Should You Get A Home With An HOA?

Posted on: 18 July 2018

If you're looking at single family homes, you may be looking at neighborhoods that have Homeowner's Associations. Homeowner's Associations have a bad reputation, but they aren't all bad. If HOAs were terrible all the time, they wouldn't exist. HOAs exist for a reason: to preserve the value of your property. There are both pros and cons to dealing with one.

An HOA Will Charge Fees But Raise Property Values

Before you place an offer on a home with an HOA, you should find out how much they have historically charged for fees. Do keep in mind that the HOA can change the fees at any time; if you want some measure of control over this, you can attempt to get on the Board of Directors after you purchase your home. 

At the same time, an HOA's fees are going to improving your property values. These fees go to common space improvements and ensuring that everyone in the neighborhood "follows the rules." Without an HOA, a property can quickly fall into disrepair.

An HOA Will Enforce Rules, Both On You and On Your Neighbors

An HOA is a double-edged sword. Not only are they going to ensure that your neighbors don't break the rules, but they will also ensure that you don't. That makes it very important to know the HOA's guidelines, which you can get from your real estate agent.

Consider an HOA that rigorously enforces lawn care services. If you want to look at lush, green lawns, and don't want your neighbors creating patches of dead grass, this is great for you. On the other hand, consider an HOA that doesn't allow pets of certain breeds. If you have a pet of that breed, it's not going to be the HOA for you!

An HOA Can Be Unpredictable, But You May Be Able to Get Involved

Many of the "horror" stories about HOAs involve the Board of Directors making decisions that the homeowners just don't like. An HOA has a small number of people who control most of what it does. This Board of Directors is voted in through democratic elections by homeowners. If someone disagreeable ends up on the Board of Directors, they can quickly make the HOA unpleasant to deal with. At the same time, you have an equal opportunity to get on the Board and start trying to make the changes you want.

For the most part, HOAs just make sure that yards are trimmed, that homes are well-painted, and that everyone is happy. It's only a few HOAs that tend to spoil everything for everyone, but these do occur. You can ask your real estate agent for more information about any particular HOA.