If you intend to purchase a home in a gated community, a condominium or a townhouse in a planned development area, it is very likely that you will have to deal with a Homeowners’ Association (HOA). The HOA is a management body that oversees overall maintenance of the community and also ensures uniformity in renovations as well as practices within the community.
Usually, HOAs charge some fee for the management activities. These can be used for maintenance of facilities such as pools, lawns, sports areas and gymnasiums among other things. Also, HOAs may also seek more money for upgrades in the living community such as the building of new elevator systems amongst other things.
Factors to Consider When Dealing with Homeowners’ Associations
Before you purchase a home in an HOA area, you must take into consideration many factors including:
1. HOA Fees.
Each HOA charges different monthly or annual fees. You need to find out the fees for the community you want to buy into and assess whether this is feasible given your financial situation. You also have to know the exact services that are covered by the HOA fees and these may include or exclude garbage collection, lawn maintenance and pool cleaning amongst others. Before committing yourself, assess whether the fees can fit within your budget and if they are a waste of money.
2. Covenant, Conditions and Restrictions.
Each HOA usually develops its own rules and regulations that determine how residents within the property conduct themselves. Amongst the rules may include the number and type of pets that are permissible in the community, the type of renovations that can be conducted on properties within the HOA area and the number of visitors permitted to utilize the amenities in the community amongst other things. Depending on the management of the community, you can find HOAs with very strict regulations. You, therefore, need to find a copy of the rules and regulations as stipulated by the HOA management.
3. Penalties for Breaking Regulations.
HOAs are known to be very powerful and can impose very stiff penalties on residents who break their codes of conduct. Some of the HOAs have even been known to foreclose properties of residents who fail to obey the rules and regulations. You must know the penalties and any fees charged for each mistake in your HOA.
4. Environmentally Friendly Practices.
Not every HOA is environmentally friendly. Some may demand the use of fertilizers and pesticides to maintain pristine gardens and lawns. If you are conscious about such things, you need to consult before purchasing your house.
5. Personal Temperament.
For people with a creative streak and obstinate will, HOAs may come off as condescending and intimidating bodies that dictate what one can or cannot do with their properties. On the other hand, if you like organization and uniformity in your environment or surroundings, then the HOAs might give you this.
Advantages of Homeowners’ Associations
The key advantages of having HOAs include:
1. Easy maintenance of outdoor facilities and lawns
2. Aesthetics of the homes are preserved, and uniformity is maintained
3. Rules and regulations help to maintain good behavior around the neighborhood
Disadvantages of Homeowners’ Associations
There are also demerits of buying a property that has HOAs and these include:
1. High HOA Fees
2. Stringent Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions
3. Harsh consequences for failure to adhere to rules and regulations
4. Restrictions on how to decorate your home
HOAs have their own advantages and disadvantages, but it is up to you to weigh what benefits you stand to gain from purchasing a home that is under HOA management. You also have to assess whether you can afford the HOA fees or it will constrain you financially.