Should you live in a neighborhood with a Homeowners Association (HOA)? Why or why not? As one of the top HOA service providers in the Charlotte Metro area, we have been asked that question hundreds of times. In this article we are going to cover the reason you might, as well as might not, want to live in a community with a homeowners association.
What is a Homeowners Association & What Do They Do?
There are pros and cons to owning a home in a community governed by an HOA, which is a nonprofit entity that is operated by a board comprised of homeowners, often contracting with a management company to manage the day-to-day operations of the community.
The HOA’s purpose is to help maintain a certain consistency, conformity, capital improvements, and conveniences for the neighborhood, with an eye toward protecting property values.
The collected assessments are used toward the maintenance of the common areas or community property, or for other services. It is not meant to be a profit-making venture in most cases.
Is living in a community governed by an HOA right for you? Know before you enter in a home purchase agreement, as your decision affects your bottom line. Here are some positives and negatives to consider as you weigh your options.
Pros of Having a Homeowners Association for Your Community
- Maintains and pays for the upkeep of common areas, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, play grounds, gathering areas, trails and club houses. These are all jobs you won’t have to consider hiring a third party to do or find time to do yourself.
- Many homeowners appreciate that HOAs often maintain higher standards for a neighborhood’s appearance, but there’s no question that you need to understand the regulations and costs in every community where you’re considering buying a home.
- HOA payments and community finances are handled by licensed bankers to ensure the highest accuracy. With a management company, associations also enjoy more payment options which include paying their assessments online with checks, credit card payments or auto drafts.
- Helps maintain or raise property values by regulating things that help keep a neighborhood looking good, such as keeping garage doors closed, no trailers or commercial vehicles left in driveways for longer than certain periods of time, no signs in front yards, etc.
- Many HOAs facilitate a neighborhood watch and hire security to monitor the area, which makes it safer overall.
Cons of Having a Homeowners Association for Your Community
- It feels as if “Big Brother” is always watching you to see if your grass is mowed to the right level, if you planted the right types of flowers in your yard, or don’t have a pet that is oversize or of the wrong breed.
- Homeowners looking to rent out or sell their residences may need to have the new potential occupant screened and approved by the HOA board, thus hindering your ability to move on within your own time frame.
- The assessments you owe is just another added expense for you to consider when factoring how much home you can afford.
- The assessments typically will go up over the years, without much warning — this is something that you should budget for in advance.
- An HOA can put a lien on your home or force a foreclosure on your property if you do not pay your assessments within a set time frame. And if you fight them in court and lose, more than likely you’ll have to also cover the HOA’s legal bill.
- A management company is often hired to help set and guide the association’s rules, which some worry is giving over control of their properties/community to a company that is managing several others and thus has no personal tie to the community.
The answer here depends on what you and your family want out of a community. For some folks an HOA makes perfect sense. Yet others could never imagine living in that type of environment. What do you think? Have you had to make that decision before? What were the results? Let us know in the chat pane belowHave more questions about HOA communities or have HOA board-related questions? We’ve got you covered, just head over to our contact page and we will be right with you.
Have more questions about HOA communities or have HOA board-related questions? We’ve got you covered, just head over to our contact page and we will be right with you.