HOA or No HOA?

If you’ve dreamt about buying a home in high-end communities, you’ve probably come across homeowners association (HOA) fees somewhere in your cost projections. While some HOAs don’t charge as much as others, it’s essential to know what restrictions, agreements, and obligations are included in each HOA contract, so you’ll know if the cost is indeed worth it. 

One might ask, though, if HOAs really are important? Well, if the average of 22 HOAs being legally created every day in the U.S. doesn’t convince you of their relevance and demand to communities, here are some pros and cons about homeowner associations to help you decide. 

PROs of Homeowner Associations

As of 2019, 34% of Georgia homeowners are part of an HOA, and this value has grown over the past years. Because of the clear advantages of an HOA, it is projected that this value will grow more and more after the Coronavirus pandemic has settled.  Some of these advantages include:

Higher Market Value

According to a 2019 study under the University of California,  homes within an HOA-regulated community sell for  4% more than similar homes within a non-HOA community. This somehow implies that people recognize an HOA as a valuable factor in their comfort, safety, peace, and security within the neighborhood.

Community Engagement

If you’re one of those people who value and yearn for the sense of belongingness, an HOA will give you that. HOAs are usually the ones to initiate and fund social gatherings to promote camaraderie amongst the neighbors. HOAs also run programs that are targeted to specific community groups to give support. You’d know how active your HOA is when you check out their programs over the years.

Well-maintained Public Amenities / Common Spaces

Roads, playgrounds, baseball fields, senior citizens’ centers, and parks are all areas that promote social development outside the home. And there’s no better wish than to keep these areas constantly safe from health and safety hazards.  HOAs manage the upkeep and maintenance of common areas so everyone can continue using them without fearing that something might go wrong.

Reduced Nuisance

There have been instances of people being kicked out of their condominium units because of too much boisterous noise, funky smells coming out of their doors into the hallway, and unending baby cries at night. And it isn’t the police who kicks people out — they don’t have the power to do so. Only the HOA has the authority to evict homeowners. So if you aren’t living under the protection of an HOA, make sure you can tolerate unruly neighbors such as those above. 

 

CONs of Homeowner Associations

In HOA-regulated communities, restrictions are imposed to keep things in order.  Failure to comply with the stipulations in the contract can create further inconveniences to the homeowner. With this, it’s crucial to see whether you can endure and live with the HOA’s rules before deciding to buy the house or not.

Fees and Fines

To sustain HOA activities (especially the maintenance of common areas), all homeowners will be requested to pay HOA dues periodically (monthly, quarterly, or annually). Fees can go from less than $100 to more than $3,000 depending on the amenities and the level of HOA service.  If you can’t pay the dues on time, some HOAs may charge interest for late payment.

The same goes if you break other rules written in the contract. You’ll be charged a corresponding fee, go through the number of warnings, and eventually be subject to eviction if you don’t keep up with the rules.

Reduced Freedom on Property Developments

Aesthetics are often important within HOA-regulated neighborhoods. This means that you may not be able to paint your home with the color you like, put up a clothesline even in your concealed backyard, or set up a fence around your entire property, or plant any hedge, to name a few.  Moreover, if you need anything done to your property, like repairs, you may have to ask permission from the HOA before allowing your contractors to start any work.

Possibility of “No Renters Allowed”

Renters are usually under contract with homeowners and not the HOA. This means that the HOA will not be able to screen and regulate tenants as much as they want to with homeowners.  Hence, most communities don’t allow homeowners to rent out their properties. If you have plans of being a landlord in the future, it would be best to check with the HOA first.

Controlled Parking

Yes, even parking can be controlled by an HOA. In a condominium, for example, you may not be able to park more than one car. Another is, if you are on a single-family detached house, you may not be able to park on the driveway if that’s what your HOA says. Again, it would be best to go through all the rules and ask questions as much as possible with your HOA.

If there’s one thing that the Coronavirus pandemic has turned down among HOAs nationwide, it is the revenue generated from social gatherings, community programs, and the like. And with so many companies delaying salaries and retrenching, it has been inevitable for homeowners not to forego paying HOA fees on time.

This situation may have crippled the growing HOA industry, but it definitely didn’t stop communities from maintaining a peaceful and safe environment within their boundaries. Hence, it all boils down to how much you see an HOA as essential for your home. If you want to compare HOA and non-HOA houses within your preferred locality or county, you can reach out to us at HomeSoldGA. We can give you options and help you make an informed decision. Call us at 770-668-4888.

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