A homeowner’s association, or HOA, is an organization within a community or subdivision that creates and enforces rules for the properties within it. Purchasing a home in a neighborhood with an HOA has both upsides and downsides. Consider the following when settling on a home within a community that has a homeowner’s association:
PRO: A clean and beautiful neighborhood. An HOA usually establishes rules to keep the exterior of homes looking their best. These guidelines can require homeowners to: keep their lawns manicured, update the paint and trim of their houses, and remove bulky or unsightly trash, furniture, or unused vehicles.
CON: Restrictions. The downside to the HOA setting guidelines on how homeowners must maintain their homes is that these rules can sometimes be very strict. Some may prohibit certain paint colors for the exterior of your home, tell you where you can and can’t park your car, or stop you from storing boats or ATVs on your property.
PRO: Low homeowner maintenance requirements. HOAs will often provide services like trash removal, snow removal, and lawn care. Community areas like parks and swimming pools will also be maintained by the association.
CON: Fees. Although it’s nice to take advantage of the maintenance services an HOA provides, it doesn’t come without a cost. If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, you will be required to pay monthly or yearly fees. There isn’t a way to opt-out of this, and depending on the neighborhood, it can get costly. Falling behind on these dues can sometimes lead to foreclosure, as well.
PRO: Your voice will be heard. Homeowner’s associations hold regular meetings where they discuss things like rules, dues, and events going on in the community. These meetings are open to the residents in the neighborhood, and you can even join the board so that you may have a say in decisions that are made.
CON: The higher-ups must approve your requests. While having a say in decisions the community makes is beneficial, it doesn’t mean you’ll always get what you want. Additions to your home and changes to current HOA rules must be requested to the head of the association who has the power to deny requests for any reason.
Title insurance companies are used during the process of settling on a home, and are well educated on the way homeowner’s associations operate. If you’re still unsure about whether you want to purchase a home in a community with an HOA, contact the professionals at Armour Settlement Services for friendly and reliable help during this process.