If you’re in the market for a new home, you should definitely understand what a homeowners association (HOA) is and how it can impact you as a homeowner.


Homeowners associations can offer a number of benefits. However, they can also be frustrating and difficult to work with.


Before choosing a home, it’s important to consider whether or not you want to live in a community with an HOA. To make this decision, there are a number of factors you should consider.


Let’s take a look at what a homeowners association is and how it can affect you.


What is a Homeowners Association?

A homeowners association is a nonprofit entity which is controlled by a board of homeowners in a given community. Essentially, the HOA is responsible for managing the upkeep and operations of its community.


When you buy a home in a planned development, you are typically required to join your community’s HOA. You will have to pay HOA fees which go towards maintaining the community.


HOAs focus on maintaining the comfort of homeowners living in the community. Additionally, they are often dedicated to improving and maintaining the value of the community itself.


They do this by maintaining properties and common areas and requiring residents to abide by covenants, conditions, and restrictions, or CC&Rs.


These rules often result in maintaining a high-quality of living while keeping up the appearances of properties in the community.


However, while HOAs often do a great job of managing communities, their rules can be quite restrictive and can be difficult to comply with.



Things to Know About Homeowners Associations

There are a number of factors you should consider when choosing whether or not to buy a home with an HOA.


First, fees can be quite expensive. As mentioned above, HOAs are nonprofits that collect fees in order to fund the maintenance of a community. In some cases, you may be required to pay upwards of $500 per month in HOA fees.


Not all HOAs offer the same benefits, either. The amenities provided by your HOA may not be quite as appealing as other HOAs in surrounding communities. Before joining an HOA, you should ask what services and amenities are covered by your monthly dues.


As mentioned previously, HOA rules can be restrictive and difficult to comply with. Some may require that all front doors and exteriors be painted a particular color — preventing you from choosing the color you want. You may also be required to keep your grass under a certain length. In many cases, if you don’t comply with these rules, your HOA will charge additional fees.


Your HOA may also be able to force foreclosure on your property if you do not pay your dues or follow the rules established for your community.



Should You Live in an Area with an HOA

Ultimately, the decision to live in a community with an HOA comes down to your personal preferences.


While HOA rules can be restrictive, they also serve to maintain high appearances. While your dues can be quite high, they often serve to provide great amenities, like parks, tennis courts, and clubhouses.


The most important thing to do is communicate with your potential HOA to clearly understand their rules and what your responsibilities as a resident are.