The advantages and disadvantages of belonging to an association of owners


If there is one thing any owner knows, it is that there are pros and cons to participating in an association of owners – and the choice is unique to each individual.

More than half of newly built single family homes and 80% of all homes in brand new subdivisions are governed by HOAs. Overall, a quarter of the US population lives in areas governed by HOAs, but that number reaches 75% in the south and west.

HOAS are entities that govern any type of planned community, whether it is a rental property, a condo, or a private single-family home in a subdivision.

Statistics show that most people like to live in a community governed by an HOA. Owner satisfaction surveys show that most residents – 85% – rate their overall experience as positive or neutral. While some find the HOA rules and regulations difficult to navigate, others love them, especially retirees and “empty nesters,” or others looking for a low-maintenance lifestyle.

There are a lot of items in the “pros” column. Some of the benefits of an HOA include a higher home value – typically, if you are reselling a home, HOA single-family homes sell for a slightly higher price. There are several reasons for this, but one of them could be that many buyers are looking for consistency in the appearance of houses, houses in a neighborhood all in the same style, as well as aesthetics and the attraction that homeowners’ associations offer.

Additionally, HOAs tend to cover many items needed for home maintenance, such as recycling, garbage, and even yard maintenance. Some also deal with snow removal, painting buildings, repairing roads and roofs or neighborhood security systems. And these services are included in the dues you pay to the homeowners association, so at no additional cost to the landlord.

Sometimes HOAs can also mediate disputes between neighbors. If you’ve been dealing with off-leash dogs, neighbors throwing loud parties, or other unruly neighborhood behavior, it can be nice to have an organization to stand up for you in case of lingering issues.

And of course, the overall aesthetic of your neighborhood is bound to look good under an HOA. With the association enforcing cleanliness and maintenance, HOA-governed neighborhoods tend to be spotless, with beautiful landscaping and well-maintained homes and yards.

But like everything, membership also has its drawbacks. The fees can be very expensive, averaging almost $ 3,000 per year for homeowners. And for HOAs that require property appraisals on a monthly basis, these can range from $ 100 to $ 500 per month, or even more.

Additionally, when you join an HOA, you potentially become more vulnerable to various penalties like foreclosure or liens. This can happen if you are unable to pay your HOA dues, or if you break association rules and fail to pay your fines.

And, of course, many buyers are concerned about having to follow a plethora of rules and regulations. Owner satisfaction surveys repeatedly show that restrictions on what you can do for a property are likely to be cited as one of the most negative aspects of belonging to an HOA.

Items like dirty sidewalks, a cluttered driveway or yard, visible trash cans, or peeling paint can put you in the sights of your HOA. In addition, you will no longer be in control of certain aspects of the maintenance of the house, such as the number of pets, the size of the garden you choose to install, the types of fences and sheds you can install, and the type of shutters and other features you need to have.

It can even lead to court battles, as landlords sue HOAs for control – or over liability issues to resolve particular neighborhood issues.

Yet for many, the advantages of membership outweigh the disadvantages. It is important to read the rules and regulations of any particular HOA you hope to join, and compare it to your lifestyle and whether it will work for you.

If you think low-maintenance property seems like the way to go and you’re willing to forgo some renovations or the flexibility to make cosmetic changes to your home in exchange, this could be a fantastic option for you.

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