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Weighing the Pros and Cons: Understanding Homeowners Associations (HOAs)

February 28, 2024

Weighing the Pros and Cons: Understanding Homeowners Associations (HOAs)

Homeowner Associations (HOAs) have become common in many residential communities. Betenbough Homes builds in communities both with and without HOAs. Before you move into an HOA-managed neighborhood (or decide you would NEVER), let's discuss their pros and cons!

Photo of family walking on trail in their community.The Bright Side

1. Top-Notch Amenities - HOA fees usually cover the maintenance and repair of common areas such as landscaping for entrances and streetscapes, pool maintenance, community parks, security services, walking trails, and more.

2. Rules that Make Sense - HOAs keep the neighborhood looking and behaving its best by setting guidelines for everything from lawn care to noise levels. It may sound restrictive, but these rules keep the community a pleasant place to live and the property values up!

3. Community Vibes - Many HOAs organize fun events like block parties, movie nights, and neighborhood potlucks! An HOA can bring neighbors together, turning your street into a group of friends.

4. Peacekeeping Pros - If you've ever had to navigate a spat with a neighbor over a noisy pet or trashy yard, you may be thankful for an HOA that can help arbitrate such disagreements with fair rules and conflict resolution strategies.

Photo of man with a football surrounded by five boys in a community park.The Flip Side

1. Fee Frustration - HOA living comes with a price tag. The benefits of an HOA aren't free, and the homeowners pay for those perks. Be prepared to budget for monthly, quarterly, or annual fees, depending on your community's HOA.

2. Rules and Restrictions - If you're wanting a neon pink front door or a gigantic gnome garden, you better check those HOA rules first! Most HOAs have restrictions on paint color, landscaping, and other aspects of the homes' exteriors. 

3. Potential Conflict - Where there are rules, there is bound to be conflict. Sometimes homeowners run into disagreements with their HOAs, and that's no fun.

4. Less Say, More Pay - HOAs are like mini-governments with their own board of directors making decisions on behalf of the community. That means less control for you and more reliance on others to call the shots (for better or worse).

Photo of a husband and wife pushing a stroller down a community sidewalk waving to neighbors in their front yard.FAQs About HOAs

Q: How much will my HOA fees be? 

A; HOA fees can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars per year, depending on where you live and how many amenities are offered. If you are shopping in a more affordable neighborhood, expect the HOA fees to be affordable, as well.

Q: Are HOA fees tax deductible?

A: Possibly! If you have a home office, you can probably deduct a portion of the HOA fees based on the percentage of the home's square footage that is used exclusively for work. If you own the home as a rental property, a tax professional can guide you through how to deduct  your HOA fees. If the home is your primary residence, then your HOA fees are probably not tax deductible

Q: Do I have to pay the HOA fees?

A: If you purchase a home in an HOA community, you are required to pay those fees. A missed or late payment can result in additional fees on top of your regular dues. 

Q: How do I know my HOA's rules?

A: Every HOA has a Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R) that outlines the benefits of the HOA plus the rights and obligations of the homeowners. 

Q: What happens when someone violates the HOA rules?

A: Usually homeowners will be given a warning when they break a community rule. Most HOAs can charge a fine for homeowners who do not come into compliance after a warning.

Q: Is an HOA worth it?

A: For a lot of homeowners, the answer is yes! HOA neighborhoods usually offer several amenities, maintain property values well, and help make the community a delightful place to live.

Choosing whether or not to live in an HOA community is an important decision. We encourage you to read the CC&Rs, understand the financial obligations involved, and make the choice that works best for you and your family!

Ready to discuss Betenbough Homes' communities and which will be the best fit for your family? Book your VIP tour today!


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