Homeowner Associations – Pros and Cons
Most homes built in designated or planned communities since the 1980’s have an HOA – that is, a Homeowner Association. Whether you grew up in one, or never have experienced living in one, there are many opinions about the benefits and downsides. We will cover some good information that will help you with your home buying decisions.
What is an HOA
An HOA is a governing structure for planned communities that can apply to single family homes, townhouses and condos (which have their own, but similar, structure). Overall, the goal of an HOA is to maintain and enhance the community through rules, regulations, and proper management.
PROS- benefits to enjoy
- Efficiency of services, such as trash pickup, landscaping.
- There are typically more common areas which are well maintained
- Often there are more amenities in a HOA community, such as playgrounds, walking paths, community center, etc.
- An HOA has means to address property owners that do not keep up the condition of their home, therefore helping to strengthen property values. Research shows that homes under an HOA sells for about 4% more than similar homes outside of HOA’s
CONS- downsides and concerns
- There is a fee involved, sometimes in line with the services provided, sometimes in excess.
- The HOA fee is an added cost to home ownership, in addition to the mortgage, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance.
- The rules and regulations, and most often the architecture guidelines, are sometimes seen as too strict. Some people don’t like the added rules about a home they own.
With most of the new development in the DC / MD / VA area being in planned communities, it is hard to get away from Homeowner Associations if a buyer is interested in new construction or in homes built in the past 40 years. From my experience in working with home buyers, and transactions in many different communities throughout the state, it is my opinion that a well-managed HOA adds definitive value to the owners who live there.