The Homeowner’s Association of your neighborhood is a wonderful thing. They make people mow their lawns, keep the neighborhood looking consistently clean and well-maintained, while also laying down the law for the residents.
Some people fear the HOA, some love them. This guide will run through the quick pros and cons of the HOA so perhaps we can humanize them and make them a less fearful-entity after all. We will also outline so quick tips to help you as a resident hold your power and not feel overtaken by the sometimes omnificent HOA.
The Pros of the HOA
- Amenities - They help to maintain and purchase amenities for the entire area. The pool looks clean – Thank the HOA. The new tennis court was just installed – Thank the HOA. There are additions to the subdivision which may not be possible without the friendly assistance of your HOA requesting these conveniences to be in close-proximity for you.
- Property Values – If you want to sell your home and there’s trash in the streets and walls being knocks down, no one will want to purchase your home or release you from this penance. HOA keeps the area looking clean and lays down the law when people aren’t doing their part. Without the HOA, people would care less about the appearance of their home, the overall value of the neighborhood would go down, as well as your home investment.
- Responsibilities Minimized – The HOA takes on more so you don’t have to! It’s not all roses to be the law-enforcement of the neighborhood, but they are commissioning workers for services like tree trimming, landscaping, and snow removal that you would be responsible for yourself without the HOA.
The Cons of the HOA
- Eviction or Foreclosures – You can absolutely be kicked out of your home or foreclosed on if you are not paying the required fees or maintaining your home to the best of your ability. There are standards for each neighborhood and the HOA is there to uphold those standards. Foreclosure will be a final resort and won’t happen rapidly or without warning, but you need to fear the HOA as much as you respect them.
- Appearances – Ultimately, it’s not up to you if you can have blue flowers in the front yard, a swing hanging on the tree, or your family’s heritage flag painted on the garage door (full My Big Fat Greek Wedding style). It’s not up to you because it’s up to the HOA. Every odd or unique decision you create for your home will have to be run by the HOA first for approval. If you do something outlandish to your home without their approval, prepare to take it down or realize the true power of these neighborhood regulators.
Tips for Home-Owners to Survive the HOA
- Read up on every rule they offer you before moving in. Know what you’re getting yourself into beforehand and if the rules aren’t to your liking, don’t lock yourself into a contract with them.
- Self-Resolve - If you have a problem with a neighbor, the HOA is there to be the middle-man for you. Depending on the situation, it could be in your best interest to resolve the issue directly with the neighbor and leave the powerful HOA out of it. If you are fearful for your safety, do not handle the situation alone. If it’s just loud music or something small, see if you can avoid including the HOA.
- Volunteer sometimes – This let’s the HOA know you are a contributing member of your community (just like they are!) and they will appreciate this. If you’re all giving back for a common goal, the HOA will smile more favoritism on you than if you are the resident that does, ‘the least.’
- If Something Needs a Change – Talk to your neighbors and get a group together before going to the HOA. If you have a problem with a way the HOA, you will look much more believable, sturdy, and strong with a group of tax-paying residents at your back rather than standing up to the HOA all alone.