We get this question a lot. Should I try to find a home that is not in a HOA? What are the benefits of an HOA. Well, many people will tell you that paying those HOA fees is pointless and to find a home without it, but many people can also tell you otherwise. Just like anything, HOA’s have their upsides and downsides, but it’s up to you to determine whether or not living in an HOA area is right for you!
What is an HOA?
Home Owner Associations (HOA) are simply an organization in a neighborhood, community, or condominium complex that makes and enforces rules for the properties and their residents. When you buy a home in an HOA, you are required to be a member and pay a set of monthly and/or annual fees, as well as keeping up with assessments that may be brought to you.
- Amenities: One HUGE pro that everyone usually enjoys about having an HOA is the amenities that they can offer. Such as community pools, gyms, game rooms, and more! The perk of having these things within walking distance of your home can be a game changer. Maybe you don’t go to the gym as often as you’d like because it’s far and you’ll have to get up way earlier to make it. Well if your HOA has a gym, that’s no longer an issue! One of the most attractive amenities though, is a pool. Most people would love to have a pool in their backyard, but those expenses can add up tremendously! But with an HOA, you’ll no longer have to worry about that expense, and you can take your family to the pool any day you’d like!
- Reduced responsibility: Another perk of having an HOA is that a lot of work is done for you. Home Owner Associations tend to hire contractors to do the work that most people don’t want to do. This usually includes lawn maintenance, snow removal, trash pickup, etc. This not only takes out the work for you, but it makes these jobs cheaper. Instead of paying contractors each time you need jobs done such as cleaning gutters, mowing the lawn, exterior maintenance, etc., you’ll only pay a set amount per month for ALL of these services!
- Upkeep: One of, if not the best thing about an HOA, is that they help maintain and keep up with properties. As an HOA, they want to keep the value and appearance of the community in the best possible shape! While this means there will be a set of rules in place, this also means the likelihood of your property value decreasing is much lower. Another upside to having these rules is, if you have that ONE neighbor who breaks all the rules and is very disturbing, they won’t be around for long. This allows for a better overall experience within your community.
- They can foreclose on your home: This is a BIG one! Most people are very uncomfortable with the fact that an HOA has this kind of power, but just like a landlord can evict a tenant for not paying rent, an HOA can foreclose on your home. If you’re late with your HOA fees or have a significant unpaid balance, your HOA will have to decide how they’re going to get their money. While rules and procedures will vary by state, and foreclosure is a “last resort” form of collecting payments, it is highly recommended that you don’t miss any HOA fees to avoid losing your home.
- HOA’s can create assessments: The unfortunate matter of fact is that HOA’s are usually very underfunded. This results in any association to take extra steps to gather funding for their projects, and since the beneficiary of these projects happens to be the homeowners, that is who they go after for the money. These assessments can be sprung on you at any time for any reason, whether they’re building a play ground for the local children or they need to fix the roads for safety. The HOA will ask you for a set amount of the funds to make sure the job gets done. Just like we mentioned before, if you do not pay these assessments, HOA’s can take legal action such as placing a lien on your property. It’s important to take a look at your HOA’s budget before moving in to determine how much you will likely pay in monthly/annual fees as well as any assessments that may come up.
- Rules: The rules set by an HOA can be a determining factor for anyone. Unfortunately, these rules can vary from what types of shrubs/trees are allowed, what pets are allowed, and even what vehicles are allowed in the neighborhood. HOA’s are especially evil for investors because most associations will not allow the owner to rent out the property, and if they do allow rentals there are very specific guidelines in which to follow. These rules are the cause of many homeowners having a hefty fine to pay. It’s just as important to view the rules of an HOA as it is to view the budget. You want to know every in or out of the rule book so you do not rack up any fees just for throwing out a certain product or planting a specific tree in your yard,
All in all, Home Owner’s Associations can be very helpful in maintaining and increasing the value of a community. If you’re not careful, an HOA can be the reason you lose your home or have a big bill to pay each month. Our best advice for HOA’s is to talk to your Brown Home Group agent about which community/HOA would be right for you.
Brown Home Group @ Keller Williams Advantage II Realty