Benefits of not buying in a Homeowners Association
Homeowners Associations are not for everyone and although they do have some great benefits the reality is they are not a good fit for everyone. If your looking to own your own home but are truly not one to want the responsibility of having to maintain the pool or the driveway or the trash removal then living in a community run by a Homeowners Association may just be for you. However if you lean more towards a free spirit who loves to display your personality with decorative items such as flags and wind chimes and bird feeders or stickers on the window of your home, then living in an association most probably is not a good fit.
One of the main benefits of buying in a community not run by an association is the liberty and freedom to customize and alter the property to suit your needs. Living in a Homeowners Association can really put a damper on those ideas.
Some Love It, Some Don’t
The first question you need to ask yourself if your considering a community that has a homeowners association is do you mind rules and regulations limiting what you can and can’t do to your home. After all your the one making payments on your home not the association and you may be irked with a committee telling you that you cannot change your mailbox to a mailbox with a planter at the bottom. Yes it’s been proven that communities with an HOA do hold homeowners to a higher standard; but it is important to understand that the tidy appearance of the community are made possible by a tight enforcement or rules that for someone who is not comfortable with being told what to do can be difficult. It can make the difference between loving your home but dreading the community you live in.
To have or not to have…….
Rules and regulations vary from association to association some more restrictive than others for instance do you love to do garage sales? depending on the association you may not be able to or if you are the hoops you have to jump through in order to do one may not be worth it. Most homeowners associations limit you to the amount of cars you can park in your driveway and go as far as the types of vehicles you can have. All of this is something has a homeowners not governed by an association would not have to worry about.
Thinking of re-painting your home when you don’t live within an association that decision can be easily made with a trip to your local hardware store or by calling up your handy man to do the job for you and your only concern is what color you want whether its a neutral color or something a little more eccentric like oh, neon pink! that decision is solely up to you; but I cannot promise your neighbors will be to happy with you but the great news is there will not be anything they can do about it. If you live in an HOA the scenario will be very different most associations require you to get approval from the board of directors before painting can begin almost always with a fee attached to it. If your lucky enough to have it approved you may not be at liberty to choose your own company to do the work you may have to choose companies that have already been approved by the association.
Looking to do some extensive remodeling to your home one of the great benefits or not living in an HOA is the only approval needed is yours and of course the city for any permit’s you may need. Living in an HOA those great plans might take a little longer or even be axed depending on the associations take on the remolding.
Monthly Fee’s and Yearly Assessments
This would not even be a concern as a homeowner not living in an HOA. There are no additional monthly fees all you have to concern yourself with is your monthly mortgage payment and yearly taxes. You don’t have to worry about getting a bill in the mail for repairs of common areas or maintenance. Although HOA communities often offer an abundance of amenities such as swimming pools, clubhouse, tennis courts etc. all these amenities require daily and monthly maintenance which doesn’t come without a cost a cost that is given to each of the homeowner’s in the community to cover these expenses if you happen to be one of the few that doesn’t quiet take advantage of all the amenities in the community on a monthly basis the fees may even start to feel like your just throwing away money. Homeowner’s Associations have also been known to place hefty special assessments to cover large common area repairs.
It is important to weigh out the pro’s and con’s of living in a community that is not governed by a homeowner’s association keep in mind that although there is a ton of liberty and freedom that comes from not living within an HOA, your neighbors also have the same liberties but may not be as conscience about the up keep and maintenance of their home.