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Is Living In a Home Owner’s Association Right For You?

If you’re out looking for a home, you may run into few that are under a home owners association. Deciding if you want live in an HOA is a matter of preference. There are pros and cons. It all depends what you want in your future neighborhood and what preferences you want if you want to make changes to your home.

Typically, your HOA will make sure each property has a maintained front yard, they may also operate a security gate, and there may be restrictions on what you can and can’t do to your home.

Think of living in an HOA community as an agreement to maintain unity throughout all the homes in your subdivision. An HOA can require specific colors on the exterior or your home or restrict parking in the driveway.

Ask yourself these questions when determining if living in an HOA is right for you.

Do I want someone to enforce the neighbors to keep their yards clean?

An HOA can fine property owners if weeds or plants become unruly and start taking over the yard. These fines aren’t that much, maybe $50 or $100 for the first offense, but if no action is taken, the HOA can put a lien on the property ensuring a fine is paid before the house can be sold. It’s not a good thing to have a lien, or cloud on title, on your property.

If having neighbors that don’t keep up their property infuriates you, then you may want to consider living in an HOA.

It bugs me too when neighbors don’t keep up on their property but an HOA is an enforceable entity that can actually do something about it. It’s like you’re hiring the mafia to enforce the neighborhood rules…. almost.

How many people do I have over?

Some HOAs restrict parking on driveways overnight or on the street. If you plan on having lots of friends, family, or vehicles at your property often, an HOA may not be for you. Now, before I go on, every HOA is different and may not have this requirement so make sure to look in the HOA’s CC&R’s (Covenants, Codes, and Restrictions before moving in. The CC&R’s cover the HOA regulations and you should read them before you ever buy a property in an HOA. You can call the HOA number and ask them to email them to you.

Also, if you have an RV or high vehicle, I’ve seen many HOA’s restrict parking for RVs or trucks that are higher than the backyard wall.

Do I want security?

Whenever a neighborhood has a gate or some type of security, there will be an HOA company overseeing the subdivision. This keeps out a lot of riff-raff that may be looking to rob houses or vehicles.

Full-time security at the gate or patrols is reserved for higher-end properties. You usually won’t see more than a gate or no gate in most HOA communities.

Do I want a neighborhood park or community pool?

If there is a community pool, there will be an HOA. Many newer subdivisions have community pools or even water parks that homeowners can enjoy. Pool maintenance can be expensive so expect higher HOA dues if you want to live where there is a water park or pool.

HOA dues can range anywhere from around $50 a month thousands per month. Condos and townhomes, on average, have higher monthly HOA dues than single family homes. The typical HOA monthly fee where I’m at is around $100 per month when you factor single family, condos, and townhomes. Maybe it’s a bit higher if I sat down and calculated the data but after seeing thousands of HOA dues, $100 is just my mental calculation.

The HOA enforcement will vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. You’ve heard horror stories where people were fined excessively or forced to do unreasonable things with their homes due to a nightmarish HOA association. This is a little harder to research. You can always try to research the HOA name online and see if there any complaints. If there are a lot of complaints, you may want to think twice about moving where that HOA covers.

Do you have any HOA horror stories?



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