If you’re buying a new home or just moved into a condominium or townhouse, you might be wondering about Homeowners Associations (HOAs). According to Investopedia, HOAs are designed to help maintain a clean and cohesive atmosphere in a neighborhood or planned development. While HOAs take care of perks like swimming pools, tennis courts, and workout facilities, homeowners themselves must pay fees and abide by strict rules and regulations. You may have to paint more regularly, adhere to certain landscaping guidelines, and give up some control of your property.
What Is an HOA?
A Homeowners Association is a kind of ultra-local government for a community of single-family homes. The HOA makes sure common spaces look nice and creates rules to make sure all homes and homeowners within the area look a certain way and follow community rules. In many HOAs, homeowners hold elected positions to make decisions about their communities directly. Sometimes, however, HOAs are third-party companies.
Before purchasing property in a community with an HOA, make sure you agree with the policies. Just like a liberal person might feel uncomfortable in a politically conservative town, a homeowner may not want to live under the jurisdiction of an HOA with different values.
Perks of HOAs
People who are retiring love communities with HOAs because the properties can be low maintenance, have regulations on noise, and provide built-in social and recreational activities. The right HOA can handle much of your exterior upkeep. Some HOAs hire lawnmowers, landscapers, and pest control services and handle trash pickup, snow removal, exterior painting, and repairs on your behalf.
You might also have access to private recreational facilities and hosted events. Some HOAs have golf courses, and others host block parties and cookouts.
Additionally, you will have a place to report noise complaints and a whole group of people to help you resolve any conflicts that may arise with your neighbors.
Drawbacks of HOAs
Many people purchase property because they want to have total control over their living space. If you are one of these people, a community with an HOA might not be the best fit for you. When you live in a community with an HOA, everything from the color of your home to the length of your grass may be regulated.
Some HOAs limit how many cars you can have in the driveway, how many pets you can have, and whether or not your garbage can is visible to your neighbor. Even though you own your house, you may not be able to complete construction projects on your property without permission, have the kind of garden you want, or even leave your child’s bicycle in your yard overnight.
Further, the fees can be extravagant. HOA fees are mandatory and can range from $2,000 per year to as much as $10,000 per year. On average, monthly dues for an HOA are about $100 to $300, which can be a dealbreaker for buyers on a budget.
Disagreements within the HOA are always a possibility, as well. If you clash with an HOA, or the HOA just cannot decide whether or not you can paint your house purple, you might have to take the HOA to court. If your HOA creates a new rule you cannot stand, fails to perform the agreed-upon maintenance, or incites some other kind of dispute, you may need to contact a residential real estate lawyer.
At Percy Law Group, PC, we can help you buy or sell a property within an HOA or resolve disputes with your existing HOA.
Our experienced attorneys understand the pros and cons of this kind of living arrangement and can help you find the legal solution that works best for you.
Call us at (508) 206-9900 or contact us online to get results-oriented, creative counsel today.