Lisa Scungio's Blog
Are you considering buying a home with a Home Owner's Association (HOA)? Living in an HOA community can be very rewarding. But if you're accustomed to living without one, it can bring some challenges.
Know in advance what to expect with HOA living. Checking out the biggest pros and cons HOA homeowners face.
Pro & Con: Lawn Maintenance
Some HOAs may pool HOA money together to cover landscaping costs for the neighborhood. Not only does this mean you never have to do yard work again. It also provides a consistent aesthetic throughout the community that you'll come to appreciate.
This can be a con as well. You'll have less say about the flowers you can plant. And some HOAs don't handle landscaping but give you basic landscaping rules you must follow.
Pro: Access to Amenities
An HOA may maintain a community swimming pool, clubhouse, golf course, or mini-gym. As a member of the HOA, you'd have access to these shared spaces.
Pro: Fewer Worries about Unruly Neighbors
Is your neighbor throwing loud parties at all hours? Are they letting their dog run around and relieve itself in your yard? In a non-HOA, these are neighbor disputes. But in an HOA, these are community issues.
When you join, you each agree to by-laws. If someone is out of line, they may face penalties. But beware, if you're the unruly neighbor, you might face the same.
Pro: You May have Automatic Friends
If you've moved across the country and don't know anyone, you'll appreciate the organized social events most HOAs host.
Con: Fees Can be Expensive
If you get a lot of amenities, you'll be paying for it through the HOA. It's much cheaper than if you paid for all of it separately. But it's essential to move into an HOA with amenities you'll use to get your money's worth.
You owe these fees regardless of changes in financial status. The by-laws may give the HOA the right to put a lien on your home that will have to be paid before you can sell or refinance.
Con: You Can't Paint your House
The HOA will typically choose one or more colors for your exterior. You have little say.
Are you a rebel? This level of control over your life may take some adjustment.
Con: The HOA Organization
Not all HOA's are run well, try to gain insight into how the Association's governing board functions. Before joining one--which is automatic when you buy a house there--we recommend that you talk with your future neighbors and the HOA to get a feel for things. Also, walk through the neighborhood to see how well yards, roofs, and other outdoor features are maintained.
The Pros & Cons of HOAs
Every HOA is different. So consider what you're looking for. Speak with your real estate agent about your desires and expectations. And for more tips on finding the home you'll love, follow our blog.