If you have been shopping for a new home recently, you might have realized that more and more communities have an HOA, and therefore have HOA fees. If you buy a home within an HOA, you have to join it, no matter what. So what is an HOA and are they really worth the fees they charge? Should you pass on your dream home just because it is a part of an HOA? Keep reading to find out more about HOAs and whether they are really as bad as everyone thinks!
What Really is a Homeowners Association?
So what really is a Homeowners Association, or HOA? An HOA is an organization in a condominium or other neighborhood community that makes and enforces rules for the people living in that community and how they need to upkeep their homes. If you buy a home within an HOAs jurisdiction you automatically become a member in that HOA. An HOA is usually made up from other people in the neighborhood or community. It is nice that the organization is made up of people in the community, but sometimes this means the HOA could be run by people who don’t necessarily know what they are doing or talking about when it comes to your neighborhoods or homes real value. The rules they make are usually designed to keep the neighborhood looking uniform and nice. The rules typically only apply to the front exterior to the house and target things like the cleanliness and condition of the property. They are usually just rules about how long you can let your grass grow or what color you can paint your house. There may also be rules about the types of things you can use to decorate your yard with too and when it’s ok to display seasonal decorations. This is to make sure that each home and the overall neighborhood is able to maintain its value overtime. So there is a purpose for the fees that they charge their members.
What Are The Fees Used For?
The fees that HOAs charge are used for more than just helping them enforce the rules. The fees usually go towards things like paying for landscapers for the neighborhood, amenities like community pools and playgrounds or tennis courts, or even neighborhood events during the year, like a neighborhood block party. The fees can even be applied towards things like trash services and snow removal in the winter. The fees average anywhere from $200-$400 a month depending on the neighborhood, but everything goes toward improving your neighborhood and home value.
Overall Pros and Cons
Just like anything else you need to consider when buying a home, there are pros and cons to an HOA. The main pros being the HOA rules are there to protect your home’s value and that the fees usually go towards things for the community, like being able to maintain a community pool or events like a block party. Some people would say that an HOA can make a neighborhood closer because of the meetings involved and it usually is made up of members of the community. The main cons are that the management could be inexperienced therefore not making the best decisions and that there are set monthly fees that are usually over $200.
The best way to think about an HOA fee is to just realize it is an investment in your personal community. Like I stated earlier, more and more neighborhoods seem to be requiring you to pay an HOA fee, and while it might feel like an unwanted and unnecessary fee, it can really benefit you at the end of the day. So I wouldn’t suggest passing on your dream home just because of an HOA fee, because that fee might just make your dream home that much better.
Written By Nikki Allen