Homeowners Association: Pros and Cons

Let’s say you are someone who is interested in joining roughly 20% of Americans that live in a condo, timeshare, or planned development. You might have different reasons why you are looking into owning a condominium or timeshare. These types of properties are called common interest developments (CID) and they are the fastest growing form of housing in the world today. Different personalities might be a better fit for these shared communities so it’s important to know what you’re getting into, including the homeowners association. Let’s take a closer look at what this association is and weigh some of the advantages and disadvantages they have.

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A homeowners association is a private association that markets, manages and sells property in the shared community space. Associates are required to pay either a monthly or annual fee. They are also expected to follow a set of rules known as the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). Some rules can be pretty easy to follow, for example to not have any lawn furniture on front yards while others might be a bit more intrusive, for example not allowing a garage to serve as storage but only can be used to park your car there. Some rule breaking can involve just a warning while other violations could mean a fee. It would be crucial to look into the CC&Rs before buying a home in the area. If you are unable to find the rules for a certain community online, a real estate agent or someone on the homeowners board might be able to assist you.

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Benefits:

There are various reasons as to why some homeowner’s would be interested in buying properties in these shared communities. One of the perks is that some of the fees that you have to pay to the association take care of maintenance and management services of the grounds. Meaning that you might not have to mow your lawn every week. Another benefit is that many of these groups of housing includes amenities such as pools, gyms or small parks. Though there can be a laundry list of rules and regulations that the homeowners need to follow, a perk of those rules is that often community appearance is enforced which could lead to higher property values. Some people also argue that a perk of being a part of a homeowners association is low maintenance. The association takes care of a lot that other homeowners would have to take care of on their own in another setting.

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Disadvantages:

The list of CC&Rs can be a potential disadvantage. Many homeowners want to incorporate their own style into their property and you might be limited to what you can add to enhance the property if it goes against the rules. For example, some associations have a set of colors that you can color the outside of your home, and no exceptions will be made. Another disadvantage are association fees. These fees can range from $200-400 and are used to maintain common areas and the amenities.

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