When you are in the market for a new home, one of the considerations that you will need to take into account will be whether or not your house is part of a homeowners association, also called an HOA. For many buyers, this can be a deal breaker one way or the other – for those looking for a uniform-looking community with neighborhood functions, an HOA is a must have. For others that want the freedom to customize their home as they choose and don’t want the interference of an organization in their community, an HOA is a definite no-go on their new home list.
For those that are uninitiated with the world of HOAs, the decision can seem overwhelming. There are pros and cons to being a part of a community with an HOA so we are here to help you get familiar with what a new buyer should know before they make an offer or pass on a home that is in an HOA neighborhood.
Pro: HOAs maintain the common areas
One of the biggest perks of living in an HOA community is the fact that the common area maintenance is handled by the organization. Areas like the pool, walking trails, clubhouse, and tennis courts are maintained with the fees that you pay as a member of the association. The level of maintenance can vary depending on the size and type of the community.
Con: You have to pay recurring HOA fees
Membership is mandatory when living in an HOA neighborhood as are the dues. The fees can change over time and there isn’t always much you can do when the fees go up. Some communities charge monthly while others charge their residents annually. It’s crucial to factor in these charges with your monthly budgeting before your buy.
Pro: HOAs help keep a uniform look
With restrictions and regulations in place as part of each HOA, you don’t have to worry that your neighbor will paint their home neon or let their lawn get overgrown. The goal is to help maintain property values in the neighborhood buy observing appearance standards throughout.
Con: Approval for changes can be hard to get
Whether you’re adding an addition to your home, changing your landscaping, or painting your exterior, plans for the changes often must be submitted to the HOA board for approval. This can slow down your timeline and limit you as to what you can and cannot do to your home.
Pro: HOAs mediate problems on your behalf
If you have an issue with a neighbor leaving a disabled vehicle in their driveway for weeks, the HOA will contact them regarding their rule violation and kindly request their cooperation with removing the car. When a rule violation is not addressed by the homeowner, the HOA will get involved with a sterner address to the resident so you don’t have to.
Con: HOAs can be overbearing
While the goal of the HOA is to maintain neighborhood order and property values, many buyers consider the lack of freedom in an HOA community to be restrictive. Some would rather have the freedom to make decisions about their home, the number and type of pets they have, and the activities they do at their home without the involvement of a board.