A Homeowner’s Association (HOA) is a legal entity that is created to maintain residential communities. They have the authority to enforce restrictions and are commonly put in place in condo communities, townhomes, and other single-family housing developments.
Each HOA ranges in what they do and they are priced accordingly. Some neighborhoods will have CC & R’s (covenants, codes, and restrictions), but not an HOA (i.e. no one to enforce them). Some HOAs are run by the homeowners themselves and some are run by the homeowners with a third party management company that oversees collecting dues, handling parks and walking trails in the area, etc.
Benefit #1: Neighborhoods look great.
Homes that are in an HOA must meet the standards that are set by the association or else they could face a fine. So, you’re less likely to see unkempt yards, unappealing exterior house colors, broken down cars, or clutter outside of the home.
Benefit #2: Low maintenance.
It is common for HOAs to provide services such as lawn care and trash removal, which means you have less to maintain.
Benefit #3: Association management.
Tired of hearing your neighbor’s dog bark at all hours of the day or night? You can go straight to homeowner’s association to have them deal with the issue instead of confronting your neighbor directly to settle a dispute.
Benefit #4: Amenities.
Not all HOAs provide recreational amenities, but many do. Some of these may include a community center, swimming pool, playing fields, or sport courts.
Disadvantage #1: Fees, fees, fees.
HOAs aren’t free. They require monthly dues that are over and above the cost of your mortgage. So, when you’re out shopping for homes, make sure that you factor in the HOA fees into your monthly budget so you can be sure you can afford them. If you get behind on your HOA fees, there could be serious consequences, including foreclosing on your home.
Disadvantage #2: No casual rule-breaking allowed.
Don’t expect to get away with much if you live in a place with an HOA. Many times, they will restrict extra vehicles parking in your driveway, and sometimes trailers or RVs. In addition, if you operate a home business out of your home, you may need to check with the HOA to make sure that is ok. Even renting out a room of your home could be frowned upon.
Living in a community with an HOA is a personal decision – it isn’t right for every individual or family. Some people prefer to live in more of an independent community, so you should first do some research on what neighborhoods might best fit your needs. Want more information on HOAs? I’m happy to discuss them with you to figure out living in a community with one is right for you.