An HOA. Say this three letter to someone and you will get one of two responses: You may find some homeowners love living in one, while others find it a total nightmare, doing whatever it takes to avoid it at all costs.

Depending on your personal preferences, a homeowners association can be a good or an evil thing, depending on how you look at it. Like anything, there will always be a positive and negative, so let's dig deeper to see what people boast and complain about.

The Positives

1. A Great Looking Neighborhood

Because these HOAs will have strict rules, this means all of your neighbors will have to abide by the same rules you do. This may mean keeping your trees trimmed, painting your house a certain color or hiding the car on cylinder bricks out of sight. As a result of these rules, the neighborhood will have a more upscale look, preventing those eyesores you often see in non-HOA neighborhoods.

 2. Resolve Disputes

If you don't live in an HOA, you will always have to go to the city to complain about your neighbors. Whether it's the barking dog or unsightly weeds, a city, most of the time, will tell you to pound sand and resolve it on your own. With an HOA, however, you will be able to go directly to your HOA board to voice your complaints and actually have something done. If the HOA were to find out these neighbors were violating rules, they can send out notices and enforce fines if they don't take care of the issue.

3. Wonderful Amenities

Unfortunately, an HOA won't come free, but it doesn't mean you won't get anything in return. Generally, a good HOA will offer its residents a plethora of amenities such as a community playground, common ground or even a lovely swimming pool you could maybe use year around. Just like a home, all HOAs will be different with inclusions, so it's important to see what's offered before you dive in and purchase your home.

Other Things to Think About:

- Basic maintenance can often be included.

- Community events can bring the neighbors together. 

The Negatives

1. It's Not Free

Depending on the amenities and where you live, HOA fees can be all over the place, and if you buy into one, you have to pay it just like any other bill. Even if you think you can ignore it and everything will be okay, it can cause more problems than you think. For starters, the association can place a lien on your home, forcing you to pay the bill when you sell the home or even force you into foreclosure if the state regulations allow it.

2. The Rules

Just like mom and dad's house, you will have to abide by the rules, and if you fail to do so, you will either get letters in the mail or they can fine you if you fail to abide by the rules. Again, depending on the HOA you live in, the rules can be either very strict or pretty laid back, so it's important to read the bylaws before you buy a home to make sure you're comfortable with the rules.

3. Extra Fees Are Possible

Sadly, your HOA fees won't stay the same forever. Like any other bill, they will rise over time. If that doesn't scare you, the board can levy one-time assessment fees if the funds are running low; for example, if the community center needed a new roof and the funds couldn't cover it, then they could force the residents to pay for the project.

Other Things to Think About:

- Some communities can forbid renters.

- It may feel like you don't have a lot of freedom.

There you have it. As you can see, there are plenty of pros and cons to explore if you're thinking about purchasing a home in an HOA. When considering a home, keep these considerations in mind to hopefully make a great decision.


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