Having lived in that circumstance; I have first-hand experience.
Some HOAs are certainly healthy, well-run, resident-friendly and reasonably priced; definitely.
However, there are many that are run like little fiefdoms, usually by a board of residents: They restict the living there to the point of an oppressive dictatorship; parking, pets, visitors, overseeing everything that happens in the yards and streets.
Residents are not allowed to put a sign in their yard for a garage sale or the sale of the property.
They send nasty letters if a garage door is left open or there is a patch of brown on the lawn.
Don't think about having a party, with restrictions about noise, too many people or parking.
The HOA fees can amount to a second mortgage.
You need to consult the CCR's regarding everything you intend to do with your place.
I would advise anyone who is considering buying in HOA, to visit the "compound" and meet some of your new neighbors; ask them what it's like to live there, and definitely get a copy of the CCR's before you make an Offer. Also, determine how well run and solvent the association is.
Good luck and may God bless
Rick Musto, Managing Broker
Buckhead Home Realty