Homeowners' Association Pros and Cons
Are you intending to purchase a home in a community with Homeowner's Association? Ensure that you know how these organizations operate before making an offer.
Homeowner's associations or HOAs are run by a board of directors, which comprise other homeowners elected by other residents. The association sets rules and regulations that guide the neighborhood.
Recently, there has been a significant rise in the number of these associations in the United States. According to a study by the US Census Bureau, about 60% of newly constructed homes from 2014 were active members of the homeowners association. That is about a 20% rise compared to 2009.
A well-managed HOA can be a blessing, and of course, otherwise, can be a curse. So what are the upsides and downsides of joining a homeowner's association?
PROS OF HOA
Nice and neat looking neighborhood
Traditionally, an HOA sets up series of rules and regulations to make sure that the neighborhood always looks neat and sharp. These regulations usually include strict guidelines about restrictions on certain large vehicles, keeping lawns trimmed, and limiting some exterior paint color.
These rules and oversights ensure that the situation whereby one property's exterior value weighs down all others' values doesn't exist.
Shared maintenance costs
HOA reasonably and fairly earmarks dues for shared spaces in the neighborhood. These spaces may include places like community snow removal, lane manicure, etc.
Unrestricted access to amenities
HOA usually offers some community amenities that may range from a fitness center and pool to security gates and a children's play center.
HOA serves as a built-in mediator for your neighborhood. By taking your grievances to them, you could settle confrontations with anyone in the neighborhood.
Helps you become familiar with your neighbors
If the residents elect you as a board member, or you are an active member of the association, you’ll be better acquainted with your neighbors, and even get to make a new network of friends.
CONS OF HOA
When purchasing a home in a community with HOA, you must include the dues in your budget, which usually run in hundreds of dollars monthly.
Limits the changes you can make
If you purchase a home in a community with HOA and intend to make some changes to the property like adding an enclose d patio, usually, the board must approve such change. So, they have the final say on the type of changes you can make to your properties.
Their financial woes may extend to you
If your HOA is going through some financial difficulties or caught up in a lawsuit. This could hamper your ability to get a loan and may even adversely affect the sales prices of homes in the neighborhood.
If you live in a community with HOA, you’ll have to follow the laid down guidelines, even if you think they are absurd.
You might fall into the hands of a rogue board member
There are times when residents elect a rogue homeowner onto the board and such a person decides to break rules and do whatever they want. For instance, a rogue homeowner might even decide to confront you when you notice a faulty amenity in the community and decide to fix it. When there is a rogue homeowner on the HOA board, it usually messes things up.
There are good and bad things with all HOAs. Sometimes the cons outweigh the pros and other times the pros outweigh the cons. Be aware of what you're getting into before you buy a home in any Madison neighborhood with an HOA.