For first time buyers, Homeowner’s Associations (HOA) might be jargon. HOA simply describes the organization, in a subdivision, condominium building or any planned community. This is where the rules for the properties are being discussed and agreed upon by the residents. Purchasing a home in a community with a HOA means you’ll automatically be part of the organization.
Being a member means you’ll have to pay certain fees, such as HOA fees, that are usually used to pay for maintenance of common areas or facilities within the community. Fee collection may vary. Some communities have a monthly fee, like for condominium buildings, while others have an annual fee. You’re also subjected to fines and penalties if you are not in compliance with the rules and regulations of the community.
PRO’S OF HOA
- Pleasant neighborhood
HOA typically handles the maintenance of the neighborhood’s homes’ exteriors. So, forget worrying about mowing your lawn! The HOA will take care of it for you. With these, it is guaranteed that your neighborhood will always look good, which will have a positive impact on the value of the properties.
- Shared Amenities
Parks, pools, clubhouses, fishing ponds, tennis courts, security gates, and fitness centers are just a few of the amenities available in your neighborhood. All of these recreational activities are available if you live in a HOA community. Another advantage is that you won’t have to maintain it! This is something that the HOA will take care of for you! Funds? It will come from the HOA’s collection of monthly/annual fees/dues.
You won’t have to deal with any obnoxious or disrespectful neighbors. If you have any problems with noisy parties, unlawful parking, or even stinky trash, simply contact the HOA and they will take care of it. When you live in a HOA community, this is by far the biggest benefit you can obtain.
- Be more familiar with your neighbors
HOA meetings are usually held in a community with a HOA, where you may meet your neighbors. Don’t worry if you don’t know many of your neighbors; there are also social events or gatherings for the community where you may meet new neighbors, be acquainted to them, chat and even become close friends!
CON’S OF HOA
- Additional expense
Aside from your mortgage, vehicle loan, and other expenditures, living in a HOA-governed neighborhood means paying additional monthly dues. The cost varies per community, and this fee might, unfortunately, raise from time to time. Even though it is used to maintain common areas and the exterior of homes, it is still a cost that you must incorporate into your budget.
- Less privacy and freedom
Because of the regulations that are established in the community, you will usually lose part of your freedom. However, as a community member, you have the right to petition the community to change any rules that you don’t agree with. It is not certain that you will win, but it won’t hurt to try right? And if you lose, you’ll have to abide by the rules.
- Approval to update your home
You cannot make any alterations to the exterior of your home without first obtaining HOA permission. Painting, renovating, adding furniture, and even planting plants outdoors will be somewhat restricted. Living in a HOA community may not be the ideal decision if you enjoy playing with or designing your outside home.
There are some well-managed HOAs and others that are badly managed. Before making a purchase, it’s a good idea to ask around the neighborhood about the management. You don’t want to be bound in a community with poor governance. You could wind up spending more for lawncare or landscaping, and you might even reconsider your plans to utilize the facilities because they’ve been made public.
ARE HOAs GOOD OR BAD?
Some HOAs are better than others; some are just plainly bad. You should ask a few questions around the area about the HOA as part of your home buying checklist. It may take some time and effort to complete your research, but it will pay off in the long run. Don’t cut corners!
A HOA community is not right for everyone. Buying a house in a HOA community is a no-no if you’re someone who is constantly renovating their home and wants complete independence and solitude. However, if you don’t expect to remodel frequently, privacy isn’t a concern, and you don’t have time to deal with the property’s exterior preservation, this is ideal for you.
At the end of the day, it boils down to your personal preferences or lifestyle. Just remember that before deciding to buy a home, doing your due diligence about the HOA community that you’re eyeing for is highly recommended.