Over 63 million Americans are part of a homeowners association, according to a brochure from the Foundation for Community Association Research. Are you one of them? Or perhaps you’re considering joining their ranks with your next move. As with any living situation, there are upsides and downsides to choosing an HOA.
Before you make your next move, take some time to consider the pros and cons of living in an HOA. Do the amenities and close-knit neighborly ties justify the monthly fees you will pay? And how does living in an HOA make a difference when it’s time to compare homeowners insurance? CoverHound brings you a few key points to consider before you decide yay or nay on the HOA.
As House Logic points out, homeowners associations operate by creating their own covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) relating to resident behavior, buildings, and shared responsibilities. If the idea of someone telling you how high you can build your fence irks you, then joining an HOA may not be up your alley.
Breaking the community rules will usually result in a fine. You may have a chance to appeal to the homeowners association board in writing or in person if you disagree with a rule, but there are no guarantees whether they’ll respond in a timely manner or side with you. On the plus side, you won’t have to worry about your neighbors turning their entire yard into a go-kart track, as the same rules that govern you also keep others in check.
Perks and Amenities
Every HOA has its own unique setup, but many include shared amenities like pools, tennis courts, community centers, on-site gyms, parks, or walking trails. By paying into the homeowners association, you gain access to these private amenities.
Some HOAs make maintenance mighty easy on residents by providing services like trash removal, snow clearance, and lawn care. Common areas usually fall under the HOA’s responsibility, so you can enjoy the landscaping and cleanliness without having to upkeep it yourself.
While common areas are usually covered, each homeowner within the community must upkeep their own property to meet HOA guidelines or face a fine. While this may mean a few more weekends each year working on the outside of your home, everyone in the community can enjoy the spic-and-span appearance.
The cost of joining a homeowners association can range from under 100 dollars to several hundred dollars per month. While this is a predictable fee that you know about up front, problems can arise when HOAs need funds to undertake large, costly projects.
U.S. World News & Report outlines one worst-case scenario that happened to a Chicago-based marketing executive. Immediately after Sheryl Dineen moved into her new home, she received a special assessment for $10,000. The reason? Her development was building a new circular driveway and patio area. This is a dramatic scenario, but you may encounter special assessments in addition to your regular dues, so you want to make sure that your wallet is ready for the demands of an HOA.
If you do decide to join a homeowners association, you’ll be happy to hear that implementing security measures in your home along with heightened community security may qualify you for discounts on your homeowners insurance premiums.
Wherever your next move may take you, compare homeowners insurance quotes with CoverHound first.