60% of recently built single-family homes have Homeowners Association (HOA) fees. An HOA is a governing structure for a community of single-family homes, condos, or town homes. The HOA typically takes care of community maintenance, amenity costs, and has a series of rules everyone in the community is required to follow. A well-run HOA can bring several benefits to a subdivision or condo community; however, some buyers avoid HOAs having experienced poorly manage HOAs in the past.
So, what are the pros and cons of your HOA?
- Community Amenities: One of the biggest benefits of an HOA is the community amenities included with the cost. The neighborhood pool, golf courses, tennis courts, gyms, or a condominium doorman are typically included in the HOA fees you pay each month. The HOA fees could also include a space to rent to host cookouts and pool parties.
- Included Utilities: Sometimes there are utilities included in HOA fees. Your complex may offer discounted Internet and cable packages within the HOA or power, gas, and water/sewage costs are sometimes included in some condominium or town home complexes.
- Shared Maintenance Costs: The HOA will typically be in charge of certain maintenance costs including landscaping, trash pickup, cleaning and painting building exteriors, and repairing damaged roofs or other building components.
- Home Value: Single-family homes under HOAs sell for an average of 4% more than similar homes without an HOA, so purchasing a home under an HOA now could result in a higher selling price later on.
- Dues: The biggest drawback of an HOA is the mandatory fees. Regardless of if you plan on using the community amenities, the fees are mandatory each month. On average, HOAs charge $2,800 per year while some reach as high as $500 a month or even over $10,000 per year for some higher-end communities and complexes.
- Restrictions: HOAs will enforce certain restrictions. Even though you own your home, there may be restrictions about your home’s exteriors including paint color, unkempt lawns, or a dirty driveway. Additionally, there may be rules on how often you need to cut your grass, the number of pets you can have, or the flowers you can plant in your front yard.
- Poor Management: HOAs will either have paid employees or volunteers from the community to manage the funds, ensure repairs are made, and confirm maintenance is completed. Poor HOA management like lack of communication, lack of professionalism or other homeowner issues can lead to an unpleasant HOA experience.