There are a lot of neighborhoods that are governed by a homeowners association (HOA), but there are also a lot that are not. Many older neighborhoods do not have associations, and residents can do as they please, only having to comply with local, state, and federal regulations. Some neighborhoods have voluntary HOAs where homeowners can decide whether or not they want to participate. If they join, they have access to the many benefits that come with association membership, whereas if they decline, they do not.
In neighborhoods that are run by a mandatory HOA, membership is not optional. When you purchase your home, you sign a contract agreeing to abide by the rules and regulations of the association. Before you decide to purchase a home, do your research and see if it has a mandatory or voluntary HOA in place. If it does, review the governing documents ahead of time to see if these are rules that you can live by.
HOAs often get a bad rap when members complain about the rules. But upon closer inspection, many of these rules are not unreasonable. The association will often put processes in place that homeowners must follow if they want to make changes to the outside of their home or their property. This is to ensure that it will not detract from the property value of surrounding homes or the community.
Benefits of Living in an HOA Community
Having a standard set of rules and expectations in place can be a good thing. It can mean that you don’t have to worry about your neighbor keeping a broken-down car in their driveway for months on end, or deciding to paint their shutters bright purple. There is some uniformity while still allowing options for self-expression.
Living in an HOA also means you typically have access to a variety of amenities such as a pool, tennis courts, basketball courts, a fitness center, a business office, or a clubhouse. By paying your dues, it is your right to use these facilities. If you’re not part of an HOA, you often have to pay out of pocket to join the local swimming pool, gym, or rec center, which can get pricy. Plus, your association may be able to negotiate special rates on utilities or other services for members.
In addition, the HOA ensures that the overall neighborhood keeps a clean, appealing aesthetic. They take care of all of the common areas and make sure that they are in good working condition for members to enjoy. They hold everyone to the same standards and consistently enforce the association rules. Living in a non-HOA community, there is little oversight for what other homeowners do and how they maintain their property.
So while being part of an HOA community is not required depending on where you choose to live, membership can have its advantages. Talk to the board or property manager if you have questions about the association, how it operates, and what the expectations are for members. Kuester supports HOAs throughout the Carolinas in creating a positive, welcoming environment for homeowners. Contact us today to learn more!