Developers or builders form home associations when buyers purchase a multi-family building, a condo building, or a traditional single-family subdivision. According to Bankrate, there are actual documents that the builders record with the county. Some rules are put in place as to what can be done with the property physically like the structures on it, the materials, what types of fabrics, what kind of uses and the like.
Those rules apply to that land, and they can not be changed by individual owners, so it can only change as a group. The builder or developer creates this at the beginning and is the person in charge, usually until a majority of the properties are initially sold. Then at some point, the builder or developer turns over the ownership of the homes association to those property owners. Each individual property owner has one vote, there is an annual meeting, and sometimes there will be more meetings. According to HOA management, the homeowners then elect a board of directors and those people go about carrying out the directives of the developer.
A set of bylaws also applies and talks about when the annual meetings will be, what dues will be, how dues will be assessed, collected and determined. The contributions are how the association operates. Sometimes you will have a management company that will receive the dues and does that paperwork instead of one of the individual homeowners. So, it is not the welcome wagon. The homes association is not just some nosy neighbors. They have teeth in that there are covenants that run with the property and they can enforce those covenants.