Are you thinking of purchasing a home in a neighborhood with a homeowners association? Like everything else, homeowners associations has its perks and disadvantages. Let’s review the most common pros and cons attached with homeowners associations so you can make an informed decision.
But first things first… What is a homeowners association?
Most people overlook a homeowners association, thinking it’s just a mere neighborhood organization. While some groups only pose as one, others are authorized associations. A homeowners association is usually founded by the real estate developer of a community. It wields considerable power and authority, as it can settle disputes, enforce conditions and restrictions, make agreements, and manage the neighborhood.
To be part of the homeowners association, you’ll need to pay its dues, which can range from less than $100 to over $1,000, every month. This is why it’s important to take into consideration HOA fees when you’re thinking of buying a certain home.
The pros and cons of homeowners associations
Before you fully commit to a homeowners association, get to know its advantages and disadvantages.
- It can settle disputes between neighbors. A homeowners association has enough authority to mediate and settle disputes between neighbors, especially if the issue affects the whole community. Sometimes, the mediation of disputes also becomes a source of new rules to enforce to prevent the problem from happening again.
- HOAs handle the maintenance of common areas. Maintenance can chip a significant chunk off your household budget, which is why being a part of a homeowners association can be particularly advantageous. You don’t need to worry about the upkeep of the community pool and other recreational areas within the neighborhood. If you’re planning to live in a condo, the HOA will still take care of the shared amenities. You only really need to look after your own space.
- You’ll get to enjoy community amenities. Another perk of being a part of an HOA is that you get to enjoy the amenities available in the neighborhood. Of course, these recreational facilities vary depending on the community, but you can always expect an HOA to give members/residents exclusive access to a wide range of amenities.
- The association has the power to set the community’s appearance. Although this is not always the case with homeowners associations, it’s also not uncommon for HOAs to set standards as to what the community should look like. This may or may not include the exterior paint of your home, the front yard’s landscaping, and where you park your car. Sometimes, the HOA will even scrutinize other details, such as how you’ve decorated your home for the holidays.
Some HOAs set reasonable guidelines as to how the homes should look, but if you think it infringes on your right to live in your home, then this will be a setback.
- Failure to pay your HOA dues can lead to foreclosure. One of the main reasons why it’s important to include HOA fees to your monthly household budget is that HOAs have the power to foreclose on your property. Of course, this is a worst-case scenario, so do take care not to fall behind on your HOA payments.
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