Home shoppers weigh a laundry list of factors before purchasing a single-family home or condo. Location, price, size, and style are all taken into consideration. But for some, a home in a community with a homeowners association, or HOA—a board of residents who help ensure that your community looks its best and functions smoothly—could either sweeten the pot or be a major deal breaker.
“I have had clients who specifically want this type of situation, and others who refuse to buy in a community that has one,” says Bill Golden, an independent real estate agent with Re/Max Metro Atlanta Cityside.
Want to know what makes buyers swing one way or the other? The following insights will illustrate the best and worst qualities of HOAs and help you decide if living in this type of community is right for you.
Pro: HOAs maintain the common areas
Your community’s HOA will be responsible for handling all maintenance of common areas and repairs for the amenities outside of your home. It’s perhaps the biggest perk of living in an HOA community.
“Based on maintenance fees collected, an organized HOA maintains a comfortable balance in their fund to offset maintenance costs or unexpected issues that need to be fixed,” says Drew Scott of HGTV’s “Property Brothers” and co-founder of Scott Brothers Global.
An HOA’s level of involvement varies and might depend on the type and size of the community.
“The HOA will take care of the common areas like the pool, clubhouse, walking paths, or other amenities that provide value to the residents,” says Mark Ferguson, a Greeley, CO–based real estate agent and investor.
Con: You have to pay recurring HOA fees
If you move into an area with an HOA, membership is mandatory and so are the monthly or annual fees.
“The fees can change, based on decisions that you don’t have total control over,” Golden says. “Fees can also be a detriment to resale if potential buyers don’t want that extra cost in addition to their house payment.”
So, how much can homeowners expect to pay? It varies depending on your location and how expensive your house is.