Homeowners’ associations get a bad rap, with stories about homeowners losing their homes over some roses or being locked out of the golf course because of vinyl trim. However, most HOAs are run by perfectly honest people with good intentions, and having one around can improve your experience living in your home and preserve (or increase) the value of your property.
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If you live in a house, your association may hire one landscaping company to maintain everyone’s yard. This saves you the time of having to take care of it yourself, and the space in your garage that a lawnmower would otherwise take up. If your HOA requires that each property cuts its grass once a week, then that work will fall on your shoulders — but you’d probably be maintaining your own lawn anyway, and the HOA saves you from living next to an exhibit of rusting cars hidden under three feet of weeds.
Nicer Amenities Than You Could Afford on Your Own
Depending on the size of your HOA, it might be responsible for preserving a few patches of communal grass you can use for a picnic, or it might oversee a community playground, swimming pool, or even a golf course. Your monthly HOA dues likely wouldn’t build an in-ground pool in your own backyard, and you never have to worry about cleaning the communal pool yourself.
A Chance to Know Your Neighbors
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Knowing your neighbors by name — let alone being friends with them — feels like it’s becoming the exception rather than the norm. An HOA gives you the chance to buck this trend by regularly meeting and working with your neighbors. Sure, discussing whether or not you should be allowed to hang a clothesline in your front yard isn’t the most riveting ice breaker, but it’s as good a precursor as any to your next borrowed cup of sugar.
Stronger Property Values
No matter how nice your particular home is, you won’t be able to sell it as easily — or for as much — in the future if it’s next to a property that looks like it should be condemned or inside a condo building with an unhinged front door and broken gate. By maintaining communal areas and making sure each unit stays presentable, your HOA can add value to your home that you wouldn’t have without it.
It Brings Back Childhood Memories
Remember how your mom always nagged you to put your dirty socks in the laundry and make your bed in the morning? An HOA can be your surrogate parent once you reach the adult years, upgrading those admonishments about brushing your teeth to “friendly” reminders that your hedges can’t exceed six feet and your white picket fence needs a fresh coat of paint.
You Have Someone to Complain to (Who Can Actually Do Something About It)
Without an HOA, if your neighbor blasts “Golden Girls” re-runs until 3am and never picks up after her dog, you don’t have much recourse beyond writing her a letter asking her to stop. With an HOA, you have a formal process by which you can file a complaint — and if that neighbor is breaking a rule (which loud late-night noise or picking up after a pet surely is in most HOAs), she’ll have to change her behavior or face fines and even foreclosure.