Living in a neighborhood with a Homeowners Association
Having managed a large Homeowners Association for a decade, I have heard so many stories about how horrible living in a HOA is, how great living in a HOA is, and everything in between.
When I moved into my current home in 1998, it was my fourth house purchase and the first in a HOA restricted community. I was surprised when I had to ask someone permission to build a fence on my property and add a screened porch to my house. During my time managing a HOA, I often heard “you c
an’t tell me what to do with my property”. Well, if you choose to live in a HOA restricted community, which YOU agreed to, the answer is YES you can be told what you can and cannot do with your property. It’s your choice to live in a community that is restricted by covenants or not. More often than not, people forget that.
When I purchased my home, I signed a contract acknowledging the existence of a community association, but like most people, knowing exactly what a HOA is wasn’t that big of a deal. The neighborhood I purchased in was brand new and there were many houses still to be built. The community was thriving and things looked great! Purchasing a home is one of the largest investments you may ever make. It’s important that you make sure that if you choose to purchase in a community governed by a HOA, you know what it all means. Having to pay assessments to a HOA is often a struggle, but to have to pay to one that isn’t viable would be a terrible situation to be in.
Some HOA communities are strictly regulated and some aren’t. Do some homework and talk to some residents in the neighborhood that you are interested in and learn about how their HOA works. Are they friendly? Are they watchdogs? Are they reasonable and fairly laid back? Knowledge is power; find out all you can before making a purchase.
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