If you’re interested in buying a home, you’ve probably thought about how many bedrooms you want, the general area in which you want to live, whether you want a large yard, and many other considerations. However, you may not have taken the time to consider whether you’d like to live in a community governed by a Homeowners’ Association (HOA). These entities collect dues every month in exchange for enforcing the community’s rules and maintaining common areas such as green space or swimming pools.
The following advantages and disadvantages of living in an HOA community can help you decide whether you’d prefer to live in one.
An HOA often handles yard work and landscaping, including removing snow on sidewalks. This not only ensures that all yards will meet a certain standard, it also saves you the time, hassle, and expenses associated with doing it yourself.
HOA communities often have access to amenities such as pools, clubhouses, park areas, playgrounds, and walking trails. These can significantly add to your enjoyment of your home and neighborhood.
Protected Property Values
The HOA’s rules help protect the community from homeowners who let their homes and property become run down or who want to do something far outside the norms of the community. The fact that your next-door neighbor can’t paint his home bright orange will help protect the value of your property – as well as your eyesight!
In addition to any mortgage, you’ll also be paying monthly dues that could rise in the future. For example, if the community’s pool needs to be replaced, the HOA may have to increase dues in order to pay for it.
Possible Legal Consequences
Your HOA may be able to sue you if you fail to pay your dues or don’t follow the rules. It may also try to put a lien on your property and ultimately foreclose on your home if don’t pay your dues. This is possible even if you’re current on your mortgage payments.
HOAs can have rules governing everything from the type and color of mailbox you have to what you can put in your yard. If these types of restrictions bother you and you’d like more freedom, an HOA-community probably isn’t the best choice for you.
An HOA is a little like a marriage. It works well in some cases, but not every time. Some people love living in HOA communities, and others find that the relationship is too confining. As you start looking for a home to buy, take the time to consider which option is best for you.
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