HOAs have grown in popularity over the past couple of decades, especially in newer master planned communities. Many homeowners turn up their noses at the idea of living in a neighborhood with an HOA, but they aren’t all bad. It’s important to do your due diligence in understand the rules and regulations of the HOA before you buy a home.
Here are 3 pros and cons of having a home in an HOA:
Improved Curb Appeal
The main idea of an HOA is to prevent “that neighbor” from driving down home values by decreasing the curb appeal of the neighborhood. Depending on the neighborhood this can be as simple as planting flowers at the entrances to regulating paint colors for the houses in the neighborhood. Overall, these regulations will keep the neighborhood looking nice and prevent houses and lawns from looking dilapidated. Before you buy, review the bylaws of the HOA and decide if you are willing to living within the guidelines.
Many HOAs include amenities, such as a neighborhood pool or tennis courts. Your real estate agent will help you understand what the HOA dues include and from there it’s up to you to decide the value. Condo and townhome HOAs often include utilities such as water, trash, heat and electric. Other master planned neighborhoods give homeowners access to gyms, parks and trails open only to members of the association. Each HOA is different, so read the fine print.
With an HOA you have a third party to help you handle neighbor disputes, such as issues regarding fences or overgrown trees. Since the HOA is the enforcer of the rules you are able to go to them to report anything you believe is a violation. If handled properly, this will help you maintain positive relationships with your neighbors and a nice looking neighborhood.
Expensive HOA dues
Each association is different and HOA dues can range from $50 a month to several hundred dollars a month. Is the cost worth it? That’s up to you and how much you value to amenities provided for the cost or how important it is for you to live in a certain neighborhood. As an important side note, overdue HOA dues can result in a lein on your home which may lead to foreclosure. Carefully examine your budget to ensure you can cover the dues.
As a way to maintain the overall look and feel of the neighborhood, many HOAs put design restraints on homeowners looking to do home improvement projects. These restraints range from a preselected list of exterior home colors to seeking approval to any and all home projects, both interior and exterior. Some HOAs even go as far as telling homeowners what color of flowers they’re allowed to plant. As with everything else, each association is different and you have to decide what you are willing to live with.
One of the biggest downsides of an HOA is the potential for unexpected maintenance. HOAs can issue warnings for exterior issues such as chipped paint, browning lawns or leaning fences. Not fixing the problem generally results in a fine, however an unexpected expense, such as painting the exterior of your home, can really throw your budget off track. These types of warnings are issued to keep the neighborhood as a whole looking nice, but they can be hard to manage when you’re wallet isn’t prepared to handle it!
Do you prefer a community with an HOA or without? Whatever your preference, if you’re ready to find your new home, reach out today to get started!
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