Is An HOA Community Right For You?

Posted by Lauren Spencer on Friday, September 4th, 2015 at 2:46pm.

There are a lot of factors to consider when buying a home that go beyond the details of a listing. Is it close to great schools? What’s the crime rate like? Is there any recreation nearby? Questions about the community are something that real estate agents are asked every single day. A community with a homeowners association, for instance, can answer a lot of these questions just by the nature of their organization, but they aren’t for everybody. Here are a few of the pros and cons to help you decide if an HOA neighborhood is right for you.

Pros To Living In An HOA Community

Community Appearance and Exterior Aesthetics

Homes in an HOA community are required to abide by the standards set by the association. Everything from the number of cars in the driveway to the color of the front doors and weeds growing on the lawn are usually dictated by the HOA. Failure to follow these rules will result in a fine, so there’s a little added incentive for owners to maintain their properties than there is in non-HOA neighborhoods.

Lower Maintenance and Access To Recreation

HOA fees will typically include services like garbage and snow removal, landscaping, and facility maintenance of the neighborhood's common areas. While every HOA offers their residents a different assortment of member-exclusive amenities, they usually include a swimming pool, tennis courts, walking trails, and community gathering center, just to name a few. The more upscale and private HOA’s usually include a gate at the main entrance for added privacy and security.

Association Management

A part of the HOA’s job is help with conflict resolution between neighbors. Instead of talking to your neighbor directly about the loud muffler on their car or the offensive music coming from their teenager’s room, you can take it up with the homeowners association. They’ll approach your nuisance neighbor on your behalf and will usually keep the complainant anonymous.

Like-minded Neighbors

One of the biggest things that draws people to an HOA is that they believe it attracts neighbors who share a similar mindset to their own. The same reasons that would attract you to move into an HOA community are also what attracted them to move there too.

Cons To Living In An HOA Community

HOA’s Cost More Than Regular Communities

The costs of living in an HOA is one of the biggest deterrents for prospective buyers. In addition to your mortgage, you can expect to pay association fees that can range in price depending on community’s services.

No Home Customizations & Restricted Use

The second-largest factor that can dissuade people from choosing to live in neighborhoods with an HOA is the lack of freedoms. Some homeowners feel that they have a right to do whatever they want with their property, and don’t want to live in a place that tells them otherwise.

Ultimately the type of neighborhood you should move into comes down to personal and lifestyle preferences. If you’re looking to buy a home in a well-kept neighborhood and have a simple lifestyle, then an HOA might be an excellent option for your family.

If you’d like to learn more about HOA communities in Santa Cruz, contact me and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have. No matter what kind of neighborhood you’re looking for, we can find the perfect place for you to call home.

About Lauren Spencer

Award-Winning Santa Cruz REALTOR®

Lauren Spencer is your local real estate expert, specializing in Santa Cruz real estate and surrounding communities—this is where she lives, works, and plays too. Let her know your questions about the community and county and she'll be happy to fill you in on all you want to know! Lauren Spencer has consistently been voted best local REALTOR in Santa Cruz and is always happy to offer her advice and expertise. Call her at: 800.226.4717.

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