The term HOA stands for Homeowners Association, which you might have heard in passing conversations or in real estate discussions. HOAs affect homeowners in many ways. If you are looking to purchase a home with an HOA, you might want to brush up on your knowledge to learn how it will affect you.

HOAs are organizations within subdivisions, communities, or condominium complexes. In each housing area, rules are made, and the HOA enforces them. Typically, homeownership comes with the freedom to change your home’s landscaping, exterior, or design on a whim. However, HOA community members often run into limitations doing so.

HOAs are run by a board of directors appointed by the community or within the board itself. These positions are voluntary, meaning they are not paid but are reasonably strict about enforcing HOA rules throughout their jurisdiction. The board members deal with complaints pertaining to issues with homeowners.

If you are looking to purchase a new home and an HOA is involved, be sure to meticulously examine the rules before putting in an offer. HOAs are intended to maintain harmony and appearance throughout the local area. Rules are enforced, which keep unruly residents at bay. Sometimes, HOA boards are required to implement regulations if homeowners do not follow the rules. On the other hand, HOAs help to increase community value and ensure properties do not depreciate over time.

There are some pros and cons of being a member of an HOA. Some pros include amenities, unified appearance, community involvement, and maintenance. Conveniences can consist of a pool, gym, meeting room, and more. Typically, utilities such as trash and water are also covered. Because maintenance is sometimes covered under the HOA, issues with landscaping or infrastructure can easily be fixed.

Cons of HOAs include dues, rules, and a limited amount of freedom to do as you please. Monthly dues are separate from a mortgage payment and are used toward expenses. Prices can vary between communities, and the board can adjust the dues as they deem necessary. Regulations set by the HOA aren’t crystal clear until you move into your new home. Some rules include a specific number of pets, length of grass, types of renovations, paint colors, fences, etc.

Being an HOA member is a choice some homeowners have to make, but it shouldn’t be a flippant decision. The takeaways are vast; before making a decision, research the options heavily.

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