Picture this: You find a perfect home with your dream layout but the exterior color is less than grand so you think, “That’s just cosmetic! We can fix that later!” Or perhaps you find a home with a yard large enough to build a beautiful chicken coop so you can harvest your own eggs. You purchase the home and look forward to moving day only to discover that the home is subject to an HOA that prohibits changing exterior paint colors or owning farm animals.
Turns out, that dream home may not be such a dream after all.
Unfortunately, this scenario plays out in neighborhoods across America every day. It seems that if you buy a home, you should get to decide what you do with that home. But that is not always the case.
Before buying a home it’s important to find out the HOA situation. Does it have an HOA? How strict is the HOA? Do you have any lifestyle factors that will affect your standing with an HOA?
Many families love living in a neighborhood with an HOA, while other buyers specifically only look at houses that steer clear of an HOA because they have lifestyle scenarios that make dealing with an HOA difficult such as owning several family cars or recreational vehicles such as ATVs or RVs.
You may be unsure of how you feel about HOA’s so let’s take a look at some benefits and drawbacks of buying a home that is not part of an HOA.
What is an HOA?
A Homeowner Association is a governing organization for a community or neighborhood. They are typically run by a governing board that sets and enforces rules and bylaws pertaining to the operation of a specific neighborhood, development, or community.
Homeowners pay a monthly or annual fee to the association in exchange for certain services such as landscaping, amenity management, security, and utilities. In this way, an HOA operates similarly to a property manager for a rental property.
Many different property types such as master-planned communities, single-family home neighborhoods, townhouses, and condominiums operate under the authority of a Homeowner Association.
Pros of Purchasing a Home without an HOA
There are many benefits to purchasing a home that is not subject to a homeowner association.
The most significant benefit of finding a home that does not operate under a homeowner association is the freedom it gives you. When your home is not governed by an HOA, you are the only one determining decisions about your home and property. This includes what color you paint the home, the type of fence you construct, how many and what type of pets you own, how you house and care for your vehicles and so much more. Your decisions about your home are solely based on your preferences and the laws of the government.
Buying a home that is not part of an HOA can actually save you money. Typically, HOAs charge a monthly fee that can range anywhere from $100-$500 depending on the area and services. In many cases, homeowners do not get a say in whether they join the HOA or how much they pay the HOA. This means that your expense is determined for you and is outside of your control. When you do not have to pay a fee to an HOA every month, that is money in your pocket that you can use to pay your property tax or choose how else to spend.
No Strict Guidelines
HOAs are known for having very strict guidelines that homeowners must abide by. These guidelines can be as trivial as where and how you store your trashcans to important issues such as safety and security standards. Without an HOA, you are free to keep your vehicles in your driveway, mow your yard when you please, paint your front door any color you’d like, and put a swing set in the yard for your kids without getting permission or a violation notice.
Do you run a home business? You could run into issues if you live in a home with an HOA. If your business is mainly online or you don’t have employees coming in and out, then you shouldn’t run into problems. But if you have company vehicles, large equipment, or employees, an HOA may find an issue with your business. For instance, some HOA guidelines prohibit company vehicles from being parked in driveways or streets and require all equipment to be closed behind a garage door. Some gated communities even prevent company vehicles from driving into the neighborhood on Sundays, which could affect your business. If you are a home business owner it is best to evaluate these guidelines before purchasing a home with an HOA.
Cons of Purchasing a Home without an HOA
There can be drawbacks to finding a home that is not part of a homeowner association.
You may enjoy the benefit of freedom of not being under the rule of an HOA, but this can also be a drawback because your neighbors also have the same freedoms. Would you prefer not to have broken-down cars in driveways, trashcans visible in the yard, or to see pink shutters when you look out of your kitchen window? These are all issues that an HOA helps to deter. Therefore you must understand that every freedom you enjoy must also be extended to every neighbor in your community.
Just as living in a neighborhood with a highly rated elementary school or district can increase your property value, so can a home with an HOA. When your home is in a neighborhood with a well-run HOA, it automatically increases the value of the neighborhood, and thus your property value. This is because the main goal of an HOA is to ensure that all homes maintain a certain standard. When homes and yards are well-kept and repaired appropriately, real estate values increase.
Does your community have a neighborhood pool, tennis courts, playground, dog park, or other shared amenities? It must be someone’s job to maintain and care for these amenities. Many neighborhoods opt to establish an HOA to ensure that these shared assets are cleaned and repaired when needed. Having HOA-run amenities ensures that the quality of your neighborhood facilities does not decrease or devalue. Additionally, HOAs are responsible for maintaining neighborhood landscaping. Having beautiful flowerbeds at neighborhood entrances at the start of each season and well-groomed medians and curbs can increase the appearance of your neighborhood and make living in your home a more enjoyable experience.
Have you ever had to confront a neighbor over something that is bothering you? Perhaps they throw too many loud parties? Or their yard is unkempt and overgrown and it doesn’t look like they’ll be taking care of it anytime soon? Addressing these issues may be very uncomfortable. But when you have an HOA, you don’t have to address these issues directly. In many cases, the HOA will already send a notice to your neighbor without your having to say anything, or if you do have a complaint, you can take it to the HOA and ask them to handle it. Conflict management is one of the major perks of living in a home with an HOA.
Need Help Finding a Home With or Without an HOA Near Luke AFB?
Are you on the hunt for your next home? Buying a home is a very important decision that can take a lot of time, research, energy, and effort. But it is all worth it when you are finally handed the keys to your dream home.
Part of finding a dream home is ensuring that you will not run into extreme nuisances whether the source is obnoxious neighbors or an obnoxious HOA. Each family feels differently about HOA guidelines therefore it is smart to note a home’s HOA status before putting in an offer.
At Desert Heroes, our team members want to make sure you are completely in love with every aspect of your new home, therefore we make it our goal to inform you on everything you need to know… including the HOA reputation.
Schedule a meeting with us to discuss your real estate needs, including your thoughts about HOAs. Our team cannot wait to meet you!