While during your search for a new home, you may find some that are part of a homeowners association.  If you have never owned a home in a HOA community will certainly have questions such as what exactly does a homeowners association do? As well as what are the pros and cons?

A homeowners association is usually formed by a developer as a non-profit to maintain some aspect of a development or community.  In the case of many condos, a home owners association often handles the maintenance of the building at large. The association is normally funded by dues or an association fee.  Most real estate listings will tell you if the home is a part of an association and the fees.

 

A home owners association has the authority to enforce established rules and by-laws, including the right to fine individual home owners for flagrant violations.  If a neighbor's tree fell onto a home owner's driveway, for example, a homeowners association would have the right to order the tree removed.  If a fence violates the maximum height rule, a home owner’s association representative can order the home owner to replace the fence with a more acceptable one.

 

There are pros and cons to being a part of a homeowners association, it may or may not fit with your lifestyle and ideals. Below are some of both to help you make a decision as to if you are interested in moving into a neighborhood with an HOA.

 

Pros
• Some communities with HOAs have community parks, playgrounds, swimming pools or other nice amenities to help attract prospective tenants. Another plus is the maintance is already taken care of!
• They handle keeping the neighborhood clean and maintains up to date, they also help keep the house all looking the same to keep property values up.
• The close community concern may give owners a greater sense of security.

 

Cons
• If you don’t like restrictions on your own property, a HOA may not be for you. Many associations restrict boats and cars that don’t run from being stored in a driveway and certain paint colors on homes.
• If you don’t comply with the rules or fail to pay the dues, the HOA has a right to put a lien on your property.
 Fees can be monthly or yearly, so you will need to include them in your budget; many fees tend to rise on a yearly basis.

 

Before considering a home with an owners association read the agreement.  Ask the homeowners in the community about the services they receive.  This way you can get a feel for how happy the locals are about their association.  Also, be sure to make sure you know how the association deals with issues that arise. As a potential buyer do your research to make an educated decision and avoid surprises.