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!