Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s blog! The Christy Allen Team hopes you are doing well, and we hope you came to our St. Patrick’s Day Dog Parade yesterday! If you didn’t attend, then you missed out on a DOGgone good time, and you need to plan on coming to next year’s dog parade! Alright, if you aren’t new here, then you know the drill. If you’re new here, then basically what I’m asking you to do is to make sure you read last week’s blog before you continue to read this one. No worries, we will pick up right where you left off once you come back to this blog. Alright, let’s dive into this week’s blog!
If you have been house hunting recently, you have probably found a property that has an HOA. HOA stands for homeowners association, and they are a governing body over a property. Think of HOAs as landlords, and they are becoming more and more prevalent in the housing market. HOAs govern over planned structures like condos, townhomes, and even developments of single-family homes. HOAs essentially maintain the community and take care of other features for a fee. Along with a fee, homeowners must follow a set of guidelines established by the HOA. This is also where you have probably heard of some crazy, strict rules that some of your friends or family had to follow in their neighborhood. While some HOAs are a little strict, they are some very strong pros of having an HOA, so keep an open mind and stay with me. With that being said, let’s talk about some of the great pros of owning an HOA property.
The first pro is that no matter what type of property you live in, the HOA will take care of a lot of the exterior upkeep. For example, you hate mowing the lawn and trimming bushes, no problem! HOAs also take care of trash pickup, snow removal, repairs (roads, roofs, common area), etc. So, these features may be extra beneficial if you are looking to retire soon, or if you travel a lot and are away from home.
Sell for More Later
Another BIG pro of HOAs is that you could possibly sell your home for more down the line. Since HOAs are keen on keeping communities clean and presentable, home values tend to further illustrate that. Now, homes that are larger and newer will have bigger value increases than smaller, older homes. With that being said, it has been seen that single-family homes under HOAs sell for an average of 4% more than those not under an HOA!
Have noisy neighbors, and you don’t like conflict? Well, HOAs have helplines that can help you! Literally, all you have to do is talk to your HOA about the problem that you are having, and they will handle it! Wouldn’t it be nice if everything were that simple?
Common Areas & Activities
Now, if you like to have activities or common areas in your neighborhood/community, then HOAs have you covered! Some HOAs include swimming pools, playgrounds, gyms, golf courses, tennis courts, etc. HOAs may even host social events throughout the year, such as block parties or cookouts! All I got to say is count me IN!
Cuts Down on Bills
Want to hear something cool? HOAs often take responsibility for basic water. gas, and city services (trash, recycling, sewer, etc.) which cuts down on the number of bills you pay each month. So, it’s much easier to keep track of.
Alright, now let’s address the elephants in the room, shall we? There are some cons that come with HOAs, and depending on your preferences, they may be deal breakers.
The fees can be… expensive. The fees, sometimes called dues, cost single-family homeowners on average a little less than $3,000 a year. Depending on where you live, this number can be lower or a LOT higher. Most monthly dues for condos are about $100 – $300 a month, some HOAs range even higher to more than $500 a month. Yikes. Keep in mind that these fees cover all of the upkeep, maintenance, HOA employees, and a reserve fund. A reserve fund is typically used for any unexpected things that come up. For example, any natural disasters and the damage caused by those emergencies.
While the guidelines are good in some ways, they can also be a big negative for some homeowners. HOAs often have very meticulous guidelines, especially about home exteriors, in order to keep up the appearances of the neighborhood /community to their standards. Key word being “their”. You want to paint your front door a bright blue, well it’s not going to happen. Your grass is too tall, you’re in trouble. Your driveway/sidewalk looks dirty, you better get sweeping. Your dog is off the leash (if you can even have a dog), not good. Your garbage can is in view of the public or neighbors, you better hide it! I’m serious. I wish I was kidding, but these are some of the common restrictions that HOAs have. Some restrictions obviously serve positive purposes, but some restrictions may be a little extreme for some owners. I mean, having some of these restrictions for a house YOU own, can drive anyone crazy even if it is for a good purpose overall.
Risk of Lien or Foreclosure
Let’s go back to those fees for a second. HOA fees are in addition to your mortgage, property tax, and homeowners’ insurance. You have to pay for the HOA fees even if you don’t use all, or any, of the amenities. Also, if you break any of the rules like the ones listed above, you can be fined! So, what happens if you don’t pay these fees? The HOA can place a lien on your property, or it can even be foreclosed. A lien or foreclosure is used as a last resort to ensure you pay your fees because the HOA must make up the difference when people don’t pay their fees.
Professional or the Alternative
All HOAs are different. This means some HOAs do a really great job of keeping homeowners happy, keeping reserves, and spending money. On the other hand, some HOAs seem almost clueless and can greatly mismanage a community. Thus, making life more unpleasant for its homeowners. Some HOAs that do not have enough money in its reserves can charge homeowners “special fees” to pay for certain projects or increase monthly fee payments.
So, is an HOA right for you? Just keep these things in mind as well as the following pieces of wisdom: read the fine print of all contracts, read reviews about the HOA, read an HOA DICLOSURE or MASTER DEED, and find out about the HOAs financial status. Lastly, does an HOA even fit your lifestyle? Do you need all of these extra things? Can you AFFORD all of these things? If so, awesome! If not, awesome! Do what is best for you, and if you need help finding the home of your dreams with, or without, an HOA, then give The Christy Allen Team a call! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time!