Home Owners Associations: Deal Maker or Deal Breaker?

If you’re looking to purchase a home you will undoubtedly have a laundry list of factors to weigh before making your final decision. Certainly price, size, location and style are all factors you will give serious consideration to. For some homebuyers however purchasing a home or condo in a community with a homeowners association can either be a deal maker or a deal breaker.

What exactly is an HOA? An HOA is basically a board comprised of homeowners, often contracting with a management company to manage the day-to-day operations of a particular community. The purpose of the HOA is to help maintain conformity, consistency and ensure that improvements are carried out in the community. These things are done with the view to ultimately protecting property values.

So what are some of the Pros and Cons of an HOA? We’ve listed our top three.

Check out our list below!

Pro: HOAs often maintain high standards for a community’s appearance and that’s great. An HOA will maintain and pay for the upkeep of common areas, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, playgrounds, common gathering areas, clubhouses and even handle pest control. Maintaining a home can be a handful so it’s great to know that you won’t have to worry about mowing the grass or other chores that eat away at leisure time. Many HOAs facilitate a neighborhood watch or hire and monitor security, which makes for a safer community. Living stress-free is one of the best perks of living in an HOA community.All of this helps to improve your quality of life.

Con: It will cost you. If you move into an area with an HOA, membership is mandatory and so are the monthly, quarterly or annual fees.  HOA fees can be pretty steep so when you are searching for your new home, knowing the fees can be as important as knowing the asking price. Fees vary greatly depending on the location and the amenities offered. That is definitely something you are going to have to keep in mind, especially if you’re working with a set budget.

Pro: HOAs help keep uniformity in the community. Each HOA is going to have its own conditions and restrictions, basically outlining what you can and can’t do within the community. For instance, your next door neighbor can’t just simply decide one day to add an extra two bedrooms to their house or paint his home orange. This really helps maintain a certain feel and keep the community looking desirable to other potential buyers.

Con: HOA restrictions can be onerous. Yes, there’s a lot of red tape. Making an addition to your home or a modification, even a minor one can get slowed down because it has to be approved by the HOA. It’s important to know what you can and can’t do.

Pro: An HOA can act as a mediator on your behalf. Yes, an HOA can help reduce conflicts and unpleasant exchanges. If your neighbor is doing something that’s getting under your skin, you don’t have to confront them yourself. Report them to the HOA and let them handle it.

Con:  Litigation. An HOA can impose a fine on you if you are in violation of the rules and homeowners associations have been known to commence litigation to evict and foreclose on a homeowner for failing to pay their dues. Disagreements are common between homeowners and HOAs regarding community issues such as unequal rule enforcement and rule interpretations and can also end up in court.

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