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Living In An HOA Community: The Pros And Cons

Anyone who has ever tried living in an HOA knows that there are both advantages and disadvantages to it. If you are considering whether or not to move into an HOA community, it is important to consider both sides before making your decision.


Living in an HOA: Is It for You?

In the United States, over 70 million people reside in community associations. With the prevalence of such associations, your house hunting journey may lead you to an option in an HOA. If you have never experienced living in an HOA community, though, you may begin to wonder why they are so popular in the first place. Is HOA living even something worth considering?

Buying a house is a big investment and one that you must ponder on considerably. Given that it is an important decision, you must make sure it is something you will not regret down the line. As such, you must weigh out the various pros and cons of living in a homeowners association community before coming to a decision.


What Is an HOA?

An HOA, or homeowners association, is simply an organization that manages a group of homes in a residential community. These associations run the community by setting and enforcing rules, maintaining common grounds, and coordinating with homeowners.

Many people use the terms HOA and POA interchangeably, but these two types of associations do have their differences. An HOA primarily deals with residential properties and common areas.

On the other hand, a POA, or property owner’s association, is not limited to residential properties. A POA also takes care of commercial properties and is also typically involved in zoning restrictions.

A COA, or condominium owner’s association, has similar responsibilities as an HOA. This type of association consists of condominium owners. Its function is to oversee the units as well as other common areas in the condominium, such as hallways, shared walls, amenities (if any), and the like.


The Benefits of Living in an HOA Community


1. Property Value

A chief objective of an HOA is to maintain the property values of the homes in the community. As a homeowner, you understandably want your investment to flourish. This way, in the event that you decide to sell your home, you can get a significant return on your investment.

An HOA maintains or increases property values through various means, all of which are not mutually exclusive. Curb appeal is a big factor that influences property values. An HOA improves the overall curb appeal of the community by maintaining uniformity, performing landscaping, and keeping the neighborhood clean and attractive in general.


2. Amenities

Living in an HOA community grants you access to a diverse set of amenities. No two HOAs are the same, so the type of amenities in one association might differ from another.

Generally, though, you will find community pools, clubhouses, tennis courts, and fitness centers in HOAs. Some even have parks, playgrounds for children, and a community garden for those with green thumbs. The best part is, you don’t need to share these amenities with non-members. HOA residents can enjoy exclusive use of these perks.


3. Quality of Life

An HOA imposes a wide range of rules that all residents must follow. Because of this, residents of an HOA community tend to have a higher quality of life. The HOA enforces the rules in a consistent manner, with no selective enforcement or preferential treatment. Some HOA communities are also located in gated developments, which means residents get to enjoy more privacy.


4. The Convenience of Services

When you live outside of an HOA, you normally need to maintain your own lawn, trees and shrubs included. HOA living, though, affords you the convenience of services.

Many HOAs offer landscaping services as part of the regular assessments homeowners pay. That means the HOA hires a landscaping company to take care of all greenery, making sure they stay appealing and in good condition. Snow removal and garbage collection are also typically included.


5. Presence of Leadership

An HOA functions a lot like a company in that there is a group of leaders that governs the community. Known as the HOA board, members of this group volunteer for leadership positions and get elected. Board members typically include a president, a vice president, a treasurer, and a secretary, though it really varies from HOA to HOA.

These board members make decisions in the community’s best interest. They oversee the day-to-day operations, such as enforcing violations and collecting dues, making sure the association functions as intended.


6. Conflict Resolution

In a regular neighborhood, having a dispute with your neighbor can be awkward and frustrating. If you have a fear of confrontation, you may not even have the guts to bring it up. Sometimes, you end up involving local authorities or the law.

In an HOA community, though, the board usually intervenes to resolve the issue. They will follow the guidelines set forth in the HOA’s governing documents or help the conflicting parties reach a compromise.


7. A Sense of Community

Many people overlook the social aspect of living in an HOA. The residents of an HOA community have a certain bond that other neighbors don’t.

This is because HOA living encourages involvement and participation. Residents see each other at meetings, common areas, and community amenities. HOAs also organizes several social events throughout the year, such as summer BBQs and holiday gatherings. All this contributes to building a sense of belonging and community in the HOA.



The Drawbacks of Moving Into an HOA Community

As with all things, living in an HOA also poses a few disadvantages, such as:

  • Assessments. Perhaps the most obvious drawback of HOA living is the economic element. Living in an HOA comes at a cost, specifically in the form of regular assessments. Every HOA is different, so the amount you need to pay as well as how often you need to pay it depends on the community you are moving into. There is also the possibility of paying special assessments, but some states, like California, impose regulations for it.
  • Restrictive Covenants. A vast majority of HOAs enforce restrictive covenants in order to maintain consistency and curb appeal in the community. Depending on the HOA, that might mean you can’t paint your house a certain color or need to seek approval from the HOA for renovation plans. Check with your HOA to learn what type of restrictive covenants you have.
  • Risk of Violations. To maintain order, safety, and high quality of life in the community, HOAs enforce rules and regulations. When you violate these rules, you can face punishment in a variety of forms. But, as long as you follow your HOA’s rules, you have nothing to worry about.
  • Bad Management. Not all HOA communities are created equal. For the most part, homeowners associations are governed by capable HOA boards that always put the community first. However, there are few out there that suffer from poor management, either due to a lack of time or expertise. HOA communities can easily remedy this problem, though, by partnering with an HOA management company.


Is HOA Community Living Worth It?

Although there are clear drawbacks to living in an HOA community, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Assessments and restrictive covenants may feel suffocating, but they exist for a reason. The HOA uses assessments to maintain the community, and restrictive covenants help boost curb appeal. Both directly contribute to increased property values. Bad management and the risk of violations, on the other hand, can be prevented or avoided.

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