A homeowners association (HOA) is a group of residents in a community that govern neighborhoods and ensure laws are carried through. HOA’s can be your best friend or your worst enemy, which can affect people’s decisions as to whether they want an HOA-governed community or not. There are some basics to go over that can help you decide this though. Check out some facts about homeowners associations below:
- All HOA’s have rules. Laws are are huge part of every HOA. In short, the rules created by this group can have a big impact one whether residents end up staying long term or not. However, you cannot avoid them–some communities may just have stricter laws than others. Typical HOA laws include dictating colors of homes, if cars can remain curbside after dark, lawn maintenance, etc.
- Check out their environmental procedures. If this is a factor that is very important to you, it will drive you crazy to see anything below standard. Make sure you do a lot of research before moving in!
- What is your patience level? If you have a high patience level, you will probably do perfectly fine in an HOA-governed community. However, if you don’t take criticism or instruction well, maybe living under an HOA is not for you. Be warned: most HOA officials are not afraid to tell what is wring about your house!
- How much do they charge? Fees for an HOA can range from very reasonable to beyond astronomical. If the neighborhood you are looking in is either very high-end or has a ton of amenities like a pool, tennis court, park, trails, etc., expect higher fees.
- You may want to see a copy of last week’s minutes before you purchase. This is very important and will give you a good idea of what is currently being discussed at meetings, issues in the community, and the general energy of those in charge.
- Look for over-management AND under-management. Although we always joke about power hungry leaders in the HOA that over-manage everyone, it is also important that your HOA is still trying to keep the community desirable. The last thing you want is to live in a neighborhood where literally NO ONE cares.