“No HOA!” It’s one of the most common requirements new clients utter when we begin the home search. I get it, you don’t want someone telling you what to do with your property. But while Homeowner Associations (HOAs) are sometimes annoyingly restrictive, they can offer many benefits too. Don’t believe me? Keep reading and allow me to enthrall you with some of the pros and cons of living in an HOA.
PROS of HOA Living
- No lawn care! If you’re like my pops, mowing the yard is an art passed down through generations offering peace and solitude to be cherished by all. If you’re like his youngest son (that’s me), however, there are simply better, more productive ways to spend your time. As with many things on this list, not all HOAs include lawn care in their dues. But if they do, imagine all the fun you can have with that extra hour or two!
- All the sweet amenities! Lots of HOAs come with a gym, playground, pool, walking trails…all kinds of fun stuff! Is an extra few bucks a month really such a big deal when you can take Fido over to the dog park to run around with all his little pooch pals?
- Road maintenance/snow removal. A good neighbor makes sure he/she keeps their road and sidewalk clear during our
miserablebeautiful, Virginia winters. If you’re in an HOA community, there’s a solid chance someone takes care of that for you. Keep that booty on the couch, hot cocoa in hand, and have someone else brave the cold!
- No Hatfield vs. McCoy situation! Beefing with the noisy neighbor? Let the HOA deal with it. Simply file a complaint and let due process run its course. Just make sure you’re in the right…
CONS of HOA Living
- Money, of course. Seems like nothing is free these days, and HOA inclusions are no exception. Everything listed above (and almost certainly more) is going to add to that monthly payment. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it.
- Exterior restrictions. Sometimes the rules are fair. No one should get too upset when required to keep the lawn mowed or move the broken down Cadillac. That said, it’s not unusual for HOAs to go overboard. Want a blue house? Sorry, that’s not approved. Want to build a garage? Gotta clear it with the Architectural Review Board first. Take a good long look at your HOAs Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CCRs) before you accidentally settle down in an oppressive police state.
- Less privacy. No need to go in depth on this one. If you’re in an HOA there’s a strong likelihood your neighbors are close, if not touching you. If quiet and solitude are your preferences, and HOA might not be for you.
- Potential for poor management. Hey, someone has to run this association. Most the time it’s probably your golfing buddy Greg down the street, or Sheryl, the kind gal who brought you a bottle of wine when you moved in. Unfortunately, it’s also possible your HOA is led by an obtrusive tyrant who hasn’t gotten over their failed campaign for 1994 senior class vice president and is taking it out on you and your neighbors. Equally frustrating is if the powers that be aren’t on top of enforcing the positive aspects of living in an HOA. If your personal mantra is “If you want something done, do it yourself.’ – my guess is HOA life isn’t for you.
How do I decide?
This is the easy part. Sit down with all the decision makers in your household, look into what all is/is not included in your prospective community’s HOA, crunch the numbers to ensure it makes financial sense, and form a truly educated opinion. Your lender will be able to help with the financial side (if you need a lender, please reach out, I know so many wonderful professionals). Your real estate pro can help you sort out the restrictions/benefits of any potential HOA. Then it’s up to you and the family (if applicable)!
That does it for today’s episode of Nate Tells You Stuff You Didn’t Ask For. For more completely random articles on a sporadic publishing schedule and no rhyme or reason for said topic – check out the rest of my blog! In the meantime, thanks a million for your time and for staying with me while I discussed the pros and cons of living in an HOA.