Is Having A Homeowner Association Worth It?
Starting off with the fundamentals. Let’s say it’s your first time buying a home, and you are expressing all of your must-haves to your realtor. When all of a sudden she asks do you prefer a community with or without a Homeowner Association (HOA)? First off you think…What’s that and why does it matter? I just want a house to call my own! Believe it or not, realtors get that all of the time and should be prepared to explain the pros and cons. At least a good realtor will be, because they are more concerned with educating their clients, rather than just morphing a well-qualified home buyer into a poorly educated homeowner…
What Is A Homeowner Association (HOA)?
A homeowner’s association (HOA) is an organization in a subdivision, planned community or condominium that makes and enforces rules for the properties within its jurisdiction. The purchase of the property automatically makes the homeowner a member of the HOA and dues are required. Although some associations can be very restrictive about what members can do with their properties.
Ultimately having an active HOA helps to protect and maintain the value of the community, your home, and the overall value of your investment.
And other pro’s such as:
- Well kept amenities and facilities such as pools, walking trails, basketball & volleyball courts, etc.
- Community financial stability to maintain common areas and other responsibilities.
- Preventative measures to cut down on crime and nuisance activity.
- Create a sense of security with watch groups.
- Maintain the grounds with plush landscaping and timely lawn services.
- Unity and cultivation of community pride with neighborhood events and activities.
- Keep control of architectural preservation, managing the community’s original design.
Sounds Good, But What Are The Cons?
Glad you asked! Many complain about the expense of living in an HOA managed community. The annual cost can vary by an extra hundred and counting. All HOA’s are not created equally. Which in turn, presents just as many cons as pros. And as a result, it is all depending on what you are purchasing property for and as we all know to each is its own. One con is most certainly that the HOA fees will never go away!
As well as:
- If they do not like something or it does not agree with the look and feel of the community, you can be fined if you fail to comply with community guidelines.
- HOA’s can reject your choices of landscaping, what you can and cannot plant, etc.
- An HOA can evict you or foreclose on your home with the proper documentation, and the communities vote.
- The HOA dues can be raised at any time.
- HOA fees are not tax deductible.
- If you ever want to rent out your home? You must make sure to check with your HOA. They may not let you!
- A Homeowners’ Associations can regulate many things from the way you park in your driveway, to the height of the furniture in your backyard, even dictating things like your holiday decor.
- An HOA can be a real cookie cutter pain to deal with, especially if you are a free bird with a unique sense of style.
With the pros and cons spelled out, deciding whether or not having a Homeowner’s Association is worth the cost solely relies on what you feel to be most important in the long run. If you are simply investing in a forever home that you want to hold as much value possible or more. Then an HOA may be perfect for you! However, if you want to have land, space, and freedom to live how you want, turn your property into a cash cow. Or maybe even be uniquely set apart from the style of your neighbors. As well as live around whoever you want, without feeling like big brother is watching your every move and the company you keep. Then an HOA should be the very least of your must haves.