Living in a community with a Home Owners Association, or HOA, (a board of elected residents who help ensure that your community looks its best and functions smoothly) can either be advantageous or a deal breaker when deciding whether or not to purchase a home. As with everything in life, there are both pros and cons to living in an HOA community. Before making your own decision, allow us to describe some of the advantages and the disadvantages of HOA Living.
Pros & Cons of Living in an HOA
PRO – Preserves Property Values via Regular Neighborhood Maintenance: HOAs are usually responsible for the lawn care and landscaping in common areas, maintenance of playgrounds, trails, benches, pools and other public buildings, and for painting the community walls, curbs etc. In return, the community can showcase its beauty and curb appeal to any visitors who come to visit a resident or drive through the neighborhood.
CON – You are required to pay recurring HOA Fees for the maintaining of your community. Membership is mandatory and the fees can change, based on decisions that you don’t have total control over. Fees can also be a detriment to resale if potential buyers don’t want that extra cost in addition to their house payment.
PRO — Free Use of Recreational Amenities: Residents get to use pools, Clubhouse, barbecue pits, tennis courts, golf courses, basketball courts, jogging/biking trails, fishing ponds and fitness facilities. These amenities add to your home’s value!
CON – Because they are available to the entire neighborhood, you may not be able to have exclusive access to certain facilities on a specific date you need them.
PRO — Proper Handling of Disputes: Misunderstandings may arise between neighbors. Having the additional help of an HOA can diminish the potential headache that comes with certain neighbor by assuring that your disputes are handled well and given proper resolution.
CON – The HOA’s problems can become yours too. If your HOA becomes involved in a legal battle, or experiences a budgetary matter, the financial burden of these will most likely get passed onto you as a resident homeowner. The severity and outcome of a legal dispute could lead to a lower property value, making it more difficult to obtain approval for a loan in the future, or causing a significant increase in future HOA dues.
PRO — Helps Maintain Uniformity: Each HOA has its own declaration of Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CCR’s), which explain what homeowners can and cannot do. This means your neighbors can’t paint their house bright pink or park old, in-operable cars in their front yard. Thanks to a vested interest, they ensure neither you, nor your neighbors, do anything distasteful to your property. This significantly helps the homes in your neighborhood retain their value.
CON – HOA-mandated restrictions can be overbearing. Many people believe that when you buy your own home, you should have the freedom to make changes which express your own taste and individuality. They don’t want decisions about their own home being made by a committee.
PRO — Facilitates Interaction Among Residents: It is very important for neighbors to know one another. Having helpful and cooperative neighbors is certainly an advantage in times of emergencies. Forming bonds with neighbors also means an additional sense of security when it comes to protecting your property. Inside an HOA community, regular homeowner’s meetings and socialization events are held to help the residents meet and get to know each other better.