For many homebuyers, a planned community can offer a number of benefits, but buying a house in a neighborhood with a Homeowners’ Association (HOA) can mean more than access to the community pool. Before committing to an HOA, there are a few factors to consider to make sure it’s right for you.
Understanding the Fees
If you’ve found a community you like, work with your Sales Professional to understand the fees. Some lenders report that the cost may impact your buying power — with
a $100 monthly fee reducing your overall loan approval amount by as much as $10 to $20 thousand depending on your rate. Others argue that the fee covers items you’d otherwise pay for out of pocket after purchasing a home in a neighborhood not governed by an HOA and truly view a community with an HOA as a valuable benefit that contributes to the stability of the property values over time.
The Benefits of an HOA
Depending on the specific community, an HOA can take some of the work out of owning a home. From lawn care and landscaping to certain repairs, an association offers a range of services for their members. Most Planned Unit Development communities will also offer a range of attractive amenities for their residents such as hiking trails, bike paths, swimming pools and changing facilities, clubhouses, pocket parks and water features. These amenities add to the ambiance and attractiveness of the community along with lighted entryways and community signage.
Many single-family communities where homeowners take care of their exterior and landscaping may have an annual fee that covers the maintenance of the landscaped entryway, signage and lighting. Most all of these HOA’s are run by a professional management company or a community board of directors who maintain, review and enforce the community rules and restrictions that ensure that the community will always stay clean and tidy. Check with the HOA in the communities you’re considering to understand what exactly is included in the monthly fee.
Looking into the Restrictions
While there may be benefits that come from your membership, you’ll also want to understand the restrictions and bylaws that regulate the neighborhood. From limitations around exterior colors and lawn ornaments to parking parameters or restrictions on in-yard playground equipment, fencing or adding on to your existing structure, an HOA can have a big impact on what you’re able to do in a neighborhood.
Committing to an HOA
If you decide the benefits outweigh the restrictions, be sure you understand your rights as a homeowner and have reviewed the HOA documents before purchasing. How can you petition the board? How do you raise a complaint? You may even consider asking if you can sit in on a meeting to get a feel for the neighborhood. Informed homeowners will seek to achieve great harmony with their neighbors to whom they share a joint interest in making their community look great and be proud to call “home.”
Let us help you find the perfect neighborhood! Contact us today at Petros Homes to get started.