Everyday is more common to find subdivisions with HOAs. Some HOAs are more strict than others, and many of them require the home owners to apply for a permit before start any new constructions or make any changes to the property. If you are planning on adding a patio, a retaining wall or an outdoor fireplace (just to name a few) it is important before you start to shop around for a subcontractor, to check first with your HOA about the paperwork you will need to submit in order to obtain a permit from them. Otherwise if you start your project without their approval, they can put a stop to your project and, even ask you to undo what has been completed. Here is a quick check list that may help you once you are ready to start your project:
Contact your HOA and explain them that you want to start a new project on your property. They should be able to send you their application, tell you if there is any application fee and confirm if you will need drawings, material samples and a survey along with the application.
Once your application is completed and summited, ask them how long it will take them to process it.
Once you get approved keep a copy of the approval letter for your records. If you don't get a letter from them, it is always a good idea to request something in writing to save future headaches.
Once approved you can start shopping around for a subcontractor for your project. Keep in mind that any changes and/or additions to the original project many need to get amended to your HOA application.