Linda D. Dempsey's Blog
In many communities, homeowner’s associations, or HOAs, provide services to residents of the neighborhood. In fact, as many as 26 million homes are under the guidance of an HOA across the country. These community organizations can help ensure the neighborhood’s homes stay in good repair, residents treat each other respectfully, and agreed-upon rules are followed by all community members. But HOAs are not free. To be a member of a community with an HOA, you will need to pay a monthly or annual fee. So is the HOA worth having? Here are the benefits and drawbacks to consider if you’re shopping for a home in a community with one.
Benefits of an HOA
An HOA will provide amenities for you as a resident of the community. Sometimes, those amenities may include things like community swimming pools or a fitness center. They may be something as simple as enforcing rules about the upkeep of homes so the neighborhood looks nice. This, in turn, can help preserve the value of your property.
HOAs can reduce some of your responsibilities. Depending on the terms, they may cover lawn mowing and snow removal, or they may give you someone to call if your neighbor is letting his dog bark at odd hours of the night.
Finally, an HOA gives you a voice. These associations are run by boards, which are typically community residents, and those board members are supposed to listen to the needs and desires of community members.
Drawbacks of an HOA
On the other hand, an HOA does have some drawbacks. Sometimes, the rules, like rules about fencing in your yard or the color you can paint your home, may be detrimental to your goals. The cost is another factor to consider, as it will increase your overall cost of homeownership.
Depending on the terms of your HOA contract, it may be possible for the association to foreclose on your home if you fail to pay your dues and follow the rules. They can also spring assessments on the homeowners within the association if they lack the money to cover an expense, such as if the community pool needs to be renovated.
Finally, an HOA will often limit the rental of homes within its governance. If you need to move and don’t want to sell, you may not have the freedom to turn your home into a rental. If rentals are allowed, the HOA will have regulations about the rental agreements that you have to follow.
So is an HOA right for your needs? The answer truly depends on your goals for your home and your overall budget. Weigh the pros and cons, and then make a decision that fits you.