One of the many things that you'll need to determine when you're shopping for a new home is whether a homeowners' association is present. HOAs are common not only in condos, but also townhouses and other accommodations in which your neighbors live in close proximity. It's a good idea to talk at length to your real estate agent about the homeowners' association if one is present for a home you're considering buying. There are several benefits and drawbacks to HOAs, and your agent will be able to help you to assess whether you still want to move forward with the purchase. Here are some pros and cons about HOAs to remember.
Pro: Many Convenient Services Are Covered
Many homeowners' associations put your fees toward providing services that will benefit each of the homeowners. For example, your grass might be cut weekly and your driveway may be cleared of snow after each storm. These services are highly appealing for people who may not have much time to mow their lawn or shovel snow, or those who are elderly and don't want to perform these laborious tasks.
Con: The Costs Can Add Up
When you're considering the purchase price of a house and the probable mortgage payments, you shouldn't overlook the homeowners' association fees. Generally, you'll pay this fee monthly, and it can be considerable. If you can afford the down payment on the house and the mortgage payment, but your money will be tight thereafter, you may not have the financial flexibility to cover the HOA fees.
Pro: You Can Get Involved
Homeowners' associations have boards that residents can join. If you're particularly passionate about the area in which you live, you can join the board — and perhaps even attain a leadership position on it — to share your vision for the community. For example, an ambitious HOA president may advocate using some of the fees toward something that could benefit all of the residents, such as expanding the visitor's parking lot.
Con: The Rules Can Seem Overwhelming
Some people aren't fond of the many rules that HOAs enforce. For example, you might need to maintain a certain appearance of your home, which could limit you from painting the garage door and front door a vibrant color that suits your outgoing personality. If you want to put up a fence because your neighbor is always outside and he or she disrupts your backyard relaxation, you'll need to get approval — and make sure that the fence meets a certain set of criteria.
For more information about properties for sale, contact a local real estate agent.