In many situations in Redondo the building is a 2 on a lot, or 3 on a lot townhome and the HOA consists only of the 2 or 3 owners. At some point in time the owners have gotten together and decided to simply each pay for their own landscaping and other traditionally shared costs. Although the HOA monthly dues may be $0, you have to keep in mind that the HOA cannot be dissolved and at any point in the future one of the owners, or a possible future owner, may request that the HOA be officially reinstated. I hope that this helps.
I work a lot with new home communities. I have sold detached single family homes recorded as a PUD (planned urban development). In this case the parcel was subdivided in several small lots for each home. If there is common area, then these may have HOA to pay for gate maintenance, common landscaping, parking lot or private road maintenance, etc. Or there may not be any need for HOA is those items don't exist.
I have also sold detached townhomes that look and feel the same as the single family homes PUD. But in this case the land is still one parcel, owned by the HOA. You as a homeowner become a partial owner of the jointly owned land. If there were 10 homes, then you would own 1/10 of the entire parcel jointly with 9 others.
There are not any major drawbacks. One thing that you may encounter is that the lender sometimes will see a town home a little differently than a single family home.
Feel free to contact me if you would like additional information.
New Homes and Land Brokers