A homeowners association (HOA) is an organization founded by a real estate developer in order to manage a community of houses, townhouses or condominiums. The NY State Attorney General's site says the association "is given the authority to enforce the covenants, conditions, and restrictions as well as manage the common elements of the development."

 

Pros

  • Hoas can have anemities.

Buying into an HOA can give you access to things like a fitness center, pool, golf course, tennis court, club house, restaurants, parks- things you may not otherwise be able to afford or enjoy so close to home. And the best part- not having to clean or maintain any of these amenities. Your HOA will take care of it for you.

  • They can help keep up appearances.

An HOA usually has rules to prevent things like neighborhood decline and property neglect. They can also help maintain the property values for the house sin the community.

  • They can reduce your responsibilities.

The fees you pay every month usually go towards things like snow removal, a gate, maintenance, etc. Things you would typically have to do or pay for yourself. Say goodbye to things like yard work- living in an HOA community let you personalize certain parts of your yard, but they cover general maintenance. A low maintenance lifestyle is one of the BIGGEST pro to living in an HOA community.

  • Your utilities. 

Living in an HOA community can simplify your monthly bills. Some HOAs will total all a resident's utilities into one monthly fee, which in most cases makes things easier. Utilities like sewer, water, trash, recycling, and gas. It could also mean things like insurance and reserve funds.

 

Cons

  • Falling behind on dues can lead to consequences.

This is why it's important to make sure HOA fees are in your budget beforehand. Late fees or not paying dues can move to foreclosure on your property. (The process varies by state.)

  • They can limit you from renting your property.

Some HOAs can put an array of rental restrictions in place. Things like approvals, leases, and more.

  • They can spring assessments on you.

If they don't have cash reserves to cover an expenditure, it can impose an assessment to come up with the money. 70% of all HOAs are unfunded, so this is a possibility. 

  • Your fees could be expensive.

Many communities cost a lot to join. High HOA fees usually mean more landscaping, general maintenance, and anemities. If you don't care for things like this, HOA fees could be a waste of your money. Make sure to ask for a list of everything included in the price so you know what you're paying for. This is another reason it's so important to look at your budget and make sure you can afford to pay the monthly dues. 

  • You may not be able to do as much personalization.

Yes, you can do some light decorating like lawn chairs and plants- but you may not be able to do anything exterior-wise. Things like painting or remodeling may be off limits. If you like to personalize and design the outside of a home, living in an HOA community may not be for you.

  • Your community could be under poor management.

While most HOA communities are managed well, there's always a few bad apples. A poorly managed Hot could include things like failing to enforce parking rules, allowing the public to use private amenities  failing to provide regular lawn care or landscaping, and failing to fix broken walkways or stairs.

We recommend asking residents for your personal opinion. It may also be smart to ask about hOA reserves in the case of an emergency. Failing to have a reserve could also be a sign of poor management.

After you've waived the pros and cons of living in an HOA community and you've decided to move- shoot us a call here at PRODUCER Realty!