Anyone who has ever tried living in an HOA knows that there are both advantages and disadvantages to it. If you are considering whether or not to move into an HOA community, it is important to consider both the PROS & CONS of Deed Restricted Communities before making your decision.
First- What is a deed-restricted community?
A deed-restricted community is a neighborhood with a governing homeowner association (HOA) that enforces certain rules and regulations regarding the look of a neighborhood, as well as property uses.
PRO – Maintains Property Values
A chief objective of an HOA is to maintain the property values of the homes in a community. As a homeowner, you understandably want your investment to flourish. An HOA maintains or increases property values through various means, all of which are not mutually exclusive.
Curb appeal is a big factor that influences property values. An HOA helps to manage the overall curb appeal of the community. The HOA ensures that landscapes are pristine, residents are tending to their yards, and keeping the neighborhood clean and attractive in general. This promotes uniformity and a cohesive, well-maintained look throughout a neighborhood. This way, if you decide to sell your home, you can get a significant return on your investment.
CON – Restricts Personal Creativity
If you do not like limited creativity or living by rules, a deed-restricted community may not be a good fit for you. Understand that the HOA sets rules about the appearance of your home. They decide what color you can paint your front door or shutters, as well as the type of front door and windows you can have. These colors are typically an array of browns, beiges, and other neutral colors.
An HOA can place restrictions on your outside decor and the number of vehicles allowed to park. So, If you enjoy tinkering around with vehicles as a hobby, or maybe you just own a lot of recreational toys – like dirt bikes or ATVs, these types of communities may not be for you either. Violating the community’s rules and regulations not only restricts your creativity – it typically results in a fine.
PRO – Amenities
Living in deed-restricted community grants you access to an array of amenities. No two HOAs are the same, so the type of amenities will differ from one community to another. Generally, you will find community pools, clubhouses, tennis courts, and fitness centers in HOA communities. Others have dog parks, splash pads, playgrounds, or community gardens. All of these amenities will be managed by your HOA and you can just sit back and enjoy them. The best part is, you don’t need to share these amenities with non-members. HOA residents can enjoy exclusive use of these perks.
CON – Strict Rules
Every deed-restricted HOA community is different in regard to rules and regulations. If you are considering buying a home in a deed-restricted community it’s important to collect all of the information regarding what you can and can’t do if you move here. In some cases, the rules may seem favorable to you, in other instances they may not. For instance, some associations have:
You may already own your 90 lb, beloved – Fido. But the deed-restricted neighborhood you have been interested in has a ban on large dog breeds. Be sure to check on these restrictions as some HOAs will have strict rules on the size and types of various pets.
Fence Restrictions: Most HOAs will be very specific with the style and types of fence that can be installed on your property and you must get permission before installing your new fence.
Vehicle Restrictions: This is super common as well, it is not uncommon for commercial vehicles, motorcycles, RVs, or boats to be restricted, banned, or only allowed for certain instances. For example- parking your camper in your driveway only on the night before a camping trip.
Assessments and restrictive covenants may feel suffocating, but they are in place for a reason. The HOA uses assessments to maintain the community, and restrictive covenants help boost curb appeal. Both directly contribute to maintaining or increasing property values.
PRO – Conflict Resolution
A homeowner’s association is also useful when problems arise between neighbors. The association can act as a mediator if you observe another resident violating a rule or regulation. For instance, say The Jones’ across the street hasn’t been maintaining their lawn and their grass is 2 ft high. Or maybe the Smiths have 2 broken-down, rusty vehicles that are true eyesores! Rather than discuss the issue with your neighbor and risk awkward tension, you can contact your homeowner’s association and they’ll contact the neighbor to resolve the conflict on your behalf.
CON – Fees
When buying a home in a community with an HOA, you must add HOA dues to your budget. HOA dues vary but typically run in the hundreds of dollars per month. Residents are billed annually, quarterly or monthly. When budgeting, keep in mind that HOA fees are always subject to increase.
PRO – Quality of Life & Sense of Community
Because residents of an HOA community must adhere to common rules, residents tend to have a better quality of life. Enforcement of HOA rules is typically in a consistent manner, with no preferential treatment. Some HOA communities are also located in gated developments, which means residents get to enjoy more privacy.
Many people overlook the social aspect of living in a deed-restricted community. The residents of an HOA community have a certain bond that other neighbors don’t. This is because HOA living encourages involvement and participation. Residents see each other at meetings, common areas, and community amenities. HOAs also organize several social events throughout the year, such as BBQs and holiday gatherings. All this contributes to building a sense of belonging and community in the HOA.
So should I move into a neighborhood with an HOA?
That depends on your personal preferences. Will you be happy to make the cost and flexibility trade-off for access to amenities and services? Do you want to live in a cohesive community with agreed-upon rules, or would you rather live someplace where you have more of a say in your creativity and what you can or can not do to your property? Could you absorb the HOA dues fees if they increased? The answers to those questions can help you decide whether or not to go through the purchase of a home or condo with added HOA dues.
Although there are clear drawbacks to living in an HOA community, the pros outweigh the cons in my opinion. If you have any questions about the PROS & CONS of Deed Restricted Communities in the Sarasota metro area, give me a call or send me an email, I will be glad to help. For more information on some of the best deed-restricted neighborhoods in the Sarasota area, check out my video below.