HOA, or homeowners association, is basically a group that manages and maintains property value in a community. You can expect to see HOA in town homes, condominiums, and some subdivisions. They set rules and regulations, also known as covenants, conditions and restrictions. These restrictions usually include things like what color you can paint your house, if you can paint your house, what type of landscaping you can do, what kind of pets you can have, and so on. If you plan on buying a home in a community with HOA, take the time to learn what the rules and fees are.
HOA fees can be monthly, quarterly, or annually, and they are mandatory. Find out what the HOA fees cover. If you move into one of these communities, you can’t opt out unless the HOA is voluntary. You also want to be sure the home you are interested in already complies with HOA regulations to avoid any headaches after making the purchase.
You and your neighbors would have an equal responsibility to maintain the common areas. Common areas could include landscape, swimming pools, fitness rooms, clubhouses, parking garages, sidewalks, security gates, and the like. These amenities are among some of the benefits of living in a community with HOA. You wouldn’t have to deal with obnoxious neighbors; at least not face to face. You could take any issues like that to the HOA and they would deal with it accordingly. Complying with HOA regulations is mandatory, so it would be in the best interest of your neighbors to follow these rules, increasing your chances of having good neighbors; or at least quiet ones. If you already have one or more pets, you definitely want to read the CC&R’S (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) to make sure they are allowed in the community.
Your personality should be taken into consideration as well before deciding to move into a HOA community. Are you going to be okay with being told what to do? Buying a home on this kind of property, you would have no choice but to comply. To avoid HOA, you would need to buy a home that’s not in an association. Keep in mind that condominiums and townhomes will have HOA, so you can’t avoid the fee moving into one of these because HOA would own the outside of your townhome or condominium building.
If you do choose to move into a community with HOA, ask questions. The last thing you want to do is sign the contract without knowing what you’re getting yourself into. Homeownership has the benefit of being able to freely customize your home to your comfort and liking, while HOA communities tend to have the benefits of amenities, rules, good neighbors, and appearance. It all comes down to what kind of home you are looking for, what kind of neighborhood you want, and what restrictions you are willing to put up with. Plenty of people love homeowner’s associations, and plenty of people don’t, so think about what is best fit for you.