House hunting, open houses, an online search can be fun and thrilling for first time home buyers. Then you should consider the pros and cons of a homeowners association.
I’m sure that you already had a good chance of encountering Homeowners Association properties while searching for your forever home.
Are you thinking about moving to a new home with Homeowners Association?
What is an HOA, how does it work?
- a homeowners association is a group of homeowners in a community that has a formal agreement to manage common areas and share the associated costs. Homeowners’ associations are also like governments in some ways: They set rules for the community, hire vendors, pave roads, repair roofs and fences, and handle disputes.
The HOA lays out all the regulations in a legal document called a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. They set the rule on how members/homeowners must adhere when:
- Erect a fence, shed or outbuilding (if permitted at all)
- Exterior paint and trim colors
- Mailbox size and color
- Kind of landscape features allowed
- Maintenance of landscaping
- Rules about keeping animals and livestock
- Window treatment colors (usually in condominium or townhome communities)
Failure to comply with these rules may subject to written warnings and also can lead to financial penalties.
It may look and sound rigid but there are Pros and Cons why Homeowners love living in a community with HOA!
Someone else is taking care of the lawn and other outside upkeep.
When you live in a community of Single-family homes, HOA handles a lot of exterior upkeep. Homeowners don’t need to worry about mowing the lawn or doing the landscaping. Trimming trees, bushes to pest control.
HOA can also handle:
- Heating and air-conditioning systems, electrical systems, plumbing, lighting, elevators, and security systems in common areas.
- Trash pickup
- Snow removal
- Cleaning and painting building exteriors
- Painting and cleaning common interiors, including floors and walls
You will enjoy access to amenities.
HOA usually offers community amenities such as a pool, a fitness center, parks, children’s play areas, and security gates.
Your maintenance costs will be shared.
HOA dues are designated for the maintenance of shared spaces. This includes community lawn care (but not for your own yard), community snow removal (but not for your own property), and upkeep of common areas like the pool or the fitness center.
You’ve got a built-in mediator.
If your neighbor decides to scoff at the rules and takes up chicken-keeping, rendering your backyard less than fresh smelling, you don’t need to dispute this action with your neighbor. Instead, you can contact the HOA and let them earn those monthly fees. They will reach out and resolve the issue on behalf of the entire community.
You can get to know your neighbors.
Any chance you get elected or you’re elected to serve on the HOA board, you get more acquainted with your neighbors, and the best part is you might even make new friends!!
The fees though.
They are also called dues, HOA fees are mandatory and they can be expensive, depending on the community and what the fees include.
The fees can range from as low as $90 a year and up to $900 a month or even more. That money goes towards your association’s regular expenses and savings for future expenses (the “reserve”); the more you play, the more the association likely does in the community.
Your hands will be (somewhat) tied.
HOA’s have meticulous guidelines, particularly about homes’ exteriors.
You are usually required to submit a request before you make any exterior improvements to your property. For a freedom-loving person who cares more about personal liberty than the community aesthetic, an HOA can be a deal-breaker.
You’ll lose some of your freedom.
When you live in a community governed by HOA, you’ll have to follow rules even when you think they’re ridiculous. However, homeowners would always have the option of petitioning the homeowners’ association to change any rule you don’t agree with.
Hope these pros and cons of Homeowners Association helps you how to decide whether an HOA is right for you. If any chance there’s a home that catches your eyes and heart be sure that HOA’s declaration will be part of the disclosures. Read over the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions – or you can even ask for a printout copy if they don’t have it online.
Lastly, seatback and think of your needs, lifestyle, personal preferences, and budget. Having a community pool and a clean park in the neighborhood is always appealing but do you really need it?
In case you already have a choice, or still, on the search, feel free to reach out and I can recommend communities that have an HOA so we look at the pros and cons of a homeowner association together!