« »

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Love 'em or hate 'em: The pros and cons of HOAs

By Bruce Zander

If you live in a covenant community then it is most likely you’re very familiar with the letters HOA. The HOA or Homeowners Association is the group responsible for setting and enforcing the standards for the community. 

The HOA usually consists of a group of homeowners with sometimes the help of a management company, and the role of the HOA is to maintain consistency, conformity, improvements and conveniences in the community, and protect property values.  

All positive, right?  Not necessarily, depending on the neighbor you talked to, the HOA can sometimes be more of a nuisance than a help.  Like any situation there are pros and cons, you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. 

Love ‘em: Five HOA pros

Here are some ways the HOA gives you a reason to love them.
  1. Your monthly or quarterly dues pay for the maintenance of common areas and amenities, like pools, parks, tennis courts, golf courses, club houses and more.
  2. The HOA often pay for services, such as snow removal, garbage pickup, even yard maintenance. This ensures that the community will always look good and save you the stress of doing it yourself or hiring someone else to do the chores.
  3. If you have a problem with a neighbor, the HOA will step in and help mediate the situation.  They can take care of any issues quickly and without any awkwardness between you and your neighbor.
  4. Your property value will not plummet – in fact it may go up. With housing and economy on a rollercoaster, you can have a little comfort knowing that with a neighborhood that has standards and looks good, your property value won’t drop.
  5. HOAs often host parties that bring the community together. Block Parties, holiday events and family nights are common.

Hate ‘em: The cons of the HOA

It’s not a perfect world, so there has to be some cons that go with pros. Here are five reasons residents may not like an HOA.
  1. It may feel like they’re always watching you. Keeping notes on the length of the grass, what flowers your planting, or if you have a stray weed or two.
  2. If you want to sell or rent, the buyers or renters may need to be “approved” by the HOA before moving forward with the transaction.
  3. Dues. They can be expensive and be raised by a simple vote.
  4. The HOA has the power to put a lien on or even foreclose on your home if you don’t pay your dues.
  5. The HOA can be poorly run, many of the members are volunteers with full-time jobs and may not have the time to put in the effort required. There may be inconsistencies.
If you’re thinking of moving to a community that’s governed by a homeowners association, than do your research, talk to the neighbors and weigh the pros and cons of having an HOA.

About the author: Guest post created by Bruce Zander, lifestyle writer and resident of the Castle Rock community, The Meadows.