When you’re buying a home, whether it’s a condo for sale in Alys Beach, land for sale in Seagrove Beach, or a home for sale in WaterColor, you may have to deal with a homeowner’s association. (Every condominium has a condo association, too.)
But should you really buy in a community with a homeowner’s association, or HOA? Will the rules and regulations keep you happy, or will they stifle your free spirit?
What is a Homeowner’s Association?
A homeowner’s association is a group of people from the neighborhood or community who establish rules for living in the community. They’ll often have requirements about lawn maintenance, the size (and types) of pets you can keep in your home, and rules about paint colors, building additions, and cosmetic issues.
The HOA’s rules are in place to protect and preserve the value of the homes within the community, and if you buy in a neighborhood that has one, you’ll be required to pay dues (annual, quarterly, or monthly) in addition to the mortgage payments you make to the bank.
Benefits of a Homeowner’s Association
Some homeowners prefer to live in a neighborhood with an association. The homes in the community have to meet the standards the HOA sets forth (or the owners will have to pay a fine), so the neighborhood stays in good shape. Sometimes services like trash removal and lawn care are included in your HOA dues, and your dues also pay for shared amenities like swimming pools, tennis courts, and community centers. The HOA can serve as the middleman when you have a dispute with a neighbor, too.
Cons of HOmeowner’s associations
Some people just don’t like to live under restrictions—even when they don’t mind keeping their yards neat and clean, their home exteriors in good repair, and handling cosmetic and maintenance issues promptly. The rules of some HOAs are really strict, too, even going so far as to tell you what vehicles (if any) can be parked outside your garage or whether you can put a decorative flag on your property.
The Bottom Line on HOAs
Only you can decide whether living in a community with a homeowner’s association is for you, but it’s always a good idea to ask your 30A Realtor® for a copy of each community’s CC&Rs—those are covenants, conditions, and restrictions (the rules of the neighborhood) before you make an offer on a home with an HOA.
Are You Buying a Home Along 30A?