If you’ve been shopping for a new home, you’ve undoubtedly run into Home Owner’s Associations or HOAs. An HOA is a private association formed either by owner-occupants of the houses in the neighborhood or by the real estate developer to market, manage, and sell homes in a residential subdivision or townhome development. HOAs are common across metro Atlanta, but before you buy a new house, you may want to know some of the details regarding HOA membership. Here are just a few pros and cons of living in a community with an HOA.
First, let’s start with some of the things an HOA can offer homeowners.
Depending on the type of community, you may not have to do your exterior upkeep. Townhouse communities generally have HOAs that do lawn maintenance, snow removal, or other exterior work. In a neighborhood, you may be required to keep your yard to specific standards, but the HOA will handle different aspects of outdoor maintenance such as trash pick up or various repairs.
According to the Journal of Urban Economics, single-family homes in HOA communities tend to sell for 4% more than homes in similar communities without HOAs. This is often due to the restrictions in HOA neighborhoods, including home size, amenities, and upkeep of the neighborhood.
Speaking of amenities, HOA communities will often include neighborhood recreation in the membership. One of the most common shared resources is a neighborhood pool. Some HOA communities have clubhouses or even golf courses.
With an HOA in place, you can also get help with conflict resolution between neighbors or with the HOA itself. You have a place to discuss concerns and avenues to communicate and cooperate with others in your community.
However, it’s not always cut and dry when living with an HOA. Here are a few cons to consider.
Along with your home price, taxes, utilities, and other regular payments for owning a home, an HOA also has fees. The actual cost will depend on several factors, but the fee will be above your other expenses. And sometimes, the fees aren’t enough, and you can occasionally get an assessment for additional money for large-scale community projects.
Foreclosure or Lien Risk
In an HOA, you’re responsible for the fees even if you don’t intend to use the amenities, and if you don’t comply with community restrictions, you can be fined for non-compliance. If you don’t pay these fines or fees, the HOA can put a lien on your property. This could lead to a foreclosure if the HOA doesn’t collect their money.
Probably the most talked-about con regarding HOAs is the restrictions on what you can do with your property. You will need to use approved paint colors or can only plant approved flowers or bushes in your yard. Warnings can be given and fines assessed if you leave toys outside past a particular time, don’t clean your driveway or sidewalk, or if the HOA determines your home is “unkempt.”
While you own your home when you’re a part of the HOA, these restrictions can make you feel like you don’t have control over your surroundings. They may have rules on the types of window coverings you can use, how many pets you have or even the breeds of animals that are allowed. This feeling of lack of ownership is one of the top-cited reasons for dissatisfaction with HOA communities.
Do you want to learn more about living in a neighborhood with an HOA?
Maison Atlanta & Co is a full-service real estate company with over 100 years of combined experience buying and selling homes in any market. As a member of Compass, Maison Atlanta and Co has innovation and technology at our fingertips to help our clients meet and exceed their real estate goals and expectations. Call us today.