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Dave's Charlotte Real Estate Blog

By dave | Broker in Charlotte, NC

Why Buying A House With A HOA Is Not A Good Idea


Yesterday i mentioned the reasons I felt that buying a house in a neighborhood that had a Homeowners Association was a good thing. Today I am tackling the other side of the coin. What are the negatives to buying a house in a neighborhood with a Homeowners Association.

From my perspective sitting on a HOA board for the past three years has shed light on the pros and cons of being in a HOA. Though i prefer it personally; not everyone agrees. Here are some of the reasons I know that families do not move into neighborhoods with a HOA:

First, it is mandatory. If you buy that house and there is a HOA chances are it is not voluntary but required that you join whether you are going to use the amenities or not. For some families the option of not having a choice is not appealing to them especially if they do not feel they will gain any benefit from paying the dues.

Second, the fees. This I think is the number one reason most people do not like a HOA board and prefer homes without a HOA. You have the monthly, quarterly, or yearly dues to pay to the board for the amenities and maintenance of the common area and any amenities that the neighborhood may have. But, fi you are late with your payment they tend to tack on an exorbitant fee of 18% to your payment. Refuse to pay it and it adds up to a larger amount and keeps growing...The fees associated with the HOA dues and late payments are the number one reason i have heard why families avoid an HOA. In this tough economic times a lot of people lost jobs or took pay cuts and the HOA dues were not a top priority...If the board is not willing to work with you; you could end up with an amount that is double or even triple the dues you pay.

Third, and I think the second most common reason why families avoid HOA neighborhoods is restrictions. If I want to put a fence up on my property; I should be able to put up what I want. I worked hard, bought the house maintain my mortgage; who is the HOA to tell me what i can and cannot do to my property. Others are concerned because of their jobs. They may be required to take home a company vehicle to be on call and some HOA's do not allow vehicles with advertisements on them parked overnight in the neighborhood..... This I have found to be especially prevalent among heating and A/C technicians and cable installers as well as plumbers or any trade workers.

Fourth, One most people do not realize is that an HOA can take your home in foreclosure for failure to pay the dues. It is becoming more prevalent now than before. But they have the right to foreclose on you for non payment. A lot of people feel that is a little too much power to give an association.

Fifth, rental restrictions. This is more common in town homes and condos. But a lot of them have certain restrictions that either allow rentals or do not allow rentals. If they do it usually is a certain percentage of units and that is it. So, if you cannot sell your house and want to rent it out you may not be able to because of the restrictions imposed in your neighborhood by the covenants and restrictions that are being enforced by the HOA.

These are some reasons I have found why people do not want to live in a HOA. I imagine there are a few others as well...But for the most part it is about control. The HOA can and does control certain aspects of your house....Whether you are comfortable with that or not is your decision to make......

Dave diCecco
Coldwell Banker United

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