House Stories: The Pros and Cons of a Homeowners Association
- July 30, 2021
A homeowner’s association, or a homeowner’s community, is a group or entity often formed by residents of a community. When an individual or a family buys a home in the residential community, they automatically become a member of the homeowners association. When the community starts to grow, the developer hands over full control of the association to the residents.
Homeowner’s associations are very useful, especially in urban communities where residents prefer to do things by the book. But just as much as it has its pros, it also has its cons. Think about it. You move into the neighborhood as the latest homeowner on the block. Everything is going well. Your neighbors welcome you, perhaps throw you a small party or send a gift basket, except that most neighbors in cities like Lagos and Abuja would rather mind their business in other to avoid unforeseen problems. Weeks or maybe months into being the newest resident in the neighborhood, you’ve finally settled in and you’re no longer regarded as ‘the new man/woman/family on the block. Good for you. That’s progress. But one wrong move, especially if it violates the laid down rules and regulations of the HOA (Home Owners Association) can have you becoming a pariah in the neighborhood. You become the rule-breaker, the difficult neighbor, the neighbor that may never get invited to the events and meetings conducted by the HOA.
It does sound a bit extreme but the point is homeowner’s associations take their rules very seriously, and as we said earlier, the association comes with upsides and downsides. Let’s examine them below.
- Management & maintenance of the neighborhood
A great benefit of living in a community with an HOA is that the organization manages the commons areas like playgrounds, barbecue areas, and community centers. Residents can therefore utilize and enjoy these spaces without worrying about the upkeep. Some HOAs also care for the exterior of homes within the community. This includes repairs and replacements of damaged materials however that courtesy doesn’t extend to the interior of your home. Hence, you’re responsible for any repairs within the walls of your home. And depending on your association, you may be responsible for replacing your own windows and doors too.
- Access to amenities & facilities
Most HOAs provide several recreational facilities, such as swimming pools, gyms, tennis courts, golf courses, playgrounds, and community centers. Some HOAs will sponsor children’s activities, such as sports teams and holiday parties, and some offer frequent adult meet-ups and get-togethers as well.
- The HOA serves as a mediator
A homeowner’s association is also useful when problems arise between neighbors. The association can act as a mediator if you observe another resident violating a rule or regulation. Rather than discuss the issue with your neighbor and risk tension, you can contact your homeowner’s association and they’ll contact the neighbor on your behalf. Just hope they don’t tell your neighbor who to thank for the call.
- Payment of HOA fees
The downside of all the amenities, activities, and administration performed by your very friendly HOA is that they all come at a cost. Did you think it was free? You must pay monthly dues regularly, so ensure you factor these in when deciding whether a HOA home fits into your budget. These fees vary depending on the amenities within the community and unfortunately, HOA fees aren’t written in stone, so they are bound to increase from time to time especially if the association realizes that it doesn’t collect enough funds to maintain the community.
- Repercussions of defaulting on HOA payments.
Never downplay the importance of paying your HOA fees. It’s crucial that everyone living in the community pay their fees. If the HOA is unable to collect enough money from residents, this can result in insufficient funds for maintaining the property. As a result, the community might have to get rid of its property manager, and the appearance and condition of the community can go downhill. This can have a negative impact on property values.
- Imposition of strict rules & regulations
Paying HOA fees might seem like a minor inconvenience, especially if the monthly fee is affordable. But even if you’re fine with the fee, understand that the HOA sets the standard for your home, with regard to its appearance (exterior). They decide what color you can paint your front door or shutters, as well as the type of front door and windows you can have. The association can even place restrictions on external decor and the number of vehicles you’re allowed to park in the community. Violating the community’s rules and regulations could result in a fine. Hence, before buying a home, prospective homeowners should decide if they want to deal with the pros and cons of a homeowners Association.
What do you think about a homeowners association? Do you belong to one or would you buy a house that comes with a HOA? Let us know in the comment section below. Like and share this post if you found this article entertaining and informative? Subscribe to our blog for more House Stories and don’t forget to follow us on our social media platforms as well.