Should You Avoid Homes With HOA?
When my husband and I were watching houses to buy, we saw many properties which we liked but one stood out from the crowd. There was just one catch: it was in a neighborhood with a homeowners association.
We really liked the style and size of the house and it was in an area that provided a very close drive. It was also affordable and our mortgage the payments would have been quite reasonable.
But, despite the fact that the house was attractive to both of us and ticked many of our boxes, there was one key factor that convinced us to pass up the property. Here’s what the problem was.
Some HOA fees can rival your mortgage
The house that my husband and I liked was in a neighborhood with an association. Many of the properties we saw were in HOA neighborhoods as they are common in the area we were looking to live. It was not, in and of itself, a dealbreaker.
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But, this particular neighborhood had a specific rate structure that we decided we couldn’t live with. Specifically, HOA dues were over $1,000 each month. Now there were plenty of amenities in this area, including a golf course and a few restaurants. And dues covered a certain amount of restaurant food each month, as well as access to community pools and the golf club (but not cart fees).
But, while we liked the amenities, paying upwards of $1,000 a month in dues for the entire length of time we owned the home just wasn’t something we were willing to do. We don’t play golf or want to eat out often, and the other neighborhood features just didn’t justify the extra cost.
It is crucial to learn all the HOA rules before buying
This house was actually not the only one we passed up due to an issue with an HOA. I also walked away from another property because the rules were too strict regarding a variety of issues ranging from landscaping to pets. But it was definitely the house with the highest fees we encountered.
Because of all these HOA issues, we’ve learned how important it is to consider all the details before committing to buying a home. If the fees are too high or the rules are too onerous, it may not be worth buying property in a neighborhood with an association — even though HOAs have benefits, including protecting real estate values.
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We wanted to be happy in our house long term and not worry about finding tens of thousands of dollars a year just for HOA fees for the duration of our life in the house. This meant taking extra time to look for an association we could live with – or to find a house that was not in an HOA neighborhood at all.
In the end, our search paid off and we were very happy that we hadn’t settled for a house that we knew would incur too many unnecessary costs each year.
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