For every buyer out there looking at homes right now, there are three little letters that could make or break your decision to buy a certain property. They are “H,” “O” and “A.” Three of the most frightening letters of the alphabet that are a sure-fire recipe for high anxiety.

 Not every Homeowners Association is the horror show that many home buyers imagine. As long as you do your due diligence and know exactly what you’re getting into, your HOA may be a great decision.

Maintenance and Uniformity:

HOAs are a part of condo life, townhomes, and some single-family homeowners. They’re not all good and they’re not all bad. Their purpose is to maintain a sort of uniformity and authority that can help neighbors deal with disputes, as well as help the neighborhood as a whole keep a shiny reputation.

When it comes to condos and townhouse, the HOAs maintain the exteriors of buildings, including roofing, and common areas. Single-family HOAs often provide amenities like pools and common buildings. The more the HOA does, the more the fees will be. And, unfortunately, sometimes there will be fees even if they don’t do much.

Homeowners Associations vs. Neighborhood Associations:

It’s important to note there is a difference between a neighborhood association and a homeowners association. Neighborhood associations are voluntary and generally have very low fees for membership. This means that you can buy a house where the former owner was part of the neighborhood association, but decline to become a member yourself.

On the other hand, if you buy a home that’s part of a homeowners association, the covenants, conditions, and restrictions run with the land itself. So, you buy the land and at the closing sign that you agree to the HOA’s rules.

Is an HOA For You?

It’s hard to know if you’re going to like living in an HOA-controlled neighborhood without taking a long hard look at the covenants. They vary widely. Even if you find a home that you absolutely love, don’t sign anything until you’ve seen the CC&Rs and gone over them with an agent. You will be living under those rules for a while, so make sure you can accept that. For example, while it would be fun to have a pool you don’t have to clean, sometimes you have to be realistic and say, “These rules just aren’t for me or my lifestyle.”

But, sometimes those rules make a lot of sense. For example, some might state that your grass has to be kept under six inches high. While this may seem nit-picky, this practice actually reduces animal and insect problems.



Conrad Smith

Your Real Estate Consultant
REALTOR®, BOLD, EcoBroker, CNE, CHRE, ILHM, KW Luxury 

Professional Denver Real Estate for the Urban at Heart