Are You Reluctant to Buy Where There is an HOA?

Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565

It is not uncommon for Real Estate Professionals to work with homebuyers, who are reluctant to purchase homes where there is a Home Owners Association (HOA).   This group of buyers, have often head frightening stories of overbearing HOA associations, which are overly restrictive in their rules, plagued with lawsuits, or dysfunctional in some way.

Certainly there can be associations with significant issues, which make homebuyers leery of becoming involved in their problems.  But not all homeowner associations are created equal.  And many times having a Homeowner Association in place can save a boatload of future distress to homeownership.

Let me give you an example.  Stephen and Bonnie 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!”

Stephen and Bonnie 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.

Stephen and Bonnie 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 Stephen and Bonnie plagued with a neighbor, who had left non-operative rusting vehicles in the driveway for months and months, Gold River was a Godsend!

Comments (20)

George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Myrl I guess for me it would depend on what phase of my life I was in whether or not I would be comfortable with and HOA.

Oct 18, 2020 01:02 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Hi Myrl Jeffcoat eventually, there will be HOA with every subdivision.... it's a plus and there are some controls that will keep the subdivision up to par...

Oct 18, 2020 01:17 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Oh, great example, Myrl! We definitely prefer having an HOA - as long as they are not over-bearing as some of them tend to be.

Oct 18, 2020 01:22 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Myrl - I also  have heard objections of homes with an s association and CC&Rs.   

What works well for some, is a "no deal" for others.  Real estate is definitely about finding the right fit for the home buyer.  

Oct 18, 2020 03:12 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

George Souto  - The older I get, the more comfortable with HOAs I am.  It really depends on the subdivision, and how restrictive the CC&Rs are.    

Oct 18, 2020 04:27 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Barbara Todaro and Debe Maxwell, CRS - I agree!  It's important to find a home with CC&Rs you are comfortable with!

Michael Jacobs - It's all about finding the "Goldilock's zone" of comfort when it comes to CC&Rs.

Oct 18, 2020 04:29 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

It's always good to investigate the HOA before buying in a community. I live in a development with HOA. When it starts getting out of line we vote council members out of office. So far it's worked for 50 years Myrl Jeffcoat 

Oct 18, 2020 04:33 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Myrl- good example for anyone curious about living in an HOA. It's important for a buyer to know what is in the HOA covenants before purchasing their home. A friend discovered all too late that no trucks of any kind were allowed in the neighborhood even if they were parked in the garage. That changed shortly after he left. 

Oct 18, 2020 05:44 PM
Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI
HomeSmart Real Estate - Scottsdale, AZ
Arizona Homes and Land Group/ Buy or Sell

Very good topic Myrl Jeffcoat  and buyers certainly have very STRONG feelings about HOAs and Non HOAs. The no HOAers typcally have pets, boats, trucks  and are free spirits that do not want THE MAN telling them what they can do or put in their yards. Different strokes for different folks. Jeff 

Oct 18, 2020 06:13 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS - Investigation of HOAs is important before committing to buying a home.    

Kathy Streib - No trucks, even when parked in a garage sounds really restrictive! 

Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI - I totally agree!  Different strokes for different folks!

Oct 18, 2020 07:36 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


You make an excellent point, different folks like different strokes.  A

Oct 18, 2020 08:35 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.

Oct 19, 2020 03:10 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Myrl... I'm one of those people who would not live in a community without an HOA... but I was trained "young" as in NYC all the coop and condo buildings have HOA's. In Charlotte, most of our newer neighborhoods are all PUDs with CCR's so people often don't have a choice.

Oct 19, 2020 04:34 AM
Brian England
Vacasa - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Personally, I like HOA's, especially when they enforce the rules they set and every home is in good condition.  I don't like when HOA's have too many rules though or when they don't enforce the rules.

Oct 19, 2020 06:57 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Home buyers need to be aware of HOA regulations. One of our very large local communities prohibits the parking of trucks. That regulation impacts those who use trucks in their daily work activities.

Oct 19, 2020 07:04 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Myrl:

The HOA issue is an important consideration for any buyer. Some seem to not care either way, while others have very definite ideas one way or the other. It's always a point of discussion I have with buyers, and doing their due diligence is key, especially those Rules and Regulations and the budget.


Oct 23, 2020 05:41 PM
Steffy Hristova
HomeSmart Elite Group Tempe AZ Tel: 480-966-9353 - Tempe, AZ
Tempe AZ Realtor - Your Home Close to Your Work!

Hi Myrl, 

Very important tpics when buyng a home within a HOA. Usually, smaller HOAs are easier to work with, and more personable, while huge associations have to deal with many different owner preferences and may seem more restrictive. Very important for Buyers to do their due diligence thoroughly.

Nov 01, 2020 03:10 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Myrl Jeffcoat - What a nice happy ending and new beginning in a home with an HOA for Stephen and Bonnie! Now they can enjoy the good life and relax without looking outside at eyesores. Everyday they can wake up and be joyful!

Nov 10, 2020 01:33 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

After sold a new home to an Apple employee couple. They said that $350 a month covers a little patch of their Minnesota yard shared by 100 others residents?   Yes, that was the lowest HOA fee I can find anywhere within your 45 min commuting distance.

Nov 17, 2020 08:26 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Great info and example Myrl Jeffcoat; I gave up detached living for HOA living 17 years ago and I love where I live and appreciate my HOA perks. 

Dec 02, 2020 06:51 AM