When you’re in the process of buying a home, you have a mile-long list of things to do and concerns to address. With so many things to think about, it’s easy to allow something as seemingly insignificant as a homeowners association to get lost in the shuffle.
However, an HOA is anything but unimportant. It can drastically change the amount of your mortgage payment as well as your entire experience in your neighborhood and home.
To learn more about what a homeowners association is and how it can affect you and your family, just keep reading.
What is an HOA?
The idea behind a homeowners association is simple. It’s an organization that creates and enforces rules for a specific community. This is typically a group of community members, but can also be members of HOA management companies.
Buying a house or condo within an HOA’s community makes you a member of that HOA. As a member, you’re required to pay all fees and adhere to all regulations.
How Does an HOA Work?
HOAs are intended to create safe, peaceful communities, as well as help to maintain them. This protects the value of the homes within the community and keeps it a desirable place to live.
Now, as a resident, you won’t automatically be responsible for managing a homeowners association. This responsibility falls on the board of directors, a group of residents who have volunteered to take on extra responsibility and stay active in the community. You can join this board if you wish, but you aren’t required to.
Your monthly homeowner’s association fees, which can range anywhere from a few dollars to several hundred dollars, go to this board. The members then allocate the fees appropriately. They go toward things such as pool maintenance, landscaping, and any other common area upkeep.
What are the Pros and Cons of an HOA?
There are many benefits of a homeowners association, as well as some drawbacks, and every HOA looks a little different from the next, so the pros and cons will vary. Let’s start with some of the most common benefits.
As we already discussed, an HOA will help to protect the value of your home. In addition, you’ll enjoy a greater number of amenities and a well-maintained neighborhood.
Last, if you find the thought of an orderly, uniform neighborhood appealing, an HOA community is for you. The HOA is responsible for setting neighborhood standards. For example, a certain mailbox, roof color, or siding type, might be mandatory.
As attractive as these HOA benefits are, it’s important not to overlook possible disadvantages. The first of which is that it adds to your monthly expenses, and it’s not optional. If you don’t pay your HOA fees, you risk legal action or foreclosure.
And, while some people find the rules and regulations comforting, they can also be restrictive. You have to accept that you’ll be told what colors you and can’t use, how to park your car, how to decorate your home, and what landscaping tasks must be done. If you don’t follow these rules, you’ll be fined or worse.
Learn About Your Homeowners Association Before Committing
Because so much goes into the process, and unexpected details are so common, doing your due diligence before you buy a home is a must. You might fall in love with a home but the HOA makes it unaffordable, or you don’t feel that the rules mesh well with your lifestyle.
On the other hand, you might feel comforted by the regulations enforced by your homeowners association and the stability it provides. It all comes down to personal preference – there’s no wrong answer.
If you’re in need of more tips for navigating the home buying process, take a look at our blog!