If you're in the market for a home, you'll likely look in neighborhoods with HOAs. More than 1 in 3 (35%) homeowners in a recent survey said they belong to an homeowners association (HOA), and 57% said it makes their lives easier, according to a new report from LendingTree. Here are factors you should consider before purchasing a home in a governed neighborhood.
LendingTree’s latest report surveyed 1,000-plus homeowners on the advantages and disadvantages of HOAs. According to the report, Gen Zers (47%), six-figure earners (45%) and residents in the West (44%) are the most likely to be in HOAs. Membership was the least common among parents with adult children (26%), those who earn less than $50,000 (27%), and residents in the Midwest (27%).
What is an HOA (Home Owners Association) ?
Homeowner associations (HOAs) are entities that enforce the rules for living in a community that chooses to be governed. They are common in planned developments; you join them and agree to their terms and fees when you close on a home in a community with an HOA.
Homeownership in these communities—also called membership—binds you to the association's covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). The associations also have legal powers, such as placing a lien on your home, imposing fines, or suing you for not complying with the rules.
Homeowner associations create CC&Rs and enforce them. Before purchasing a home in a community with an HOA, make sure you ask your realtor or the HOA for the CC&Rs. Be sure to check if the document is up-to-date before you proceed too far into the buying process. Since the rules and regulations of any particular HOA may be unique, don't rely on second-hand information or past experience at other developments to learn what an HOA's rules and covenants are. Homeowner associations need funds to operate. They gather these funds through fees paid by community members—some can be quite high. Fees can differ even within a development due to variations in square footage, location, and orientation.
One benefit of living in a community with an HOA is that the organization manages the commons areas. HOAs can provide you with the peace of mind but we all know its not for everyone.
There are also other aspects of an HOA to consider. Here are some pros and cons of community living to help you decide if it’s right for you:
PRO: HOAs provide amenities
Buying into an HOA may give you access to amenities like a tennis court or fitness center that you might not otherwise be able to afford, or be able to enjoy in such close proximity to your home.
PRO: They reduce your responsibilities
The fees you pay to an HOA typically go toward services (like snow removal) and maintenance that you might otherwise have to perform, or contract for, yourself.
PRO: They help keep up appearances
HOAs typically have rules to prevent property neglect and resulting neighborhood decline. They can help to maintain the property values for the homes within the community.
CON: An HOA can foreclose on your home
If you get behind on your fees, the HOA may be able to foreclose on your home, attorney Amy Loftsgordon tells Nolo.com. (The process of doing so varies by state). Though, CAI advises HOAs to only use foreclosure as a “last resort.”
CON: They can spring assessments on you
If the HOA doesn’t have cash reserves to cover an expenditure, it can impose an assessment to come up with the money, the CAI says. That’s important, since 70 percent of all HOAs are currently underfunded, according to Reuters.
CON: An HOA may stop you from renting your place
HOAs can put an array of rental restrictions in place. Some associations limit rentals, disallow certain pets, and screen prospective renters. So, consider the pros and cons against your own lifestyle and get familiar with the community rules before you buy – you just might find that association living is equally as satisfying for you.
- Many condos, co-ops, and neighborhoods have homeowner associations (HOAs) made up of member residents.
- HOA members are elected from among the residents and serve to maintain grounds, insurance, community utilities, and the overall finances of the building complex or community.
- Most HOAs will require all unit owners to pay a monthly maintenance charge and may also demand special one-time assessments to cover large community expenses.
- The HOA's bylaws generally spell out how responsibilities are divided between the HOA & members of the community.
It is important to find out what fees are you paying for, and know how they will affect your household finances. For example, will you have to pay for garbage pickup? What amenities and utilities are included? Is the master insurance and exterior covered? What about cable and internet service?
Just remember that you will pay for perks, whether you use them or not. While some homeowners feel their fees are fairly priced, other think their HOA is too expensive to justify the benefits. The answer will undoubtedly depend on each buyer's particular situation. If you’re thinking about buying a home in a community with or without an HOA. DM or call me now. Understanding the rules you’ll be subject to is a critical piece of making sure you love your new home, so let’s connect to discuss.
SOURCES: https://www.rismedia.com/2023/02/28/pros-cons-hoas/?lp_txn_id=309887, https://www.investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/08/homeowners-associations-tips.asp, https://www.answerfinancial.com/insurance-center/the-pros-and-cons-of-a-homeowners-association-hoa/