Should you buy where there’s a Homeowner’s Association?
Homeowner’s Associations (HOA’s) are becoming more and more popular as people seek to maintain property values. They usually work for that purpose because they prohibit things like leaving rusted-out junk cars in the driveway, placing an old overstuffed couch in the tall grass of the front yard, or keeping 16 barking dogs.
At the same time, they can prohibit things you might want, such as the right to park your fishing boat in your own driveway, put a basketball hoop on the garage, or own a dog of a certain size – or own a dog at all.
That means that it’s imperative to read the HOA documents before committing to a purchase. You may think it’s fine to need HOA approval before installing a new screen door or choosing a paint color for your front door – or you may think what you do with your own house is nobody’s business.
Next, find out what your association dues would cover. It could be fire insurance, exterior maintenance of the grounds, and amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, or exercise rooms. Or – it could be not much of anything.
Most associations will willingly allow you free access to the rules and regulations. Others will refuse until you have an accepted offer in place. Still others will demand payment before giving you access to that information.
Once you know the rules and regulations and what your dues will cover, the next step is to research the management. Some are very well run. Some are not. In fact, some are even involved in costly lawsuits.
Talk to people who live there and find out their feelings on the HOA. It could be wonderful, but it also could be why the people who own the house you’re considering are eager to move.
Note that I said HOA’s usually work to help you maintain property values. Whether that is true depends upon the management. I’ve read of associations who pay no attention to enforcing the rules, so some houses do become “junkyards.” So do take a look around before assuming that all the homes are well-kept.
Subdivisions with CC&R’s are much the same. Not all have a formal governing organization, but most do have neighbors who will object strongly if you don’t follow the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions.
Once again, read the documents to be sure that you can willingly comply. You may see that some homeowners in the subdivision are non-compliant, but don’t take that to mean you could do the same. For all you know, there could already be a lawsuit pending against the non-compliant homeowner.
I know there is a Homeowners Association in Holmedale and Landsdown, there is also one in West Brant in the Shellards Lane area.
If you’re looking for a new home here in Brantford and considering buying into a Homeowners Association, get in touch. We’ll be glad to help you do the necessary research before making that decision. Contact a Brantford Real Estate Agent today.