Owning a home is a significant investment, and you want to ensure that the community around your house has the amenities and perks that you want. A Homeowners Association (HOA) arranges all of that and so much more for you.
What is an HOA? An HOA is a governing body, either selected from within or hired externally, that oversees community interests. Which comes along with a fair set of pros and cons. There are many things to love about HOAs, but prospective homebuyers need to be well-informed on the potential drawbacks, too.
Pros of living in a Neighborhood with an HOA
Homeowners Associations are by and large formed for homeowners of a community, it comprises people of the same neighborhood. This association is based on collectively resolving issues and concerns of the same locale. Different people are nominated and chosen to serve in different positions to work for the betterment of the community and the neighborhood.
Here are some of the benefits of living in a neighborhood with a Homeowners Association.
The HOA Manages the Commons Areas
One of the benefits of living in a community looked over by an HOA is that the organization manages the common areas. This can include landscaping, the pool area, playgrounds, barbecue areas, and community centers.
You can utilize and enjoy these spaces without having to worry about maintenance. Some HOAs also take the responsibility of maintaining the landscaping in front of each house. In such cases, the homeowners are still responsible for the landscaping within their fenced backyard.
These common areas provide community members with places to enjoy and socialize, resulting in a prosperous and friendly neighborhood environment.
HOAs Can Boost Your Curb Appeal
Well-maintained home exteriors can increase property values.
Most HOAs care for the exterior of homes within the community. They provide services like repairing or replacing siding, power washing, and maintaining the home's roof and fence and various other facilities.
You're mainly responsible for any repairs within the walls of your home but the exterior is taken care of by the HOA.
When you purchase a property with an HOA community, you are potentially saving thousands of dollars over the years while residing in your house. However, there are limits to what an HOA can do with regard to your property.
The HOA Mediates Between Neighbors
The Homeowners Association is responsible for maintaining a cordial living environment and happy communities. But if an inconvenient situation erupts between neighbors, HOAs provide intermediary services to resolve the issue in the best possible manner.
There are rules set for every community, and HOA helps implement them. They bridge gaps and settle matters amicably to ensure a warm and friendly atmosphere within the community.
Property Value Appreciation
An objective of HOA is to enhance property values within the neighborhood. Being a homeowner, you understandably want your investment to flourish. Having a well-managed HOA can definitely get the property's value appreciated in the real estate market.
An effective HOA maintains and adds to the property values through various means, not all of which are mutually exclusive. HOA improves the overall curb appeal of a community by maintaining uniformity, performing landscaping, and keeping the neighborhood clean and attractive.
Shared Sense of Community
One of the major attractions of an HOA-managed community is developing the sense of a shared and common living community all while having your own space and home. HOA living encourages inclusion among residents. Events like summer BBQs and holiday gatherings create a shared sense of community.
Cons of living in a Neighborhood with an HOA
There can certainly be some drawbacks with regard to the management and operational costs of an HOA setup.
Let's have a look at some of the financial and social costs associated with living in a community with a Homeowners Association.
A Monthly/ Annual HOA Fee
Since HOA manages the upkeep of common areas and the exteriors, homeowners who live within the community have to pay HOA charges. The charges vary, depending on the amenities, they can start as low as $100 a month and go up to several hundred dollars a month. Generally, HOA fees aren't contractual, so they can increase from time to time. The HOA's fee may increase to cope with the rising inflation and costs of maintenance.
Defaulting on HOA Fees Has Repercussions
Depending on your state, defaulting on HOA fees can put you at risk for foreclosure. Even if your state doesn't allow foreclosures under these circumstances, the amount you owe will incur until you pay. It's crucial for everyone enjoying community services to pay the dues. If the HOA is unable to collect funds from residents, it can eventually have a negative impact on property values.
The HOA Imposes Rules and Regulations
Paying HOA fees may seem a minor inconvenience when you find out that the HOA sets rules with regard to the appearance of your home. They decide what color you can paint your front door or shutters, along with the type of front door and windows you can have. The association even places restrictions on the number of vehicles you're allowed to park in the community. Violating the community's rules and regulations could result in a fine.
The most obvious drawback is the financial costs associated with HOA assessments. Living in a neighborhood with an HOA comes with a cost, in the form of regular assessments. Every HOA is different, and so is the amount you need to pay along with how often you need to pay it. It all depends on the community you are moving into. There is also the possibility of paying for special assessments, but some states, like California, impose regulations for it.
Is an HOA Neighborhood Right For You?
Homeownership is a big accomplishment, but maintaining a property can consume a lot of your time and energy. Purchasing in a community with a homeowner's association allows you to reap the benefits of homeownership while minimizing the amount of time you spend on maintenance. While there are a few drawbacks, living in an HOA can improve the homeownership experience for many people.
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