighborhood's or community's common areas, properties and expenses, such as trash collection, snow removal and upkeep of common green space or swimming pool maintenance -- all with dues paid by residents in the community. Not all HOAs are run the same way, and the rules and responsibilities are individual to each; for example, while one HOA might use fees to cover roofing maintenance costs, another HOA might not, and individual homeowners may be responsible for basic home maintenance such as roof repairs, lawn mowing, and twice-a-year window cleaning.
While your favorite glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth are the perfect one-two punch for removing everyday spots from windows, when you want to go beyond touch-ups, you need a few more tools for the job -- as well as a little free time (and a bit of elbow grease).
Before beginning your window-cleaning efforts, it's not a bad idea to let your neighbors -- and your HOA -- know your plans, especially if you'll be standing on ladders or using telescoping or loud equipment.
Let's begin inside, and let's begin on a cloudy day (cleaning windows on a sunny day can leave your windows with streaks).