Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pros and Cons of an HOA

Dear Property Manager,

My wife and I are moving and considering a couple different neighborhoods in the Charlotte area. We have never lived in a community with a Home Owner's Association and a few of the options have them. There is a cost of course, and I am wondering if it is worth it.

Can you tell me a couple of the pros and cons of an HOA?

Bill M - Charlotte, NC

Dear Bill,

Simply, a HOA regulates neighborhood and the Home Owner's Association organization is run by members of the community who are charged with enforcing the neighborhood's rules. Many use a management company to help collect the dues and deal with the administrative details of enforcing the regulations.

HOAs watch out for the community and your property. But just as there are pros there are some cons as well, and HOA communities aren't for everyone.

Pros to HOAs:

1) HOAs provide you with the peace of mind that someone else is looking out for your property and the value of the property.
2) The value of your neighbor's property is also looked out for, as they are held to the same regulations as you are.
3) Many HOAs restrict changing the outside appearance of a home or property dramatically and outside the approved "look" of the community.
4) Some HOA communities come with amenities such as pools, ponds, walking paths, parks, club houses, fitness centers, etc.
5) HOAs can provide a sense of community, and give you the opportunity to participate in the organization with your neighbors.

Cons to HOAs:

1) Many HOAs restrict what you can keep outside at night, such as recreational equipment and vehicles.
2) You are required to take in your trash and recycle bins within a day and may not be able to store them outside at all.
3) Your landscaping and lawn care will need to be maintained per HOA guidelines, and this may include the types of trees and grass you can plant.
4) Some HOAs have very restrictive policies, so you will want to review the rules before moving in.
5) Some HOA restrict the amount and type of animals community members can own.
6) You may be restricted by an HOA if you want to rent your property.
7) You will have to get approval to do any major changes or upgrades to the property including patios, porches, pools, or additions.

HOA rules differ in each community and if you are considering one with a HOA, we recommend you get a copy of the HOA rules, and information on the management company before you make your final decision.

...Property Manager, Kuester.com

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