The Ultimate Guide to Homeowners Associations

By NPMGAdmin

by Courtney Soinski

neighborhoodDo you have mixed feelings about living under the Homeowners Association?  Have you heard horror stories from friends or family about their HOA? We're here to set the record straight.  Residing in a neighborhood controlled and monitored by this type of association can have many drawbacks, but it also offers significant advantages.  Here are some pros and cons of buying a home within the Homeowners Association:

CONS:

  1. Monthly Dues.  Owing monthly dues to the Homeowners Association is just another expense when evaluating how much home you can afford.  This is something that should be budgeted for in advance because they can increase over the years, without warning.  If you do not pay your dues within a set frame time, an HOA can put a lien on your house or force a foreclosure of a property.
  2. Strict Regulations.  Any structural modifications to your home must be approved by the Homeowners Association.  You also may be charged assessment fees for improvements and modifications to the neighborhood.  If an HOA decides that the clubhouse needs a new roof or the neighborhood pool has a leak and needs to be refaced, you will be assessed a fee from the HOA to make the repair.
  3. Selling or Renting Out your Home.  When deciding to sell your home or have it rented, the potential occupant must be approved and screened by the Homeowners Association board.  The HOA also has the power to regulate how much you can charge for rent or when the occupant is allowed to move in.

PROS:

  1. Neighborhood Curb Appeal.  Homeowners Associations maintain things that would otherwise be your responsibility.  This includes landscaping, home maintenance, and roof repair.  This is great if you're busy and don't have the extra time to dedicate to maintaining your house.  You will not have to worry about hiring an outside company to mow your lawn or taking care of these services yourself.
  2. Landscaped Entrance and Amenities.  Homeowners Associations provide a well-maintained and attractive entrance to your neighborhood and often provides residents with a neighborhood pool, playground, tennis and basketball courts, golf course, and club house, all of which is in excellent condition year round.  This results in an increase of property value.
  3. "Expected" Community Lifestyle.  Living in a neighborhood governed by a HOA means you do not need to worry about noisy neighbors, trash in other yards, cars parked on the street, or loud parties that last all night.  Homeowners Associations have strict regulations and will not allow it.  They also do a good job of resolving neighbor disputes.

If you're buying a home in a Homeowners Association, always do your research first.  Before signing the purchase agreement, make sure you get personal copies of the rules, regulations and bylaws.  It is also a good idea to look at the budget and financial records from the HOA board.  This will give you a better idea of how well the organization is run.  Consider everything and then ask yourself:  Is a home in a HOA right for you?

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