HOA Pros and Cons for Homebuyers: Guide for Beginners

Kate Morova
August 10, 2021

If you are a hopeful homebuyer, there is a big chance you will encounter an HOA property. At the same time, house-hunting: Statistics tell us that homeowners associations (HOAs) are in charge of almost 60% of recently built single-family properties — and 80% of houses in new subdivisions. So we will dive into HOA pros and cons.

HOAs can look too picky due to how they are represented in the news. Like when a Texas HOA clashed with an Army sergeant in May over how and when he showed off an American flag in the yard.

But homeowners associations have advantages, particularly for those searching for a low-maintenance lifestyle, like recent retirees.

Let’s sort through the noise of HOA pros and cons and see if this type of commitment is the right fit for your needs. But first, let’s see why we have homeowners associations in the first place.

Why do HOAs exist?

The majority of newer subdivisions (developed in the past two decades) have a homeowners association. The local government also has rules and regulations for what is allowed and not built within subdivisions. The homeowner’s associations enforce neighborhood rules they make, and they also take care of common areas in the said neighborhoods. Almost all new subdivisions will have a typical park, walking areas, roads, etc., that the local government doesn’t maintain. Someone must maintain that property, and the homeowners association is in charge of this.

HOA PROS

The HOA Takes Care of the Commons Areas

If you choose to reside in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association, you can rest assured that the common areas will be taken care of. That goes for the sites mentioned above, as well as playgrounds and dedicated barbecue locations. And you will get a bit of culture, too, due to community centers.

You and your loved ones can enjoy these places and not think about maintenance.

The HOA Takes Care of the Home’s Exterior

Some homeowner’s associations even take care of the facades of the houses in their jurisdictions. If your home needs a power wash or a roof fixed – the local HOA is on it!

That means your family will potentially be saving up to thousands of dollars. Bear in mind that the homeowner’s association will be ready to tackle just some of the upkeep. For instance, you will probably need to take care of new windows and doors yourself.

The HOA Mediates Between Neighbors

Have an issue with a neighbor? The local HOA is here at hand to help you resolve the issue peacefully. The HOA can take over the task of overlooking your negotiations after you encounter a problem.

For instance, if a resident violates a rule, you don’t have to risk rising tensions – just get in touch with the HOA and ask if they can act as a buffer and third party. You will see your problem resolved in a fast and mature manner.

HOA CONS

Paying Monthly Homeowner Association Fees

That repair and maintenance money has to come from somewhere, no? If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, then expect to cash out for some HOA fees, as well.

The sum of these fees will depend on the amenities offered and planned in your area. They can go from a hundred dollars per month to several hundred dollars. And these expenses aren’t fixed – they can go up and down, depending on the economy. While the HOA depends on collecting funds from the community as well, it can raise the required fees if the voluntary ones aren’t met.

Defaulting on Homeowner’s Association Expenses Has Consequences

Don’t think you can skip out on these fees. Doing so can put you at risk for foreclosure. And yes, your state may ban such moves, but you still need to pay up for what you owe.

Common areas depend on community effort and on everyone paying their fees. If the homeowner’s association can’t collect the needed funds, the common areas cannot be adequately maintained, and the obligatory price may increase even more. Another downside would be letting go of the property manager, which is another move that would substantially bring down the quality of living in an HOA-governed community. That can bring down real estate prices, as well.

The HOA Imposes Rules and Regulations

Paying homeowner’s association expenses can look like a minor inconvenience, mainly if the monthly payment is affordable. But even if you’re okay with the set fee, know that the homeowner’s association sets regulations concerning the appearance of your property. They can say what color you are allowed to paint your doors and windows and what kind of door and windows you may have. The HOA may even put limits on exterior decor and the number of cars permitted for parking in the area. Going against the neighborhood regulations could lead to a hefty fine.

Conclusion

We left you with some basic HOA pros and cons to think about before buying a home, but we also encourage you to take a look at our blog. We tackle a lot of topics of interest for budding homeowners.

And bear in mind – even if the real estate you are looking at is excellent, a lousy homeowner’s association with many issues can bring down your real estate’s price one day if you decide to sell.


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