HOME OWNER’S ASSOCIATION (HOA) is an organization in a subdivision, planned community or condominium that makes and enforces rules for the properties in its jurisdiction. They are usually formed by Real Estate Developers for different purposes like marketing and management of sales over residential subdivisions. HOA membership for residential buyers is typically a condition on the purchase which a buyer has no other option but to accept it. Yet HOA provides a number of benefits depending on the community structure.
Pro 1: Beautiful neighborhood.
HOA may regulate the exterior appearance of your homes. They usually have strict guidelines on how your home should be maintained along with the rest of your neighborhood. This may include keeping your lawns trimmed, exterior paint colors and some restrictions on parking vehicles on the street. This is beneficial in a way that the association oversees not just the beautification of the community but to eliminate issues with one or two property deliberating on its market value due to uninviting appearance.
Pro 2: Enjoy unlimited access to amenities.
A community with HOA usually operates and manages common property that serves as amenities exclusively for the members, tenants or guests. They may have swimming pools, fitness gyms, parks and playgrounds, basketball courts, clubhouse and security gates.
Pro 3: Sharing of maintenance costs.
Your community maintenance is stress free (Yes community – not within your yard!). This type of services might appear free with HOA membership but the truth is you are paying it all along but will only costs you less because the costs will be shared. It will lift the burden out of you when you have problems with the street unpassable due to snow or those overgrown trees along the trail way, HOA will take care of it. They are also responsible in making sure the amenities are well maintained.
Pro 4: Built-in conflict resolution mediator.
A conflict with your neighborhood over that howling dog and screaming cats at night? Well, let HOA take care of that. Most HOA hires a third party or a board member to fulfill the role as mediator. If confrontations with your neighbors is hard to handle, spare a call for a lawyer but instead approach your HOA. Besides, what most HOA’s vision is to promote a friendly neighborhood! Ayt?!
Pro 5: Get to know your neighbors.
You will better get acquainted with your neighbors. Elected board members of HOA are also are residential owners that will give opportunity for everyone to serve their community in every way they can. Friendly neighborhood remember?
Con 1: Additional allocation of budget – HOA dues.
With all those benefits mentioned above, those doesn’t come free of course! When you buy a home in this type of community (with HOA), you’ve got to include HOA dues in your budget. Costs may vary but it will surely be included in your contract.
Con 2: You are somewhat tied up.
Now talking about freedom of repainting or remodeling your home. – This you can’t do if you are in a community with HOA. Yes, you’ll be tied up with following how the association would like your exterior be like. If ever you are itching to make changes in your property, you need to seek approval first.
Con 4: More freedom to lose.
Yes – HOA rules! Or at least they have rules and you need to follow and abide by them even if you think they’re ridiculous. You can however speak up and can petition the association to update or change certain rule that you disagree with but that has to go through a process.
Con 5: Politics among HOA officials
Not far from any organization, HOA board members might not be the best elected official you ever wanted to have. There always be politics in every association and if the HOA couldn’t keep up with the issues, this might cause trouble to the members. It can mess up when one talks about mishandling funds and you aren’t getting the right services you as a member should be enjoying.
So it’s important to really know the HOA that comes with your purchase contract. It is best to do a little research and or read through their recent minutes of the meeting, background of board members and how they have been managing the community so far since they existed.