To Buy or Not to Buy in a Neighborhood with a HOA

A lot goes into buying a new home. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of home buying, but is a neighborhood with a HOA right for you? Take a look at these pros and cons before deciding to buy in a neighborhood with (or without) a HOA.


1. Property value maintenance
Homeowner associations were instituted to maintain neighborhoods and prevent neighbors from pulling home values down with messy and unappealing exteriors. Living in an area with an HOA is a good way to secure your investment for the long term. The HOA will take care of the neighbor who has overgrown weeds, wants to paint their house Bronco orange or owns too many cars.


2. Get to know your neighbors
Being a member of an HOA gives you access to your community of neighbors. By serving on the board or even just attending HOA events you can meet your neighbors and maybe even make some friends! A lot of HOAs offer events for the neighborhood such as 4th of July picnics or holiday events.

3. Access to amenities
Many HOA dues include access to pools, parks or clubhouses. For a lot of families this access is priceless, especially in the summer with kids. For HOAs without facilities, they often still cover trash removal, annual events and other perks such as snow shoveling. Get the details on the HOA for each neighborhood you look at to learn what they provide their residents.


1. Costly HOA dues
HOA dues can easily be budgeted for as sellers are required to disclose, however dues often increase annually. While $400 annual HOA dues don’t feel like a big deal now, it may feel tight as time progresses and the dues go up. Look into the frequency of dues increases to see if they will fit your budget for years to come.

2. Limits on home improvement
While the regulation of home exteriors and your neighborhood can be good for you home value, it can also limit your choices when it comes to changes to your own. A lot of HOAs have specific colors you are allowed to paint the exterior of your home with, limitations of exterior structures and often even limits on landscaping decisions. Take a close look at the rules and regulations of the HOA you are looking at the be sure you can live comfortably with their restrictions.

3. Unexpected assessments
As HOAs struggle for capital they can often impose a temporary assessment on the homeowners. Assessments can be for a specific project or simply a temporary increase in fees to boost the accounts. These fees are usually not optional and failure to pay them can result in a lien on your home.

HOAs are just one component of the home search process. If you are looking for an agent with real expertise and helpful advice, let’s talk!

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