Buying a home of your own is one of the most significant purchases you will likely ever make. You may only do it once or twice in your life, but when buying a property in the Sunshine State, you have many important decisions that will need to be made.
One factor that most new homeowners tend to overlook is the Homeowners Association (HOA) and the associated fees, rules, and benefits of purchasing their property within an HOA. Homeowners Associations are designed so that the homeowners in a neighborhood contribute together to provide funding for the management and upkeep of the community.
An HOA comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and it’s up to you to consider if the pros outweigh the cons. Here are the pros and cons of HOAs so that you can make an informed choice about whether purchasing your property with an HOA is the right decision for you.
- Increases Property Value – The idiom “do not judge a book by its cover” definitely doesn’t hold good in the real estate market. Everyone evaluates properties by the neighborhoods and the general location in which they are set.
So, if you have a great neighborhood, your property is more desirable– HOAs help keep your neighborhood well maintained. As a homeowner, this translates to a steady increase in the value of your house over time.
- Handles Neighbor Disputes – When staying in a community, it is inevitable for you to have a difference in opinion with your neighbors at some point. Maybe their pets use your yard to relieve themselves and that doesn’t get cleaned up, or maybe they play loud music at odd hours.
Irrespective of the cause of the dispute, resolutions are typically easier and faster to achieve if a third party mediates. The HOA board is the mediator that often helps settle a wide array of non-criminal grievances between neighbors amicably.
- Access to Shared Amenities – Many neighborhoods with HOAs have access to shared common spaces open to all the residents for use. These usually include amenities such as pools, clubhouses, parks, tennis courts, fishing ponds, fitness centers, and security gates, to name a few. The HOA makes having access to and maintaining these shared spaces a lot easier than accessing them as an individual.
- HOA Dues are an Additional Cost in Your Budget – HOA fees or dues depend upon the neighborhood and are often paid monthly or yearly. As mentioned earlier, this due is an addition to your insurance and mortgage.
Non-payment of your HOA fees can result in having a lien placed on your property or may even lead to foreclosure of your home. It holds good even if you have been timely with your mortgage payments.
- You Have to Live by A Pre-Set List of Rules – HOAs usually have a set of predetermined rules and regulations which the neighborhood is expected to follow. These can vary from simple rules such as a regular mowing of your lawn or as specific as what color your blinds should be. Some HOAs also have guidelines around parking your vehicles on the street.
Being an HOA member allows you the option to petition for modifications or additions to these rules. However, it is not assured that your request will be approved.
- The HOA’s Problems Become Your Problems – Suppose the HOA becomes involved in any legal proceedings or is facing monetary issues as a homeowner and an HOA member. In that case, you are expected to help bear the financial burden of such events. These legal battles may lead to lowering your property’s value, making it more difficult for you to secure a loan in the future; this may even result in a huge spike in your HOA fees.
- You Have to Consult the HOA Before Making Changes to Your Home – One of the biggest drawbacks of being a part of an HOA is that you would need the board’s approval before making any changes to your property. The HOA would likely govern even trivial changes such as fencing your yard or adding a porch.
No HOA Homes for Sale
How to Decide Whether HOA Is Right for You?
If the house you like is in a planned community, be sure to ask for the HOA’s declaration or master deed and the HOA’s financial status, and if the property has any outstanding debt. The rules and approval process would already be written out in the HOA’s regulation document, so be sure to read the literature closely and seek clarification well before you decide to purchase your property.
Have Questions? Ask The Grant Homes Group & Coast2Coast Realty!
The Grant Homes Group & Coast2Coast Realty is the best source of information about the local community and real estate topics. Give us a call today at (888) FLA-GULF (888-352-4853) to learn more about local areas, discuss selling a house, or tour available homes for sale.