About five years ago, we lived in Northern Virginia. Most neighborhoods there have some type of Home Owner’s Association and the little townhouse community we were in was no different.
It was a poor excuse for one. No pool, no park, no nothing! Our dues paid for trash service, which curiously was twice a week, and lawn care for the common areas.
Very boring and why we thought HOAs pretty much sucked.
We eventually moved and our number one request was: No HOAs! That cut our choices in half. We stuck to our guns and refused to entertain the idea of paying HOA dues no matter what.
I love the home we chose but we do not have any amenities. Its is completely our responsibility for trash removal, lawn care and water payment. This by itself isn’t really that big of a deal.
What is a big deal is; when your neighbors decide to leave trash in the yard. Parking in the middle of the front yard or leaving disabled vehicles in the street is not uncommon. One neighbor may paint their house trim lime green and the front door orange.
We all have our own definition of curb appeal. And to some folds, they figure; they paid for the property and will do whatever they want to it, to heck with everyone else.
I thought a list of the pros and cons of an HOA was in order. Here are some good arguments for living in an HOA neighborhood.
2. Aesthetic Guidelines
3. Miscellaneous Perks
Limits of Political Signs
All those extras that might be included in HOA dues look great. I know, that not all HOA communities have every single on of these but the ones that do, usually have the highest rate of homeowner and family living satisfaction.
Being able to access a park or pool if you have a family of little ones could save you money in the long run. Going to the pool, enjoying a swim and not having to do any pool maintenance sounds awesome to me.
Running the extra energy out of any little kid at the park is a total winner in any mom’s book. Plenty of exercise and outdoor fresh air is good for the whole family instead of playing on iPhones all day.
I love my cell but I’d rather have a park.
There is comfort in knowing that every fourth house isn’t going to have dead bushes or three foot high grass. That just looks bad on everyone. Curb appeal gives everyone a sense of pride and that means your properly holds its value.
You’ll avoid that awkward glance at your neighbor’s broken down car because it’s not allowed. Yes, cars break down but they shouldn’t live in front of your house for years, that’s a junkyard.
Political signs are a no-no. Not everyone agrees with this one, but we have enough problems without living directly across from the guy with a 10’ X 12’ billboard in his front yard for every election that rolls around. It’s annoying because you can’t get away from it like changing a tv channel.
Now for the dark side of living in an HOA community.
Extra Monthly Cost
What is double taxation? You are taxed by your city or county for a road/bridge tax, this is for maintenance. However, in an HOA neighborhood, the city or county doesn’t own the roads, the homeowners do. You and your neighbors pay for any need repairs or even snow removal through your HOA dues.
HOAs are mostly like non profit corporations. As with anything else run by humans, corruption and mismanagement happen all the time. It’s hard to trust people these days and that’s exactly what you have to do when you agree to HOA guidelines.
Every club will have its dumb rules. But what seems like a stupid rule to you, might be the whole reason someone else sought that particular neighborhood to live in.
It’s up to you to do your due diligence when agreeing the terms and condition of an HOA.
And last but not least, the extra cost of an HOA neighborhood. In some states such as Texas, the HOA can and will foreclose on your home for nonpayment of dues. Don’t even entertain the idea if you can’t incorporate the added cost into your budget.
The fees range from tiny to as much as your house payment. Rules may come and go, but it’s your responsibility to abide by them. Contracts for an HOA will get signed right along with your home buying paperwork. Read it, don’t skim it.
What we have decided about HOAs is this: most are not evil. They serve a purpose and for most families it makes sense to be a part of a planned community. We are definitely wondering what we’re missing out on now. I’m pretty sure it’s a maintenance free pool.
To read more about HOAs, click HERE