The most recent survey from the Community Association Institute in 2015 revealed that there are over 335,000 community associations in the United States. These community associations represent 68 million Americans and over 50% of owner occupied households in America. Florida, California, Texas and Illinois are the states with the most associations. When buying your next home, you will most likely have the option to select a property that is part of an HOA (Home Owners Association) or not part of an HOA. There are advantages and drawbacks to living in a neighborhood with an HOA, consider these pros and cons before your next home purchase.
Overall quality and nicer neighborhoods are big influencers when it comes to homeowners deciding to purchase a property within an HOA. The rules, regulations and oversight that an HOA provide mean higher standards for homes and neighborhoods. Many neighborhoods have specific exterior home color palettes, regulate how many vehicles may be parked on a property and where, as well as the amount of time a trash bin may be left out. Homeowners must meet these standards or pay fines. HOAs also help your home maintain its value as neighborhoods are held to a certain standard.
Your mileage will vary widely depending on the specific neighborhood, but neighborhood amenities can include everything from pools to clubhouses to tennis courts, walking trails, shared green spaces, parks, gyms and more. Purchasing a home within a HOA will give you access to shared amenities that you don’t have to maintain yourself.
Mediator for Neighbor Disputes
Unruly neighbors can cause trouble anywhere, but a neighborhood with a HOA will help provide a structure for dealing with neighborhood disputes. Barking dogs and late night parties are less of a concern when you can seek help from your HOA to help resolve any issues. Neighbors will need to comply or else they face penalties.
The most visible con to living in a neighborhood with a HOA are the fees. Fees are a monthly due you will have to pay in addition to your mortgage. The more amenities your neighborhood has, the more fees you will pay. Fees pay for the amenities, activities and administration performed by your HOA. HOA fees are also not tax deductible. If you don’t pay your fees, some HOAs have the power to foreclose on your home!
HOAs may also have restrictions on the percentage of homes that must be homeowner occupied. If you are looking to rent a home or want to purchase a home and then consider the possibility of someday renting out your home, you many not be able to in certain neighborhoods.
The standards a HOA sets to keep a community nice can also restrict you. You have less freedom to landscape how you wish and may not be permitted to water your yard on certain days. The types of things HOAs can regulate include: exterior paint colors, fences, hedges, solar energy installations, playscape, garages, sheds, home businesses and more.
Before you buy your next home, carefully consider whether you would like to live in a neighborhood with or without a HOA.