ReSET Blog
Blog · August 23, 2017 · AUTHOR: Udi Dorner

Should you buy an HOA-controlled home?

The pros and cons debate of living in a housing development with a homeowner’s association (HOA) has been going on for decades. Ever since the first master-planned communities first started appearing in the 1960s, home buyers have had to decide if the advantages of an HOA outweighed some of the disadvantages. As with most aspects of home buying, the final answer is that it’s a personal preference, but there are some important considerations that should be discussed before buying a property with an HOA. Prospective buyers will be provided a document of CC & Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) which outline the specifics and they should be carefully reviewed. HOA Benefits There are many benefits to owning a home with an HOA. The same restrictions and rules that you might find limiting also limits your neighbors. Perhaps you can’t tell the difference between one beige house color and the approved beige house color, but that same rule prevents your neighbor from painting their house purple.

  • Community appearance and standards All aspects of the community will be monitored by the HOA. Not only house colors, but also landscaping, tree height, and other design elements must be approved by the HOA review board. Often the community will include neighborhood parks and greenbelts which are maintained by the HOA as well as other amenities like swimming pools, sports courts, and exercise facilities.
  • Low Maintenance Costs Depending on the HOA, often the front yard landscaping and other maintenance tasks will be handled by the HOA. These can include services such as trash, snow removal, water and some even offer cable and internet.
  • Association Management The HOA management control varies from one association to another, but all provide some level of authority over the community. Disputes between neighbors which might otherwise land in court are often resolved by a review board with the authority to make final decisions.
  • Higher Home Values The market value of homes is often higher in a housing development with an HOA than those without. The HOA will have policies in place to prevent a property or area to become neglected or unattractive. This keeps the neighborhood looking better than those without and attracts home buyers.

HOA Drawbacks Of course, this level of management can also seem oppressive at times. Depending on the rules and regulations, residents might find their personal tastes restricted on their own property.

  • Design restrictions First and foremost, the HOA will have restrictions on how the exterior of a home and the lot appear. The goal is to create a sense of unity and harmony in the neighborhood appearance. This could include something as simple as the approved house colors or as detailed as the ability to fly a flag in the front yard.
  • Parking and Street Use Many HOA rules will include restrictions on how parking is addressed. Not only the use of parking decals can be controlled, but often a homeowner will be restricted from leaving their garage door open or parking a car in the driveway. RVs are also typically restricted.
  • HOA Fees HOA fees add cost to homeownership. Depending on the amenities offered and the financial health of the HOA, homeowners pay for the activities of the HOA through monthly fees. Additionally, if the finances of an HOA are mismanaged, the owners can be assessed extra fees/costs to adjust or make large repairs. While members of the HOA are also owners and subject to the same costs, if they can’t make payments required, the HOA as a whole will have to pay.

The presence of an HOA can make a big difference in your enjoyment of a property, both positive and negative. Before buying a home with an HOA, it’s important to review the CC & Rs to ensure you are willing and able to abide by the rules, investigate the financial records and observe the effect of the HOA on the neighborhood. Then you can determine the value to you and your family. If you are unsure if a neighborhood has an HOA, your real estate agent can help you determine this and guide you by explaining the pros and cons of that particular HOA, and also answer to critical questions as: "Do I pay tax when i sell my house?". ------------------- SetSchedule has changed the way real estate marketing is viewed, by changing the way REALTORS® access clients and listing appointments. SetSchedule is a “first of its’ kind” exclusive membership based model that provides verified appointments, marketing tools, and elite invite-only networking events for its members. By blending new technologies, and thought processes with proven success methods SetSchedule had incurred record producing results unseen in the industry.

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  • B Morse says:
    There are goods and bads that go with HOAs.

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