What You Need to Know About HOAs in Carlsbad
I always ask home buyers about their thoughts about living in a community where there is an HOA, because for most it’s an important topic, and a financial one.
I've heard plenty of pros and cons about HOAs from talking with buyers, and from other agents.
Some buyers moving to our area are not really familiar with HOAs and how they operate, so it’s important to have some discussion about these issues so buyers can decide if living in an HOA community is OK, or not.
It essential to also understand the financial implications of doing so.
There are many communities, especially newer ones, in Carlsbad where there is an HOA. Thus, if you are considering single family detached homes for sale in Carlsbad you will be confronted with many homes for sale with HOA fees, but you will also have some options for Carlsbad homes for sale without HOA fees.
If you are considering a condo, town home or twin home as opposed to a detached single family home there is no choice – there WILL be an HOA and fees.
As a home buyer in Carlsbad it’s important to give this matter serious thought if you are adamant about not living in an HOA community - you don’t want to spend time looking at homes that won’t work for you.
Can I buy a new home in Carlsbad without a HOA fee?
As with any requirement, when you are searching for a Carlsbad home without HOA fees this will narrow the field of options. A good example is the desire for a new construction home. All of the new home communities have HOA fees. If you want a new home without an HOA, it will have to be an individually built spec home, or you will need to have one built for you.
Do Carlsbad’s planned communities have HOA fees?
Yes, Carlsbad planned communities all have HOAs with fees; this includes Bressi Ranch, Calavera Hills, La Costa Greens, La Costa Valley, La Costa Oaks, The Foothills at Carlsbad, and the 2 newest communities that are under construction - Robertson Ranch and The Preserve.
The resort residential community of Aviara has a master HOA and multiple sub-HOAs for the neighborhoods that are part of Aviara’s master plan. And you will find other smaller neighborhoods that also will have fees (e.g., The Knolls).
If a planned community is of interest because of the new or newer homes, and amenities such being gated or offering a residents’ recreation center, you will have to pay those HOA fees. But that may very well be worth it to you.
How much are Carlsbad HOA fees?
Carlsbad home buyers often ask about the amount of HOA fees; these can range from below $100 (that’s rare) to hundreds of dollars per month.
While what these fees cover will vary, it’s typical for them to include insurance for common areas, and common area maintenance (grounds, facilities – tennis, gates, pools and spas, exercise facilities, club houses) at a minimum.
Keep in mind, however, that as a homeowner in a non-HOA community you will still have costs for maintenance, home owners’ insurance, and other issues, they just won’t occur monthly. Will the amounts be similar? That depends on the home.
Will the HOA fees go up? You can count on it. I have seen some remain fairly constant for quite a while or not change by much, while others have shifted up more regularly.
What issues should I consider when looking at an HOA community?
It’s essential to do your due diligence if you are willing to live in a home with an HOA, or specifically looking for one. You need to find out not only what the monthly fees are but what services are covered and what are not so you are prepared for that monthly expense (e.g., master insurance, common area maintenance, landscaping, gate maintenance).
A key component of due diligence during your transaction is to review the HOA documents thoroughly to make sure you are comfortable with the Rules and Regulations, the budget and all the financials, and other matters. Don’t be surprised to find hundreds of pages of documents to review.
A trade-off, for some buyers, IS living with Rules and Regulations imposed on HOA residents – there are pros and cons to these as well. Some HOAs are far stricter than others in terms of specific rules, as well as how consistently they are enforced and the penalties for violations.
Be aware that if you are using a mortgage to purchase your home your lender will calculate an estimated HOA fee into your ratios to determine what you are pre-approved for. That several hundred dollars a month could affect your buying power.
HOAs are all pretty much the same, right?
No, quite simply they are not, in my experience personally as well as with clients.
Not only do they vary in terms of their rules and regulations, the fees that are charged, and what the fees cover, but the way they are managed can vary dramatically. Many HOAs will also have a property management company that takes of the actual property issues, among other matters, and they differ in how effective and well-managed they are. Some HOAs, and property management companies, have a good reputation, others do not.
I recommend, as part of your due diligence, talking with the neighbors about their HOA experiences, in addition to reviewing all the documents, so you can decide for yourself.
Should I live in an HOA or not?
The choice, of course, is personal and up to you, and should be determined by careful thought and evaluation. You may simply want to avoid an HOA at any cost – just realize that will limit the housing options available to you.
Of course wanting to live in an HOA offers a different set of options to you as well.
Either way, I am happy to help you with the decision making process and assist you in finding the right home, in an HOA or not depending on your preferences.
Please give me a call (760-840-1360) so we can discuss your specific needs and budget, and we can create a strategy to get you into the right home as soon as possible.