Purchasing a home in planned neighborhoods across the United States requires you to be a part of an association or a co-op. The most popular one is the Homeowners Association also known as HOA. It primarily exists to make sure that the community functions properly and adheres to the housing rules and regulations.
As the HOA is in charge of overseeing the member houses’ yard maintenance, community finances, planning, insurance, and utilities, the association requires homeowners to become members. It can either be a voluntary association that you can be a part of or a mandatory association that you have to join. An HOA is strictly regulated by elected members and offers the community a variety of utilities.
Advantages of an HOA Community
- Access to Amenities
Communities in New Jersey tend to have shared amenities such as a community center, pool, gym, sports courts, and parks. Access to these is monitored by the Homeowners Association. If you are a part of the association, you can benefit from these amenities and increase your quality of living. Such facilities are harder to come across in individual homes.
As the Homeowners Association plays an active role in maintaining the overall aesthetic of the community, they will also contribute towards your lawn maintenance, cleaning of the sidewalks, streets, and will oversee proper garbage disposal.
- Increased Neighborly Interaction
People who are not a part of any association may or may not usually interact with their neighbors. On the other hand, the HOA regularly facilitates interaction between neighbors under their various community initiatives and programs.
Since the entire community is a part of the association, there are several opportunities for you to interact and get along with your neighbors. They also help in resolving conflicts between neighbors in the residential community.
Drawbacks of Living in an HOA Community
- Non-negotiable Rules and Regulations
The rules and regulations of every Homeowner’s Association are different, and usually are non-negotiable. If you choose to buy a home that is part of an HOA community, you have to comply with all their rules and regulations. These rules can include the number and the types of pets you are allowed to have, the positioning of your vehicle parking, and the exterior color and landscape décor of your house. Before you buy the house, it is advisable to read the CC&Rs thoroughly.
- Strict Environmental Practices and Restrictions
Many people like big yards where they can plant vegetables or flowers and spend their spare time cultivating gardens. A lot of others like composting and often dig a pit in their yard. However, if your potential home is a part of the HOA, there are strict regulations regarding permissibility of creating organic fertilizer and compost in your home.
The HOA restrictions can undergo regular changes and updates. In many places, the Homeowners Association has placed additional constraints on its members regarding eco-friendly practices under their green initiatives. Even though this might be appealing for some people, it is not everybody’s cup of tea.
- High Maintenance Fees
Oftentimes, the HOA fee structure can be a little excessive. You will either be charged monthly, quarterly or yearly. Therefore, you need to be aware of all the services that are being covered under that fee. It generally includes costs of monthly lawn maintenance, roof maintenance, and the overall cleanliness and safety of the community. Even though your maintenance costs may be reduced, you have to analyze if these fees and additional charges are affordable for you. Usually, failure to pay these fees can result in eviction.
Considering the above factors, it might be easier for you to decide whether or not to move to a HOA neighborhood. In the end, it boils down to what suits you the most. If you are someone who doesn’t like a lot of restrictions being imposed, buying a home outside of an HOA might be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you like to live an orderly and disciplined life, purchasing a home that is a part of an HOA community can be the perfect choice for you.
It is important to take these things into account before buying a home. If you need any assistance with purchasing a house in an HOA community, connect with us at Robert A. Gleaner, P.C. at New Jersey – legal services for all your real estate investment queries.