Homeowner Associations came be cumbersome at times when they go to the extremes that you mention. Although most are not that rigid ....I would suggest that as you consider buying a home that you stipulate that the purchase is contingent upon your satisfactory review of neighborhood convenants and restrictions. That would allow you to pick a desireable home with an HOA that would meet your needs and desires. Hope that helps.
Best of luck !!!
Chuck Green, Realtor
Keller Williams Realty
I have battled HOAs in different locations about different things. Each administration has its on personality. Some are just jerks, some are truly concerned neighbors trying to make the neighborhood a desirable place to live, and some don't have a clue how to behave.
So, they are a mixed blessing. If you don't like the way an association is being run, then you have to join the board (which is your right) by being elected by your like-minded neighbors.
No, you don't just lose access privileges, you can lose your home. The covenants actually precede your mortgage in terms of priority. You must pay your dues or the HOA can foreclose your property. You must follow the rules or they can fine you and if you don't pay them, they can foreclose. It's not an optional club.
Technically, you are not signing off your rights, since they were never on the table in front of you. Long ago those rights were transferred to the association. Whether the architectural control committee can tell you about the color of curtains is a local association rule only, not a general rule.
If the association is responsible for exterior maintenance of the building, it will be even more intrusive, though. This is because the board can vote to remove balconies, block windows, down trees and all kinds of equally oppressive behavior. So, again, if you want things done your way, you have to be elected. Then you can dictate national policy on healthcare, too.
HOA's are part of the property and can lein the property and even foreclose on the property if the dues are not paid, even if you are current on your mortgage.
Last year I went to show a bank wned home on a monday, and on Thursday when my client and I went to have a second look before he put an offer, the HOA had foreclosed on the bank for not paying the dues.
If the grass height is an issue, remember that we are all in a huge HOA called a city, and they can enforce your grass and /or weeds being too high, or having junk cars removed from your home.
I would recomend you stay away from the HOA's, you may not be a good candidate, and they don't have an opt-out policy.
If you drive through neighborhoods without strong HOA's you will usually be able to see a significant difference in the maintenance of the homes. Stronger HOA's help you maintain the value of your home b/c all of the homeowners are required to do the same...thus keeping the neighborhood beautiful and attractive to not only homeowners but to buyers and visitors alike. I agree that some are stricter than others and they can be very cumbersome. If you could look at it from the other side, say regarding the color of curtains, you might be able to understand how one may not be able to appreciate bright purple, bright orange or any drastic colors in their neighbors windows. This just helps to maintain a common theme through the neighborhood.
Going into neighborhoods without strong HOA's (if any HOA's), you will see that they are permitted to say, park in their front yards, leave the grass and weeds to grow to knee level, leave a number of cars (sometimes undriven) parked in their driveways, leave their dumpsters out for days. All of these things bring down the value of the homes in the neighborhood.
If you don't want to go to the extreme of a stong HOA, you should look around for the HOA' with lesser fees. They usually aren't as strict on their guidelines.
Hope this helps. :)
Atlanta Real Estate Agent
Keller Williams Realty Consultants â€“ Roswell, Georgia
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