If you’re searching for a house, you may be wondering about the pros and cons of HOAs. Living in an HOA community has its benefits and drawbacks. While you’ll have to pay association fees, there are often great perks to living in an HOA neighborhood. Here’s what you need to know about homeowners’ associations!
1. No Two HOAs Are the Same
Every HOA is different. Fees can range from low to high. Rules also vary greatly from one association to the next. Some HOAs have lots of strict obligations and entitlements that you’ll be responsible for as a homeowner. These could include every aspect of the exterior of your home— from the roof to the types of flowers in your yard and the cars in your driveway. Others have very few rules and obligations.
2. Your Mortgage Lender Will Consider Your HOA Fees
When you’re getting a mortgage, your lender will want to look at your monthly HOA dues as a part of your overall finances. This could impact how large of a mortgage you’ll be able to get. If a neighborhood has high HOA fees, you may not be able to get a house that is priced at the very top of your budget.
3. HOA Fees Can Change, So Budget Accordingly
Some HOAs will only ask for a regular payment (whether monthly, quarterly, or annually). Others may rely on special assessments when big repairs are required. It’s important to know ahead of time whether additional fees may apply or not. Also, HOA fees can rise significantly over time. It’s always a good idea to obtain a history of HOA fees over the past 10 years to see how much they typically change annually.
4. HOAs Can Have a Variety of Benefits and Amenities
Are you looking for a community with specific amenities, such as a neighborhood pool, tennis courts, family playgrounds, or bike trails? Do you want to live in a lush and beautiful neighborhood surrounded by greenery and flowers? Are you concerned about security and want a gated community with plenty of safeguards? You may want to search for an HOA community that aligns with your values. Talk with a real estate agent who is knowledgeable about the HOAs in the area, and they can help you find what you’re looking for.
5. Look Up the Rules and Covenants Before You Buy
When considering the pros and cons of HOAs, it’s important to know what you’re getting into ahead of time. If you don’t want to be restricted when it comes to your landscaping, paint color choices, window coverings, and the like, certain HOAs won’t be for you.
Also note that when you take possession of the property, any items of noncompliance will be on your shoulders. The previous owner might have made exterior changes that aren’t compliant with HOA rules, or they may have a dead tree in the yard, or maybe the paint is flaking off the shutters. Whatever the issue, you’ll want to be aware of it ahead of time so that you can plan accordingly. You may choose to negotiate with the owner, either getting them to fix the issues before closing or offering you a credit to cover the costs. Alternatively, you could choose to fix the issues yourself after you take possession.
Hopefully, these pros and cons of HOAs will help you as you search for the perfect home!