Gail DuBois' Blog
Buying a home in a neighborhood with a Home Owner’s Association (HOA) works well for some families, while others find the HOA to be burdensome or intrusive. Learning more about what an HOA is, how it works and what to expect can help you determine if your next home should be in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association.
What Is a Homeowners Association?
When builders or developers create planned communities with ameneties, they often also create a homeowners association to help manage the shared areas of the property when the building is complete. The homeowner’s association has some powers over the people who live in the neighborhood and is also responsible for maintaining the look and integrity of the community. Anyone owning a home in the community must also pay HOA fees for the services rendered. Dues can be paid monthly quarterly or annually and are determined by the association itself and its bylaws.
If you buy a home in a neighborhood with an HOA it is important to discover what rules are in place and what expectations the HOA has of residents. Some are far more involved and assertive than others, with rules for trashcan placement, yard maintenance and even parking. You should know what amenities you’ll have access to when you join the community and how your fees will be spent.
Since HOA fees are an added expense, they’ll also be considered when you apply for a mortgage, so be sure to factor them in when you work out what you can afford.
Benefits of Living in a Homeowner’s Association Community
Communities that have an HOA in place are generally well maintained; the HOA is responsible for caring for public areas, landscaping, sidewalks and some roadways. You won’t have to worry about living in a messy or unsightly neighborhood when an HOA is in place.
A pool you don’t have to care for, tennis courts to use on demand and even a clubhouse for parties and get togethers are big draws for some homeowners, if these things matter to you, you’ll enjoy this type of community.
A community with an active and healthy HOA will likely have groups and social gatherings. In some HOA groups, clubs, celebrations and welcomes for new members are scheduled throughout the year. If you want a close knit, involved community, then the right type of HOA may serve your needs well.
Drawbacks of Living in a Homeowner’s Association Community
The biggest drawback of living in an HOA community is having to cope with rules that you don’t agree with or that put a burden on your family.
For many homeowners, the HOA determines what colors a home can be, how often the lawn should be mowed and even what holiday decorations are acceptable. If you prefer making these decisions for yourself, you may not enjoy an HOA neighborhood.
You may not be able to make some improvements to your home; your HOA will determine if you can create an addition, add a fence (and will specify what kind of fence you can have) or even rent out your property. Homeowners who might want to expand their home, renovate or even have kids or get a dog may find that the rules for fencing and building are too stringent.
In some cases, an HOA has the power to levy annual fees or costs for construction projects and bill homeowners for the work. In some communities, this can run into the thousands of dollars per home. You should be aware of this possibility and determine if the HOA has to power to charge members for capital improvements before you buy.
Is an HOA Community Right for You?
If amenities and low care public areas matter to you and you don’t have plans for ambitious renovations or home changes, then an HOA neighborhood could suit your needs. If you generally dislike having rules imposed on things you own or feel uncomfortable having to request permission to make changes, the HOA may be more of a burden.
Review the rules and bylaws of any HOA you are considering buying into to be sure you fully understand what to expect before you make a purchase. You’ll be able to enjoy the neighborhood without any unwelcome surprises or costs when you know what to expect.
21 Richards Rd, Southborough, MA 01772
Enjoying a seamless home buying journey may seem virtually impossible, particularly for a first-time property buyer. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to boost the likelihood of quickly and easily finding your dream house, such as:
1. Hone Your Home Search
Consider where you want to reside and the features you want to find in your ideal residence. That way, you can hone your house search accordingly.
As you review potential home destinations, consider your short- and long-term goals. For instance, if you want to work in a big city, you may want to search for houses in or near a city that matches your expectations. Or, if you intend to start a family soon, you may want to pursue homes near parks and other family-friendly attractions.
Furthermore, make a list of home features you want to discover in your dream house. With this list in hand, you can focus on finding a home that you can enjoy for years to come.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A mortgage usually is a must-have for a homebuyer. If you enter the real estate market with a mortgage in hand, you could speed up your house search.
Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. This will allow you to learn about myriad mortgage options.
In addition, don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions. A mortgage sometimes is confusing, and as such, it helps to get plenty of information about a mortgage before you start a house search. If you consult with mortgage specialists at banks and credit unions, you can gain the insights you need to make an informed mortgage selection.
3. Establish Realistic Expectations
Although you likely want to find your dream residence as quickly as possible, it is important to remember that the home buying journey often has ebbs and flows. If you establish realistic home buying expectations, you can avoid potential disappointments as you search for your ideal residence.
Sometimes, it helps to consider the worst-case home buying scenarios. If you plan ahead for these situations, you can determine the steps you will need to take to avoid them altogether.
You may want to collaborate with family members and friends during your home search as well. With loved ones at your side, you can receive plenty of support and guidance as you conduct a home search. Plus, your loved ones can help you keep things in perspective, even if the home buying journey becomes stressful.
When it comes to finding and buying a home, you may want to employ a real estate agent, too. A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the home buying journey. They will learn about you and your home buying goals, and help you plan properly. Thus, a real estate agent can provide you with the support you need to enjoy a seamless home buying journey.
Ready to conduct a successful home search? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can navigate the home buying journey like a pro and quickly discover your dream home.
Believe it or not, the costs associated with selling a house can add up quickly. If a home seller fails to budget accordingly, he or she risks costly, time-intensive home repairs following a property inspection. Perhaps worst of all, this scenario may force a home seller to miss out on an opportunity to get the best price for his or her residence.
With a home selling budget in place, you can increase the likelihood of a profitable home selling experience. If you know what it takes to set up a home selling budget, you may be better equipped than ever before to streamline the home selling process.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you establish a home selling budget.
1. Assess the Condition of Your House
Before you list your house, it helps to perform a comprehensive home assessment. That way, you can identify potential upgrades both inside and outside your house and evaluate the costs associated with these home improvements.
Typically, a home inspection enables you to learn about your house's strengths and weaknesses. This inspection requires a property expert to assess your house and may take several hours to complete. Then, once the inspection is finished, you'll receive an inspection report that you can use to determine which home improvement projects that you may need to complete sooner rather than later.
2. Establish Home Improvement Priorities
Although you might want to give your residence a complete overhaul, there may be only limited time and resources at your disposal. Thus, you'll want to establish home improvement priorities to ensure you can maximize your time and resources.
Think about which home improvement projects are necessary. These projects should rank at the top of your list of home improvement priorities, as failure to complete them may prevent you from optimizing the value of your house.
As you establish home improvement priorities, don't forget to assess the costs associated with various home upgrades. This will help you achieve the best-possible home improvement results without spending beyond your means.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to sell a home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. In fact, this housing market professional can make it easy to map out a successful home selling budget and ensure you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the home selling process.
With a real estate agent at your side, you'll receive expert support throughout the home selling journey. A real estate agent will learn about your home and help you identify ways to enhance your residence. Plus, a real estate agent will offer recommendations to ensure you can upgrade your house on a budget.
If you're getting ready to sell your house, it helps to collaborate with a real estate agent. Reach out to local real estate agents in your area, and you can get the support that you need to establish a home selling budget.