We are often asked by buyers whether it is good to purchase a home in a planned neighborhood that has an active Home Owners Association (HOA) with Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs). The answer is really dependent on your lifestyle and preferences. Here are some of the common advantages and disadvantages that you should consider as you decide whether you want to purchase a home with or without an active HOA.
- Consistent Quality & Appearance of Homes – often there are requirements for the allowed home style, size, finishes, color of paint, type of fence allowed, etc. This can help establish a consistent look and price range for the entire neighborhood.
- Convenience of Shared Community Services –depending on the neighborhood, there might be shared septic management & septic drain fields; shared neighborhood only common areas like walking trails, playgrounds, clubhouses, golf courses, pools, and waterfront parks; shared maintenance of neighborhood signage, fencing, and landscaping.
- Access to Community Social Events – some neighborhoods have annual holiday events, block parties, social events like bunko nights or book clubs and websites for sharing information. This can be a nice way to get to know neighbors and build relationships that last a lifetime.
- Safety – planned neighborhoods are more likely to have shared/locking mailbox areas, neighborhood crime watches (official or unofficial), neighborhood lighting standards, and even sidewalks.
- Architectural Committee Rules – If you want to paint your home a color not allowed, have a fence where one isn’t allowed, make landscaping changes that aren’t consistent with the neighborhood, or even select the type of roofing that you want for your home. You might be frustrated with the restrictions. Make sure the neighborhood reflects your personal preferences and lifestyle choices.
- Community Expenses – There is an expense to community services and the timing & amount is controlled by the community. Make sure the cost is worth it to you based upon your lifestyle and values.
- Recreational Vehicles – RVs, boats, cars that you are working on – may not be allowed in your driveway and/or in a visible location on your property.
- Pets – if you want certain breeds of dogs, chickens, horses, etc…. you might not be allowed.
Article Published in the Woodinville Weekly Real Estate Section. Since 2017 The Blue Team has written the bi-monthly Real Estate Column sharing their expertise in this community publications. Sharing their Tips for Home Buying, Tips for Home Selling, Tips for Investors, Buying & Selling Luxury Homes, Real Estate Transitions (Including Relocation & Senior Real Estate Tips), and Equestrian Real Estate.