Buying a condominium is a lot different than buying a single family detached house. Compared to a single-family dwelling, buying a condo includes not only ownership of the unit you will live in, it also includes part ownership in the Homeowners Association that governs the complex and manages the common areas shared by all units like the exterior of the buildings, swimming pools, parking lots, and landscaping.
There are mixed opinions on whether or not joining a Homeowners Association, also known as HOA, is a good thing. Some people like the rules and structure that goes along with it, while others detest being told that they can’t do something with their own property. It’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into when you decide to live somewhere that is part of a HOA.
There are a few basic things you should know about HOAs that can be seen as a pro or a con, but are more based off one person’s opinion than a general consensus.
1. When you decide to buy a property such as a condo, townhouse, or a home that is part of a gated community, you are required to join that community’s HOA and pay monthly fees to maintain the upkeep of public areas.
2. HOAs set rules that all residents must follow. These rules are called CCRs or covenants, conditions, and restrictions. Some of these rules can include what color your front door must be painted or the size and types of pets permitted.
3. The HOA is likely to enforce the rules. If you were to break them, you will likely be fined.
Here is a list of the pros and cons of living in a home that is part of a Homeowners Association.
♦ HOAs maintain the quality of life for everyone that is part of it.
♦ They protect property values for all owners.
♦ HOAs provide amenities.
♦ They reduce your home owning responsibilities.
♦ There’s little you can do if you don’t like a rule.
♦ If you choose not to follow a rule, you’ll likely be fined.
♦ HOA dues can be raised at anytime.
♦ A HOA can evict you or foreclose on your home if you don’t pay your dues.
From a mortgage point of view, the value of an individual condo is determined by the market value of the unit and the financial management of the complex by the HOA. When considering buying a condo, potential buyers are well advised to do their homework, and balance the costs of each HOA with the benefits of condo living
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