Homeowners associations, ( most often known as HOAs for short,) can mean different things to different people. There are some that welcome the chance to live in a well-run, orderly neighborhood, while there are indeed others that may feel resentful regarding the possibly intrusive aspect of not being free to decide how they can manage their own properties. If you have been considering moving into an HOA-managed community, here are a few things to consider/ponder first.
The homeowners association rules can attract someone to a new home … or drive them away. Fact is, if you are on the fence regarding whether or not you want to live in an area with an HOA, and of course abide by the rules, it’s worth spending some time checking out that particular neighborhood to learn more.
The rules and dues of course are going to vary, but in general, a homeowner who lives in an HOA must abide by all its regulations and also pay either a monthly, quarterly or possibly an annual fee that will pay for maintenance and management of the said community.
The Homeowners Association Rules
It’s a fact that for some buyers, the idea that a management association can tell you when (if at all) you are allowed to hang a decorative flag or that you cannot park your work-truck on your property is a true deal-breaker. If you have concerns that something that is important to you, (such as running a business from your home,) might be banned by the HOA rules, then it is wise to be particularly careful and read all of the regulations before you buy a home in a community that has a homeowners association. This in no way means you can’t buy within an HOA, but you’ll need to do your homework and to find the one that has regulations that will meet your requirements.
Pros of a Homeowner’s Association
Most HOA rules are well-intended and carried out without any problems. In many cases, the rules will actually be more of a benefit than a hassle.
Because most often the rules are very strict about your home’s exterior appearance, the simple result is a nicer neighborhood. The homes tend to look more upscale and for sure there won’t be any eyesores on your block. There are many HOAs that facilitate a neighborhood watch, and also put up a fence around the community, and hire security (many times armed) to monitor the area, which has the effect of making it safer overall.
A Mediator for Neighbor Disputes
Should you have an problem about a dog barking all night long, the location of your exact property line, or crazy/loud parties, your HOA will address this. Most times, because of the penalties that are involved for breaking the rules, you probably won’t have these problems.
Higher Quality of Living
Each and every rule that is enforced in an HOA is made for the sole purpose of raising the quality of living. The neighborhood will be more safe, peaceful, and beautiful because of the rules. This will increase your quality of life.
Free Community Amenities
There are many HOAs that will use the fees collected to build and maintain community areas like pools, parks, and very possibly even recreational facilities. Because the cost of this is included in your HOA fees, using these services are most likely no extra cost to you, and they will be maintained to perfection.
Basic Maintenance Included
Very often, basic maintenance such as landscaping, plumbing, and snow removal are performed. This will reduce your responsibility and give you peace of mind should a pipe burst.
Say Goodbye to Those Pests
Most often, associations will go to great lengths in order to eliminate pests from the area. They will provide pest control. You will find no scruffy dogs running around, raccoons rummaging in your garbage, or termites eating up your things.
Cons of a Homeowners Association
Like all other element of HOAs, the fees will differ based on the services and amenities the association provides, but many times they’re pretty extreme. They’re often times considerably more than many homeowners will be able to afford.
The Constant Maintenance
The regulations and rules are nothing short of strict. In reality, they require for you to attend to the maintenance of your home almost constantly. If you don’t have a lot of free-time to give to your home’s appearance, or lack the needed funds to hire individuals that will take care of this for you, this maintenance alone will be enough to discourage some from owning a property with an HOA.
There Can Be Increased Neighbor Disputes
Even though the association can handle disputes for you, it sometimes will create them. A neighbor may argue that you are not following the rules, or possibly they will be mad at you because you called the HOA on them for something else.
Can Discourage Renters
There are very often restrictions on renting. The association may require that tenants go through a rigorous screening process and obtain board approval before you can rent to them. This alone can make it difficult for you to turn a profit on an investment property.
There may be situations where the HOA proposes to do something for the benefit of the community, but it does not have the funds needed to do so. In such a case, the HOA can impose an assessment on each homeowner in the division. To date, seventy percent of HOAs are under-funded, which translates to the odds of escaping extra fees are not in your favor.