November 8, 2016

23 Reasons Why Homeowners Associations are Good

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Homeowners' associations (HOAs) can be a homeowner's best friend. Read 23 research-based reasons why HOAs are good for you and your home value.

HOAs face critics from people who aren’t crazy about having an organization dictate what they can and can’t do with their property. And they’re wary of living under bylaws that come with fines for violations. HOAs aren't for everyone, but there are many positives.

Why HOAs are Important

If you're on the fence about whether to move into a neighborhood with a well-managed HOA, read on to discover some reasons why doing so could benefit you.

1. They provide services the city can't.

HOAs often pay for exclusive services that go above and beyond what you get from your town or city. From basic maintenance to infrastructure development, a well-managed HOA will keep your community safe and beautiful.

2. They create a buffer against domino foreclosures.

Thanks to their hyper-local nature, HOAs usually excel at detecting which homeowners are in economic distress. This means that they are better able to minimize negative spillover from foreclosures in their communities. They can act quickly to keep such homes in shape and maintain the vibrancy that's always been a part of the community.

3. They stabilize property values.

HOA communities generally have rules for a reason, and one of the biggest reasons for those rules is that they keep property values from declining. This goes hand-in-hand with the above point; tough economic times or not, HOAs keep their communities going strong. In fact, in some cases...

4. They can boost the value of your home.

Thanks to the targeted services and community control HOAs offer, homes in HOAs tend to sell at a premium relative to houses not in HOAs. That means that if and when you decide to sell, you'll be doing so at a higher price than you would get if you were in a non-HOA community.

5. They provide recreational amenities.

Do you love spending time outside? If so, the tennis courts, swimming pools, greenways, and parks that many HOAs build and maintain will appeal to you. People living in HOA communities tend to have easier access to such recreational amenities.

6. Those amenities are well-maintained.

When town budgets are tight, some of the first things to get neglected are public pools, parks, community centers and other amenities. But in a well-managed HOA community, maintenance is the order of the day. You don't have to worry about your favorite nearby places getting overgrown or falling apart.

7. Amenities are also protected.

What happens if a big storm blows in and damages the community center? You might think that your HOA would have to turn to its members to pony up some repair money, but here's where your membership dues really pay off. In many homeowners' associations, part of that money you fork over every month or every year goes toward insuring community spaces and amenities against damage. So no worries about storms (unlike, say, if you didn't live in a HOA community and you'd be liable if your insurance policy didn't cover it).

8. They provide home maintenance services.

Sure, many homeowners' associations have rules about each home's appearance, but they also provide maintenance services to ensure that your home is always up to par. Why not leave the project of, say, painting your home's exterior to the professionals hired by your HOA? Of course, all this means...

9. The homes are more aesthetically pleasing.

With an HOA's guidelines and home maintenance assistance, your new neighborhood will be the best-looking one you've ever lived in. Just take a walk through an HOA community and you'll see the proof.

10. You share ownership of the community.

Because homeowners in HOAs pay into the association, it means that all members usually share ownership of the community's common areas and facilities. When the parks, playgrounds, and community centers are part yours, it's a lot easier to feel at home wherever you go.

11. You feel a stronger sense of community.

With everyone owning an equal share of public spaces within the community and everyone doing their part to keep it looking great, HOAs can provide a stronger sense of community than many non-HOA neighborhoods.

Some HOAs even host events in their community spaces - a great way to make new friends.

12. They can help whole cities.

Thanks to their ability to provide some services traditionally provided by local governments (like plowing), HOAs can alleviate some of the financial burden from municipal governments. This frees up city funds so they can be used elsewhere, while the HOA maintains its own neighborhood. The benefits provided by an HOA even raise property values in neighboring, non-HOA communities.

13. They're more efficient than most municipal governments.

In many ways, an HOA is like a small, private government. Thanks to an HOA's smaller focus, its residents are often apt to get more of the services they pay for than city residents who rely on taxpayer-funded public services that need to have a broad reach.

Who doesn't want more bang for their buck?

14. Your neighborhood will look the way it should.

Some might see this as a drawback, but HOA rules keep their communities' homes and yards looking their best. You won't have to worry about your neighbor's ancient car sitting in their driveway in perpetuity, or that the people across the street will paint their home in Day-Glo colors. An HOA will establish guidelines for all members to adhere to, which will keep eyesores like this from working their way onto your block.

15. They keep your common areas looking beautiful.

This is one of the most well-known benefits of HOAs, but it still bears repeating: services like lawn maintenance and street cleaning are all usually provided a lot more efficiently than a municipal government could pull off, and they keep HOA communities looking great.

This constant attention contributes to the stable property values in these communities.

16. You have access to community management and mediation.

Who hasn't had a problem with a noisy neighbor or a barking dog? You'll still have that risk in an HOA community, but the upside is you'll have a way to get the problem addressed. You could have your HOA management handle the issue or mediate a discussion rather than getting into a war of words with a troublesome neighbor.

17. Your interests can be protected on a local level.

Mandatory membership requirements might seem off-putting at first, but this is what gives HOAs the organizational resources they need to lobby for their members on a local political level. 70% of HOAs monitor local government decisions and lobby for their members' best interest.

18. They can provide an increased sense of security.

Many HOA developments are inside "gated" communities that limit neighborhood access to residents and invitees. Some HOAs even have private security forces. You can rest assured that, with an HOA looking out for you, you'll feel safer in your new neighborhood than you ever have before.

19. You have more control over restrictions.

If you rent an apartment, you are at the mercy of building management. In a single-family home in a non-HOA neighborhood, you must abide by zoning laws and codes adopted by public bodies. With an HOA, though, all of the rules are composed by and for homeowners who are elected by you, your neighbors. This method of collective management gives you more influence over your community.

20. They're expanding affordable home ownership.

Many HOAs cover condominium developments, which are also a great lower-cost introduction to home ownership. With the construction and operating efficiencies of HOAs, more Americans are able to afford to purchase their first home in the form of a condominium.

21. You won't be missing any services.

By now you might be wondering what you'll be missing out on if you live in a community with an HOA. There must be some public service you'll wish you still had, right? Actually, studies have found that HOAs provide the same services as a local government, in large part because they act as a private government that actually has its residents' best interests at heart!

22. HOAs are multiplying.

There are 30 times more HOAs in the United States today than there were in 1970. They're especially popular in fast-growing regions, such as in the South and West. Why is this? Well, if people are "voting with their feet," it's because HOAs work. Not to mention...

23. Their members are happy.

According to the Foundation for Community Association Research, a whopping 92% of HOA members rate their experience with their community association as positive (70%) or neutral (22%). 88% say that their elected boards work to serve the best interests of their communities. It's tough to get that many people to agree on anything, but they agree on HOAs. For the people who decide HOAs are right for them, they're clearly happy with their choice.

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