I work with a diverse group of individuals each with a goal of buying or selling a home. Whether it’s to end or begin a new chapter in life, a work relocation, or pursuing an investment, I spend a lot of time helping my clients prioritize what is most important to them. When it comes to a home purchase, there are things that buyers feel strongly about, and others that elicit an apathetic response. A single story home may be essential to one buyer, while another says it doesn’t matter. Lot size is a key element to some, while others are ambivalent about their outdoor space. One question that I NEVER get a luke warm response to is “how do you feel about buying a home in an HOA community?”. It’s either a firm and immediate “NO”, or a strong and certain “YES”! Rarely do I hear that it doesn’t really matter. So what drives an individual to feel so strongly about a homeowners association?
I like to describe those who are absolutely opposed to an HOA as freedom lovers. These are individuals who don’t want to be told what color to paint their home, whether or not they can have a basketball hoop in the driveway, or where they can and can’t park an RV, boat or other vehicle of weekend fun. While they may value good neighbors who care for their yard, they do not feel that they need a third party to intervene should there be a problem. Often times they are more than delighted to save the monthly HOA fee which can range anywhere from $20 per month to $700 per month depending upon the neighborhood. In my real estate practice, approximately 30% of my buyer clients are adamantly opposed to an HOA community.
Those that desire an HOA community generally like the idea of a well-kept neighborhood with a consistent set of rules and expectations by which all homeowners must abide. They value the standard at which neighbors must keep up their yard. They enjoy the aesthetics of a neighborhood where the paint colors and architecture is consistent. Commercial vehicles parked on the street at all hours, deferred maintenance on the exterior of neighboring homes, and trash cans left at the curb more than 24 hours are unacceptable to these individuals. They are more than happy to follow a strict set of rules in order to maintain a standard in the community that makes them comfortable. They like knowing that third party enforcement is available if someone is falling short of the standard. And it’s worth the monthly fee to always know what to expect in the neighborhood they call home.
So, how do you feel about buying a home in an HOA community? I’d bet there’s an easy answer right at the tip of your tongue.