The Basics: Homeowner's Associations

Some people love them, some people love to hate them – but either way, homeowner’s associations play a huge role in a modern community lifestyle. Depending on who’s in charge, they can make your life a lot better or a lot worse, and even that depends on who you are and how you like to live.

So there are a lot of ever-changing factors at play if you can’t decide whether or not to live somewhere that features a homeowner’s association. To make it a little bit easier for you, here are some common reasons why some people like them, and why some people don’t.

The Good:

  • It’s like living in a small town

“But I already live in a town!” is probably what you’re saying. But think about this: when was the last time you mowed the grass alongside the highway? Or commissioned to build a new park? Or had to put on small activities for everyone? The little burdens and things that you don’t have to deal with in your town are the same small things that a homeowner’s association frees you from. They collect dues, impose fines, and provide services – everything a town council would do.

  • They bring people together

There isn’t anything like a mandatory homeowner’s association meeting to bring together neighbors. You get to see people in your community that you might otherwise not meet, and it makes for a more unified, harmonious experience. Nobody wants to feel out of place where they live, but very few can find the time to get to know everyone in the community, so your HOA takes care of that for you.

The Not-So-Good

  • Restrictions, restrictions, restrictions

The most universal complaint about homeowner’s associations everywhere is the restriction. If you want to paint your house, or plant something in your front yard, or do really any kind of remodeling, it has to go through the HOA for approval first. If you are in a financially tight situation and fall behind on dues, the HOA will likely assess you fines. Not to mention, if there is an overall approval for something that will cost you money (such as a big event, or new treadmills for the fitness center) and you don’t approve, you are still obligated to pay your share.

Homeowner’s associations aren’t for everyone, but many people can’t imagine living without one. In the end, it will all come down to what your personal lifestyle is, so keep that in mind next time you look for homes in communities governed by one. 

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