Millions of homeowners now live in communities governed by homeowner associations or HOAs. In fact, it is estimated that one in six Americans live in a HOA community. That statistic is probably higher in Orange County as so many of our beautiful subdivisions are HOA communities.
Buyers are often wary of purchasing properties that require HOA fees. Many view HOA fees as another expensive monthly cost and find HOA rules and regulations to be too restrictive. But, there are many benefits of living in a well-governed HOA as the intent of HOAs is to protect the value of the homes in the area. While every buyer should weigh the cost of the fees and determine what amenities and services are included, here are some common benefits to being in an HOA community.
Property Value Protection
A HOA provides greater certainty that the community will remain visually appealing over time, by imposing and enforcing rules on architecture, landscaping, fences, signs, parking, usage of public spaces, and more. The rules are designed to create parameters for aesthetic uniformity so that no house is an eyesore to the neighborhood. In addition, the HOA is responsible for the physical maintenance of common areas. While residents often find HOA rules to architectural enhancements to be thorns in the remodeling or construction process, they are put into place to protect the collective interest of the residents.
One of the most attractive benefits to HOA fees are the amenities provided. Many communities in Orange County offer gated access and around-the-clock security presence to provide added safety for the residents. Others offer pools, clubhouses for rent, parks, gyms, basketball courts, tennis courts, community events and even private beaches! Obviously, the more amenities offered, the higher the fees may be.
The HOA sets aside a reserve account for future capital improvements or repairs from unexpected damages. The reserve account provides assurance that the properties will remain in good shape and may save homeowners money in the long run. Many people recognize the benefit of owning a home but being able to share in some of the management responsibilities
When a community has an HOA, the residents of that neighborhood have agreed to a set of “good neighbor” rules fostering a greater sense of community. Many HOAs also provide community events and socials to increase community bonding and communication among the residents. While this benefit is difficult to quantify, it is highly desired especially by young families, and that desirability can be a factor in property values.
As a prospective buyer looking for a property, decide early in the process if the HOA lifestyle is a fit for you. If so, do some research and determine how much you are willing to pay per month on HOA fees. Also, research what amenities are provided in each subdivision to help you narrow your property search. A seasoned real estate agent knowledgeable in the areas of your interest should be able to provide you with the information you need at the onset of your home search.