Real Estate Professionals don't find it uncommon to work with homebuyers, reluctant to buy homes where there's an HOA (Home Owners Association). This particular group of buyers, often hear discouraging stories of overbearing HOA associations, with restrictive rules that seem to overreach; or are plagued with lawsuits and dysfunction in some way.
There can certainly be associations with significant issues, which make homebuyers cautious of becoming involved with their issues. But not all homeowner associations are created equal. And, many times having a Homeowner Association in place can save future distress with homeownership!
Let me provide you an example. Alan and Betty were clients who wished to sell their existing home, and move into a better neighborhood. What were the issues in their present neighborhood that acted as catalyst for wanting to move? The neighbor directly across the street had turned their driveway into a parking lot of old non-operating cars. There were 3 of them to be exact. These old vehicles had flat tires, rusty roofs, and cobwebs and debris accumulating beneath. There was junk piling up on the front lawn. This problem neighbor was causing significant distress to not only home values on the street, but an eyesore for the neighbors. Yet, there was little that could be done, since the cars were not parked on the street. Calls to code enforcement rendered responses like, “It’s not against the law to have an ugly house!”
Alan and Betty had decided they wanted to move where there would be Homeowner Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions in place, which would govern exterior maintenance of their new home.
These CC&Rs can vary significantly from association to association. It is important for homebuyers to review the covenants and other governing documents prior to purchasing a home in a particular subdivision.
It is also important to check whether a particular HOA is involved in costly lawsuits which can drain the subdivision association.
Then an informed decision can be made as to the compatibility of the area to your own lifestyle.
Often homebuyers don’t understand there can be benefits with Homeowner Association dues paid. What is covered in these dues varies. For example, some association dues cover fire insurance, exterior maintenance of the grounds, amenities like swimming pools, tennis courts, etc. It is important to check out what is covered by dues, for any subdivisions you have interest in.
Alan and Betty bought in the Greater Sacramento community of Gold River, which restricts how long you can park your car in the driveway, and encourages parking vehicles in the garage. That restriction might have seemed overly burdensome for some, but for Alan and Betty plagued with a neighbor, who had left non-operative rusting vehicles in the driveway for months and months, Gold River was a Godsend!