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Old 06-13-2012, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Pleasanton, CA
115 posts, read 278,065 times
Reputation: 169

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What are the pros and cons of HOAs? Are they really a necessary evil? I know why I can't opt out of one if I want a home in a specific area.. but how is that constitutional, I mean, don't I own the land and the property??
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:24 PM
 
285 posts, read 705,454 times
Reputation: 107
I think they are both good and bad. I find the most restrictive HOAs to be in the nicest neighborhoods - which typically have homeowners that are least likely to do something to "bring the neighborhood down" - which to me is interesting.

I do like that they provide a bit more "muscle" when it comes to persuading people to stop spilling oil all over the road, keep the weeds down, paint their homes when they require it, etc. In my opinion, this helps keep property values up. So long as the HOA isn't overly restrictive in a way that affects your lifestyle and they actually make sure the homes are not in violation of their guidelines, I think it can be a very good thing to keep the neighborhood looking as good as it did on day 1 for as long as possible.

On the other hand, a dead beat HOA can be a nightmare. Mine isn't doing a single thing that they are supposed to and there are homes that look like absolute crap because of items that are in clear violation of HOA guidelines yet the HOA refuses to step in. They also threaten to put a lien on your property if you do not pay. In this case, you can end up paying for nothing. If I were to own a home again, I would speak with the neighbors of the potential neighborhood to try to get an understanding of their level of satisfaction with their HOA.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:13 PM
 
265 posts, read 706,429 times
Reputation: 182
A HOA is typically necessary when a subdivision has common areas. Thanks to the Clean Water Act of 1977, most recent subdivision developments have a HOA due to the need for common retention beds.

A myth in the USA is that you own your land and its improvements. The reality is that you own the land subject to whatever deed restrictions are in place at the time of purchase, not to mention the omnipresent obligation to pay property tax. As mentioned above, recent subdivisions likely have HOA membership written into the lot deeds at the time of subdivision. So, the HOA is essentially government backed and its ultimate threat (liens) will prevent the sale of your property should you run afoul of it.

As the previous poster mentioned, HOAs can either be good or bad and are yet another thing to try and evaluate when buying a house/condo/townhome...
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:05 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
1,105 posts, read 2,735,794 times
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Once I move out of my current place I will never live in a place with a HOA again. My HOA has been more trouble than help. I think it should be up to me if I want to park a car and a motorcycle in my driveway or if I want to have three dogs in my house or if I want to put a satellite dish on my fire escape. It is nice to have the HOA take care of the snow in the winter, etc., but I would gladly give it up to not have to deal with the other crap. So, if you're not already in an HOA don't join one. If you are considering moving into a place with an HOA do your homework first to find out what their rules are.
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Old 06-14-2012, 07:23 AM
 
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 38,288,152 times
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Just do a search on this forum. You will find everything from comaring them to Nazi's to people that like them. There is no magical answer.

As far as your point about owning the land, your town can also tell you what you can or can't do. That isn't limited to just an HOA.
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Old 06-14-2012, 07:30 AM
 
4,480 posts, read 7,935,315 times
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You cant opt of out an HOA, its part of the property. Just like you can't opt out of the city you live in. If you buy in this HOA your paying dues. If you buy in this city, your paying taxes. You cant opt out of either. When HOA's talk about "members" people think its an optional club when its actually required.

HOA forum. Full of dysfunctional HOAs
LINK

Just think of an HOA as a big pot that members are required to toss money into each month and then fight over where its spent. As the economy gets worse, and people loose more jobs, the HOA situation is getting worse and worse. It means the people with jobs are paying for all the services for the people without jobs. Get enough people not paying and the dues are raised. Its a mess, dont do it. Especially in this economy.
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Old 06-14-2012, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Lexington, SC
4,281 posts, read 10,284,194 times
Reputation: 3700
I recently moved into my 5th HOA. Like anything else, there are pros and cons.

PROS

1. Amenities. You could not normally afford like pools, tennis, etc.
2. Architectural Control. One cannot build/add anything without permission. No rusty storage sheds.
3. Landscape Control. One must adhere to set standards. No crappy looking lawns.
4. Vehicle Storage. Control of amount and type of vehicles. No dead junkers.
5. Overall Control. Ability to keep neighborhood looking good. Keep it from from becoming trashy looking.


CONS

1. Amenities. The more there are, the higher the dues will and the more issues will arise because of them.
2. Architectural Control. If you want your place to look different/unique, you will not be able to do so.
3. Landscape Control. If you do not like and adhere to community standards, you will taken to task.
4. Vehicle Storage. If you like cars and stuff around, you might have issues.
5. Overall Control. If you do like to conform to a standard set by others, you will not be happy.

A friend just asked me about buying a metal storage shed. I said go vinyl as they look better and will not rust out. He said vinyl cost more and let someone else worry about the rust in the future. He would have trouble living in an HOA.

If considering an HOA then get a copy of the CC&Rs, Bylaws, and Rules and Regulations. Read them carefully. Seek guidance/advice on things you do not understand. If you say these are not for me then fine. Make it easy on all. Look elsewhere.
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:27 AM
 
Location: between three Great Lakes.
1,628 posts, read 1,783,139 times
Reputation: 5364
HOAs are dreadfully behind the times when they discourage homeowners from drying their clothes on a clothesline rather than wasting energy using a dryer, or forbid residents from growing herb gardens on their own lawns instead of having the standard useless patch of grass. It's as if the HOAs are stuck in the 1980s.

Actually, HOAs make a great case for buying infill housing!
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Barrington
41,818 posts, read 31,705,675 times
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No 2 HOAs are alike.

For the life of me I don't know how it is that people who do not want to play by the rules end up in HOA communities with rules or in incorporated areas, for that matter.

A super majority of owners can trump a board and make rules more or less restrictive.

I am the Treasurer in my self-managed HOA and the go to person for buyers considering purchasing property. Not a single one has asked for a copy of the governing docs, rules, financial statement or budget. Lucky for them, that we only have one rule- no fences.
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Lexington, SC
4,281 posts, read 10,284,194 times
Reputation: 3700
Quote:
Originally Posted by middle-aged mom View Post
No 2 HOAs are alike.

For the life of me I don't know how it is that people who do not want to play by the rules end up in HOA communities with rules or in incorporated areas, for that matter.

A super majority of owners can trump a board and make rules more or less restrictive.

I am the Treasurer in my self-managed HOA and the go to person for buyers considering purchasing property. Not a single one has asked for a copy of the governing docs, rules, financial statement or budget. Lucky for them, that we only have one rule- no fences.

MOM

Personally I do not like fences but in our standalone patio home HOA, all homes have a small backyard (about 20x30ft, size can vary some) that has a 6foot privacy fence around it.

The fences are mandatory, identical, installed when the home was/is built, and they are maintained by the HOA as is all landscaping and external house maintenance. Some of the fences do adjoin on the sides. Some do not. No fences backup to each other.

One can pretty well do what one wants within the fenced area as long as what they do does not exceed the 6ft height. One could have a clothes line, plant an herb garden, put pavers in, put in a swing set, have a dog house, bird bath, etc. One can hang items on the inside of the fence but cannot paint/color the fence.

In the end these plots of ground and allowing one to do as they wish has saved us a lot of issues/grief.
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