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Pros and Cons Of Homeowners Associations

By: Huntsville Real Estate Expert Mike Manosky On February 12, 2015

There is a wide range of experiences, and therefore opinions, among homeowners living with a Homeowners’ Association (HOA). Before you make a decision to buy read the rules carefully, find out about the management, knock on doors and ask residents about their experiences.

homeowners associationPros

  • Exterior maintenance is a primary benefit of having an association. Typically, the HOA maintains all common areas, recreational amenities, and snow and trash removal. In some communities, the HOA maintains the exteriors of buildings. That means much less labor for homeowners.
  • Community appearance is regulated by a HOA. Standards are set about care of homeowner’s lawns, colors of siding and roofing, and the number of cars parked in front of each home. These rules are standards that intend to maintain home values. Usually, there is a board of directors of elected homeowners to enforce the regulations by having the ability to impose fines.
  • HOA management provides an organization to which homeowners can turn when there are problems or disputes. Make sure the HOA management is active and responsive when there are issues in the community.
  • Recreational amenities are often very important elements in a decision to live in a community. You should make sure that amenities like pools and tennis courts are well maintained and managed.

Cons

  • Some homebuyers resent the idea of a HOA telling them what color they can paint their house or how many cars they can park. Buyers who have such feelings should avoid buying in a community with a HOA.
  • HOA regulations sometimes prohibit certain activities such as operating businesses out of a home. If you operate a business from home, and want a business van in front of your home, an HOA that prohibits such activities is a deal-breaker.
  • Understanding the HOA rules and regulations before you make decisions could be seen as an annoyance. However, if you are interested in the benefits of an HOA, it is necessary to carefully read the HOA documents and ask questions.
  • HOA Fees are in addition to taxes and other costs of homeownership. Make sure you understand them before buying.

There are always trade-offs from one community to the next. Higher standards imposed by an HOA attempt to maintain high property values. However, they require a level of commitment. The key to a final decision is doing your homework.

Information courtesy of Mike Manosky, Huntsville Real Estate Broker.

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