Are you considering buying a home in a neighborhood with an HOA? About a quarter of homeowners in the United States live in communities with a homeowner’s association (HOA), and most of those people believe that this enhances their property value. Critics, on the other hand, see community associations as meddling nanny states. Who is correct? There are compelling arguments on both sides, so let’s take a look at some HOA pros and cons.

First, what is an HOA? It’s an organized group of homeowners within a particular community. An HOA usually has an elected board of directors in charge of maintaining predetermined rules and regulations. HOA regulations and fees vary, but they’re designed to add to the value of a neighborhood.

What’s the difference between an HOA and a COA? If you live in a condominium, you may have heard the term COA, or condominium owners’ association. When you buy a condominium, you’ll share ownership of common areas as well as maintenance of the communal walls and roof. COA fees, like HOA fees, pay for maintenance and repairs, and condo owners also pay into a reserve fund. The primary difference between an HOA and COA is that in a COA, there’s less emphasis on architecture and curb appeal, since everyone shares the same building.

An HOA can dramatically improve a neighborhood. The homeowner’s association’s responsibilities include things like maintaining common areas and recreational facilities, and managing the neighborhood budget. The fees can be used for amenities and services that boost property value as well as aesthetic appeal. Further, the HOA helps keep the neighborhood orderly, with set quiet hours and rules that keep the neighborhood safer.

Despite all these benefits, living with the homeowner’s association rules and regulations can sometimes be challenging. The HOA fees can be burdensome, and homeowners may feel stifled by some of the regulations. While property owner associations can help a neighborhood maintain its value, some have highly restrictive rules about what homeowners can do on their own property.

What are some typical homeowners’ association rules? It’s important to make sure your HOA’s regulations are something you can live with before you buy. You may be restricted as to what color you can paint your house, how you can landscape your yard, which vehicles can be parked on the street or in your driveway, how high your fences can be, and which types of window coverings you can use. Homeowners’ associations sometimes have rules specific enough to dictate types of lawn chemicals or limit the size of gardens. Your HOA is likely to have noise level restrictions and regulations regarding pet ownership.  Read up on the rules, how strictly they’re enforced, and what penalties are imposed on rule-breakers.

Is an HOA right for you? The answer is entirely subjective. If you’re a fairly compliant person who doesn’t mind giving up some autonomy in exchange for amenities and an orderly neighborhood, go for it! If you’re someone who’ll be crushed if you can’t paint your house pink, an HOA might not be for you.

Whether or not you want to live in a neighborhood with an HOA, Vutech & Ruff can help you find the right home for you. We provide outstanding service to both buyers and sellers, assisting with just about every aspect of real estate while maintaining the highest level of professionalism. Our award-winning agents have years of experience, and our featured properties are located in some of the best neighborhoods in the Columbus, Ohio area. Call 614-706-0122 or contact us through our website so we can get to work for you!