Pros and Cons of HOA’s
HOA, or homeowners association, can be a triggering word for house hunters. It seems almost everyone has a strong opinion about them one way or another. But not all HOA’s are “grass-cut-to-¾-inch” kind of places. Although HOAs are not for everyone, there are a lot of positive things about them as well.
HOAs appear in 60% of new home builds.
If you’re in the market, it’s worthwhile to quantify your feelings about them.
Here’s a comprehensive list of HOA pros and cons. So that you can figure out if living in a Home Owner’s Association neighborhood would be a good fit for you or not.
- Aesthetically pleasing
HOA developments are typically master-planned. Matching colors. Matching design. Matching architectural notes. Usually, they’re exceptionally beautiful. HOAs don’t have to be identical matchbox homes, though. Plenty of HOAs are master-planned to be uniquely charming.
A beautiful example is Cloudland Station, located in North Georgia.
They are a master-planned HOA neighborhood. But the overarching theme is to make sure the homes fit into the mountain aesthetic. There is a neighborhood of replica English stone cottages. Another of cabin-style lodge homes. Another with modestly charming porches and fireplace-type homes. Not every neighborhood within this community is the same. Their amenities are atypical too. There is a waterfall deck, farmstand with fresh produce, sweet shop, and more.
Cloudland Station isn’t the standard. But as a whole, if you live in an HOA neighborhood, chances are high that your neighborhood will be absolutely gorgeous.
- Neighbors Watch Out for Each Other
Safety is a top priority for homeowners in HOA neighborhoods. Neighborhood watches are active and alert. Often, the HOA leadership will install gates and cameras.
These kinds of safety measures allow families to experience a nostalgic type of living. You can let your kid ride their bike in the neighborhood. Walk to a friend’s house. Play in the yard unsupervised. Your neighbors will have your back.
- Large Sense of Community
HOA communities are often tight-knit and supportive. Many neighborhoods will have HOA funds to throw annual events. They look for any opportunity to bring community members together. There are Fourth of July Picnics and fireworks shows. Halloween trunk-or-treats. Community meal-share programs when a member of the neighborhood is grieving or has a baby. Members of these communities look out for each other.
Often, HOA communities are rich in amenities. Some standard amenities are Pools, dog parks, gardens, trails, and lakes to fish in. The HOA committee typically oversees these amenities, which are available to use at any time. Often these amenities serve as gathering points for the community. They’re hot spots for meeting your neighbors and building lifelong friendships.
- Homes Maintain Their Value
Investing in an HOA community home means there is a good chance your home could sell for more down the line. Houses in HOAs usually sell for 4% or $13,500 more than comparable houses outside of HOAs, nationwide. It’s hard to argue with these numbers. If you have any plans to cash in on a return from your investment in the future, it’s worthwhile to consider this.
- Helpful Conflict Resolution
It’s not pleasant, but it does happen. Neighbors disagree sometimes – It’s only natural. Not everyone can get along 100% of the time. The good news? When neighbor spats happen- it’s not on you. There’s no he said/ she said. There’s no stubborn stand-off. Instead, there is a rule book to consult. And a council that will swoop up your issues and resolve them in a kind and professional manner.
- Maintenance Help
Some HOAs will cover your lawn and garden maintenance for you. Typically communal spaces are standard, but they may even cut your lawn for you. Or even take care of things like paint or roof repairs. If you’re not very handy, this can be incredibly valuable.
- Extra Cost Per Month
Ah yes…. The ultimate con. An extra bill every year. HOA costs can vary. Most HOAs fall between $100-$300 per month on a national scale. Luckily, in the Madison area, most HOA fees are only a few hundred dollars per year. However, this fee will likely never decrease. And you’re required to pay the fees, even if you don’t use the amenities
- Less Power Over Your Property
Most HOAs have meticulous guidelines for what you can and can’t do to your property. So in most cases, you’ll need to put away the purple paint can.
And don’t forget to mow the lawn or bring in the trash can inside the garage on trash day.
Often, HOAs have rules about the type or breed of pets you can own too. Be sure to read the fine print on this before you buy your home. It would be devastating to make an offer on the home of your dreams and lose your earnest money because the HOA won’t allow the beloved family pit bull.
There is a lack of personalization in HOA communities. Homeownership is the epitome of the American Dream. But in HOAs there is no tolerance of the mindset “this is my property, and I’ll do what I want with it”.
- Efficient Government May Vary
HOAs are essentially mini-governments. It’s an elected council that makes decisions about what is best for the community. Like all governments, your HOA government isn’t guaranteed to be efficient, effective, or align with your values. But just like paying your taxes, you’ll have to pay those HOA fees no matter what.
- Read the Fine Print
In the world of HOAs, terms, and conditions pages are not all the same. Covenants are usually long and detailed. But it’s essential to be aware of all the rules of your HOA. If their practices don’t fit into your lifestyle, you can look forward to many verbal warnings and fines in your future.
For example, parking can be a real headache. Many HOAs only allow so many cars at one time. Or ban street parking. So once your four kids turn 16 and become car owners, where do you put them? Their friends? Your friends? It’s important to think ahead about the little things.
What’s Best for You?
Are you interested in a home within an HOA? Not for you? We’re happy to help you with whatever you decide. Let’s get to know each other. We’ll find the perfect home for you.