As a new homeowner, you’ll need to budget for several housing-related expenses. There’s your monthly mortgage payment, home insurance, and occasional maintenance costs. Yet, many homeowners fail to account for their HOA dues.
Continue reading for a detailed look at homeowners associations and, more specifically, whether these recurring dues are worth it.
An overview of homeowners associations
Homeowners associations have been a mainstay in the U.S. since 1964. Their role is to maintain and improve the appearance of neighborhoods through the enforcement of rules. Residents usually take it upon themselves to govern these organizations.
How common are HOAs today? Well, according to Forbes, a whopping 80% of homes in new subdivisions are in a homeowners association. That’s why it’s critical to understand what an HOA covers and the fees involved.
What does an HOA cover?
Keep in mind that homeowners association coverages and fees vary. If you’re in a planned development or condo building, you probably have shared spaces like a clubhouse, pool, and fitness center. You can expect part of your monthly HOA fees to go toward the upkeep of these areas.
Then there’s the question about city services. While some HOAs might cover local amenities such as recycling and trash removal, others only cover snow removal. It’s also possible that your association covers water or cable.
Landscaping is another common coverage among HOAs. However, those in a single-family home will more than likely be responsible for their lawn care. On the other hand, residents of a condo or townhouse community may be able to defer landscaping maintenance to their HOA.
Lastly, don’t be surprised if a portion of your fees goes toward a reserve fund. The community can then use this savings account to cover potholes, amenity repairs, landscaping improvements, and other significant expenses as they arise. Associations without a sufficient reserve may choose to either temporarily hold off on a project or require homeowners to pay a special assessment to cover the cost.
How much are the fees?
What you pay each month largely depends on the type and size of the residence. Plus, if you have several amenities in your neighborhood, you can count on higher HOA fees. Remember that you’re paying for the additional conveniences.
American Financing points out that the average HOA dues range from $100-$1,000. That’s quite the difference! So do yourself a favor and ask about a neighborhood’s HOA costs before looking at homes.
What are the pros and cons of a homeowners association?
Now that you have a solid grasp of homeowners associations, let’s dive into these entities’ advantages and disadvantages.
- Higher home prices – Detached homes under HOAs sell for an average of 4% or more. Buyers tend to seek out such properties because they’re well-maintained and uniform in terms of exterior appearance. That said, you could almost think of your monthly dues as an investment.
- Convenience – We touched on this briefly earlier. With the possibility of a pool, fitness center, and other amenities steps away, you’ll save time every day. You might even be able to find an HOA that does all the mowing and irrigation for you.
- Fewer issues with neighbors (hopefully) – Homeowners associations eliminate the need to confront a neighbor about community violations. Sure, the individual behind you might try to paint their house bright green. But they won’t get away with it for long if there’s an HOA and the color isn’t approved.
- Monthly fees – Many homeowners already make sacrifices to afford their mortgage. Once you tack on the HOA dues, buying a home could seem out of the question for many Coloradans. These fees are also subject to annual increases based on the community’s reserve fund.
- Regular back and forth – The longer you live in your home, the more you’ll want to update it to your liking. But you’ll need approval from your HOA before moving forward with the project. Plan on providing initial drawings, contractor information, and anything else that will mitigate safety concerns.
- Meetings, meetings, meetings – Communities typically meet monthly or every other month to discuss HOA-related happenings. If you have a busy schedule, maybe you’ll only be able to attend a few meetings a year. The time commitment is greater for those interested in actually joining the HOA board.
Contact our Denver real estate agents
A neighborhood’s HOA can certainly influence your homebuying decision. At American Home Agents, our team will help you feel confident in every detail of your new home, including the HOA. Call (303) 695-5900 to speak with one of our experienced real estate agents.