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What is an HOA?

So, I’m sure you get the general idea of what a Homeowner’s Association is, but are you informed on exactly what they do? You’re not alone! Many people have to pay these fees, and they know that they’re a part of one, but they don’t know everything they’re paying for when it comes to being a part of a Homeowner’s Association.

So, let’s start with the obvious. What is an HOA, and what are they for? Well, the purpose of an HOA is to manage more of the common areas in a shared living place, such as a subdivision or a condominium building. They make rules that you have to follow to live in that community. If you buy a home in a neighborhood with an HOA, you automatically opt into the HOA and have to pay the fees associated with that. 

The HOA is formed by the people who live in the community, and people are then elected into the different positions of the HOA. These are the people who create the various rules and come up with an appropriate HOA fee. 

There are many different types of rules and regulations that an HOA can put into place. There are things from having to keep your hedges trimmed and keeping your yard manicured to not allowing a particular paint color on houses or getting fined for not leaving your garage door open. It all depends on your own community’s HOA rules and regulations. Some HOAs are stricter and harsher than others. 

Here are some pros to being a part of a Homeowner’s Association:

  • In many neighborhoods, you don’t have to take care of your own home’s exterior. There are services for that included in your fee.
  • Later on, if you want to sell your home, typically, homes with HOAs sell for more than homes without. 
  • There are usually some extra amenities available to the people in the community, such as a golf course in the community, a neighborhood swimming pool, and community gyms.

Here are some of the cons to being a part of a Homeowner’s Association:

  • Some HOAs don’t allow pets or have a strict limit on the number of pets each household can have.
  • The fees can add up. If your HOA is taking care of your exterior and then the water and gas bills are a part of the fee, your fee could be thousands of dollars. It might seem incredible that you have fewer bills, and it’s all just in one fee, but that fee may be much more than you’d pay without the HOA. 
  • HOAs can be pretty particular on the exterior of all of the houses in the community. You may not be able to paint your home the color you want, or you may have to be keeping up with your mailbox to make sure there is no peeling paint on it, or these types of situations can lead to being fined. 

All HOAs are different, and maybe the one you’re a part of is not as strict, or perhaps it has even more rules than what is listed here. When buying a house in a community with an HOA, you want to make sure you’re looking at all of their regulations before you buy the house. Maybe you’ll think the rules are too strict and you won’t have enough control over your own home. Or perhaps you think the practices are very reasonable, and you won’t mind having those set in place. Some excellent pros that some come with, such as the community gym or pool, could make or break someone’s decision to buy a house!

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