Homeowners Associations: Join or Pass?

If you’re shopping for a new home, part of that process may very well be to decide to join the local homeowners association or be left to your own devices.  Homeowners associations (HOAs) come in a lot of different shapes, sizes and price outlay which means that there may be considerable or almost no strain on your personal finances.  With that said, should you join your local HOA or pass?

What is an HOA?

In short, a homeowners association is typically a neighborhood or a local group that helps maintain, police and build community in small areas.  The reach and services of a local HOA may vary significantly from neighborhood to neighborhood which means that you have a lot of considerations.

Should you buy in a neighborhood with an HOA?  Can I afford the HOA dues?  What do I get from my HOA?

All of these things and more should be on your mind as you consider, firstly, whether to buy in a neighborhood with an HOA and, secondly, whether to join or not.

To Join or Pass?

The question of joining or passing on your local HOA may or may not be up to you entirely.  Some highly commercialized neighborhoods require that you join the local HOA which may help maintain certain aspects of the neighborhood or neighborhood facilities.

Mandatory membership in the HOA, however, may prove to be a deciding factor on where to buy depending on the HOA fees.  On the other hand, you may be given the option to join the HOA or not.  In this case, it’s important to weigh exactly what you’re getting versus what you’re spending for membership.

HOAs: An Expense of Homeownership

Unlike many aspects of buying a home, HOA dues are not something you can simply roll into your mortgage payment like taxes and insurance are part of your escrow.  Instead, you should treat a homeowners association much like any bill you pay every month: it’s a service and you should get out of it what you want.

This is where you need to dig a little bit and see what exactly you get out of the homeowners association.  Again, services offered by your HOA may drastically differ from other neighborhoods, so do some investigation of your own and see exactly what you’re paying for.

Homeowners associations may be responsible for keeping up with common community areas such as recreation halls, community pools, and other shared spaces.  Some HOAs offer maintenance for your home, lawn, etc. as part of the dues or as part of a discount with your membership.  Choosing to join or pass on your HOA may very well depend on whether or not your local association offers the amenities and services you and your family need.

Buy in a Strong HOA Area

Part of buying a home is taking into consideration neighborhoods that have strong HOAs with reliable track records of providing the services they say they will.  Homeowners associations, in some instances, make or break the sale of a home for many new homebuyers.

If having an HOA is an important part of your buying process, then shop in neighborhoods where it is a priority and does a good job providing the services it promises.

To get started with your search for the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood, then contact Tidewater Mortgage Services, Inc and fill out our simple online application.  From there, you can get pre-qualified in as little as 24 hours!

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