During the house hunting process, you’ll likely encounter a lot of properties that are part of an HOA—or Homeowners Association—especially when looking at townhomes, condos, and new constructions. Some people will purposely avoid properties that are part of an HOA, whereas others might actually seek these properties out. If you’re somewhat unfamiliar with HOAs and you’re still on the fence, weigh both the pros and cons, to determine if a home with an HOA is right for you:
Advantages of an HOA
Depending on your HOA, you may have access to various community amenities. These are a lot of the same amenities that you may have been used to having as a renter, such as a gym. As such, the expense of an HOA might actually cancel itself out in this case if you were planning on paying for a gym membership.
Other examples of amenities might include a swimming pool, sports courts, or even a country club.
Less to worry about
Part of your monthly HOA dues will go towards property maintenance that you won’t have to worry about on your own; the expense is already rolled into your HOA payments. Depending on the specific HOA, some of these things can include landscaping, snow removal, and trash pickup. For those who aren’t very hands-on and may have planned on hiring a landscaper on their own, for instance, may find that owning a home that’s part of an HOA can be very convenient.
Better community appearance
Properties that are part of an HOA must meet specific standards set in place by the HOA or face fines, so HOA communities tend to be more taken care of.
If you have an issue with a neighbor—for example, loud parties late at night—you can talk directly to a member of the HOA about the problem instead of having to personally deal with the neighbor yourself.
Disadvantages of an HOA
Monthly dues aren’t set in stone
Perhaps one of the biggest disadvantages of an HOA, and what turns off many, is the fact that you have another monthly payment to worry about. Your monthly HOA dues will be based on a number of factors, including the area, neighborhood amenities, etc. However, it’s not unusual for monthly HOA fees to range anywhere from $200 to $400. On top of that, though, you’ll also have to bear in mind that it isn’t a fixed amount. Even just increased cost of living can cause your HOA fees to go up, or all residents might be hit with a special assessment. For example, if you live on the water and the HOA votes unanimously that new decks need to be installed, the entire project cost will be divvied up between all the homeowners and you will receive this bill in the form of a special assessment.