There are a lot of misconceptions as to what a homeowners association actually does. Depending on your preferences, an HOA can either be a great asset or a great pain!
When you buy a home, there's a newfound freedom that you didn't have before. There's no landlord telling you that you can't paint the house whatever color you want or install a fancy new patio cover.
That is until the HOA steps in and tells you they don't approve of that lime green color and your patio cover detracts from the well groomed look of the community.
Wait a second. I own this home. I can do whatever I want to it! Can the HOA actually prevent me from making the modifications I want to make?
Unfortunately, they can. Homeowners Associations have rules (covenants, conditions, & restrictions) commonly referred to as CC&Rs on what the home owners can and can’t do to their homes.
Pros of Living in an HOA Community
The purpose of living in a HOA are the benefits of having well maintained parks, pools, streets, curbs, sidewalks, and front yards.
Remember that neighbor's home that keeps getting forgotten by the city code enforcement? The home with the trash, run down boat and inoperable vehicle with the expired tags parked in front of your house.
HOAs prevent you from having these type of problems.
Imagine purchasing your new home and having your new neighbor move in with farm animals, loud music, and/or an unexpected mechanic shop in the driveway. Even if stuff like that doesn't bother you, it certainly will affect your home's value when it's time to place it on the market.
Cons of Living in an HOA Community
HOA rules are subject to change.
HOA rules are not set in stone. They are a living entity. It’d be a good idea to ask neighbors how they enjoy their association and as to whether or not they know of any significant changes in the works.
HOAs also have monthly or yearly dues. These can range anywhere from $100 per month all the way up to $400 per month depending on the community. You may be able to afford the payments on your home, but make sure you are taking into account the additional monthly cost from the HOA fees.
Summing it up
HOA’s boil down to lifestyle
If you're considering living in an HOA, make sure you've done the following:
- Evaluate if the ongoing fee is going to be an issue
- Is it worth what you're getting in return?
- Are you ok with the rules (CC&Rs)?
- Do you think another home buyer will be ok with it if you decide to sell down the road?
If you want your voice to be heard or if you’d like to take a more proactive role in your neighborhood, consider joining the board to implement your ideas.