Is HOA Living for You? 5 Things to Consider
Ah, the age-old question: is HOA community living pricey paradise, too strict, or just right and worth every penny? How does it affect property prices? Weighing up HOA living is a big decision - after all, an HOA community can come with plenty of perks, but it also has its fair share of drawbacks. So, if you're considering making the move, here are five key factors to consider.
1. The HOA Commandments: Thou Shalt Not Paint Thy House Neon Green
Let's dive straight into one of the most common questions regarding the liveability of HOA communities - the rules. Even if you've never lived in an HOA community before, it's probably still not lost on you that the rules are no joke. Depending on the community, restrictions regarding everything from the color you can paint your house to the height of your grass could be in the mix—and don't even think about putting up a trampoline without getting the HOA green light first.
That said, it's not all bad. The rules are in place for a reason, helping to maintain property values and keep the neighborhood looking its best. And hey, if you're someone who appreciates a well-manicured lawn, and tidy curb appeal, and for you, sticking to rules is a walk in the park, an HOA community might fit you like a glove.
2. The Fees: Is Living in an HOA Worth the Price Tag?
Okay, let's talk about the elephant in the room: the price tag of HOA living. Yes, living in an HOA community comes with fees (usually monthly or quarterly) that go towards things like common area maintenance, covering amenities, building repairs, and security (someone has to pay for those reassuring badge entry systems); nevertheless, these fees all add up, so you must make sure you're financially comfortable with them (as well as accepting of them in general) before you make the move.
On the plus side, HOA fees usually cover things like lawn care, trash pickup, and snow removal, making life a whole lot easier if you've been used to doing those things yourself. Plus, depending on the community, the fees may also cover for high-brow amenities, such as a pool, clubhouse, or gym, all major selling points worth the extra cost to many.
3. From Potlucks to Petitions: HOA Community Living
One of the biggest advantages of HOA living is the sense of community it provides. If you're someone who finds value in getting to know your neighbors and participating in local events, an HOA community can really enrich your lifestyle in a positive way. Many communities organize events like block parties, book clubs, and seasonal festivities.
Still, on the flip side, if you're someone who values your privacy (especially when at home) and will cross a road to avoid small talk, an HOA community might drive you a bit mad. It's also worth mentioning that some communities can be quite strict about noise levels, so if you like to blast some tunes or socialize late into the night, you might find that HOA communities aren't your friend.
4. The HOA Effect: How Community Living Can Boost (or Bust) Your Home's Value
The resale value of a property should always be somewhat of a consideration when you invest in a home, so it's a good idea to understand how the HOA aspect of a property may affect this. In general, homes in HOA communities tend to achieve higher resale values than those in non-HOA communities; HOAs help maintain the community's quality standards and keep it looking nice, which can be a major selling point for potential buyers.
However, it's important to note that this isn't always the case. Sometimes, HOA fees are just too darn high, or the rules are over-the-top (bonkers), and this can actually hurt resale values. Plus, if you're creative and like to make major changes to your home - such as adding an extension or painting the exterior or front door a bold color - you might find that the rules put a damper on your vision and even impact your ability to maximize your investment returns.
5. Board Games: Navigating HOA Management
Last but by no means least, let's talk about the management of the HOA itself. This is a big one, as the ethos and quality of the management can actually make or break the experience of community living. If the management is responsive, helpful, and fair, the experience can be a positive one; turn this on its head and consider rigid, stuffy, unapproachable management, and you can see how residents could quickly find themselves feeling frustrated, powerless, and frankly, stuck.
So, before you make your move, put your investigator's hat on; chat with current residents and find out how they feel about the current management, and check out the online reviews to sniff out any red flags. Also, if possible, attend an HOA meeting to get a firsthand feel for how the management operates.
To Each Their Own
Moving into an HOA community is fantastic for some, and a poor fit for others; it all just depends on personal preferences and priorities. If you're someone who values a well-manicured community, enjoys socializing with neighbors, and doesn't mind coughing up the fees, an HOA community could have your name all over it. Conversely, if you're someone who values privacy, creativity, and flexibility, it might not be for you.
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