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Are Homeowners Associations Good Or Bad? It Depends!

Homeowners associations (HOAs) or Condominium Associations often have a bad image.

The first thought that normally pops in someone’s mind about HOAs are the strict neighborhoods that fine you for any tiny violation of the neighborhood covenants.


It seems everyone has a horror story from either themselves or a friend who had something not go their way.

But are HOAs really as bad as you always hear? Let’s explore!

Different Types of HOAs

Not all HOAs are the same. There are a wide variety of homeowners associations that offer a huge range of different services. You could have an HOA that simply makes sure that everyone follows the covenants that keep the neighborhood up to a certain standard.

Alternatively, you could have an HOA that offers everything under the sun including a clubhouse, golf course, pool, gym and they might even maintain all of the landscaping in the neighborhood.

Due to the wide variety of potential amenities, HOA fees can range from just a few bucks a month to hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month.

Some fees, especially in condo associations, even include utilities such as basic cable, internet, phone, electricity, water and trash. You’ll need to do the math yourself to figure out if the financial cost of an HOA fee is worth it to you.

HOAs Don’t Just Charge Money For Services

The sole value of an HOA isn’t in providing services at a charge. They enforce covenants that can help ensure that the homes and areas within the neighborhood or condo are kept up to a certain standard.

This can greatly increase the value of homes within a neighborhood when you eventually sell your home.

HOAs Can Be A Huge Pain

If you’ve decided that HOAs provide enough value for you financially, then you need to consider one of the biggest complaints about HOAs. A HOA has a set of covenants that everyone in that neighborhood must follow.

These covenants can restrict anything from what colors you’re allowed to paint your house to how you use your home and your yard.

They can regulate whether or not you can build a fence. If you can build a fence, they can regulate what materials you must use and what color it will be.

Your HOA can control where you park and how many cars you can park in your driveway. They can restrict you from being able to park boats, RVs or other recreational vehicles on your property where others can see them.

They can even require you to keep your trash can out of sight from the road!

Some people absolutely hate having someone else tell them what to do. Before you buy any home that has covenants and restrictions, be sure to read through all of the documents and fully understand them.

Once you buy, you’re bound to them and must follow the rules.

HOAs Can Be A Blessing In Disguise

HOAs aren’t all bad. While they restrict you from doing certain things, they also restrict your neighbors from doing the same things.

If you can’t stand living in a neighborhood with boats, RVs and trash cans in sight of the road, an HOA may be perfect for you! If you can’t stand bright orange and purple homes in your neighborhood you can find one that won’t allow crazy paint colors.

These restrictions create a certain level of uniformity that can increase home values if you don’t mind playing by the rules. That’s in addition to the benefits of the amenities!

Overall, if you can find an HOA that aligns with your values, I think they’re a great deal. Just make sure you’re ready to play by all of the rules in case you have a nit picky board that will blast you for every small violation.

What’s your stance on homeowners associations? Do you love them or hate them? Do you have a horror story or a great story about a condominium or homeowners association to share?


Monday 30th of December 2019

Contentious owners can also be a BIG problem. This is the opposite extreme problem. It's the primary fiduciary responsibility of any board to maintain community property values. That does require enforcing he governing documents and--at times--making some changes to improve how things operate. However, the 'old-timers club' of owners/members who don't want any change will stand up and shout down any new ideas being presented. That behavior makes doing the right thing much harder for any responsible board member!


Monday 30th of September 2019

AVOID HOA COMMUNITIES AT ALL COSTS!! They're a NIGHTMARE!! Only decrepits love them! Because all they do is be nosy on neighbors and steer drama!!

Greg smith

Tuesday 17th of April 2018

Anything that infringes on a person's right to do what they wish with their property should be considered unconstitutional. If I paid 200,000.00 + for my home I will do with it what I please.


Wednesday 2nd of October 2019

I agree 100% .. I will never buy a place with an HOA .. it’s my home not the HOA nazi .. tell me what color mulch and my cars can’t be parked in my driveway at night?? Ridiculous.. people who buy into this crap like to have there lives controlled

Lance Cothern

Tuesday 17th of April 2018

Thankfully you can choose whether you live in a HOA community or not. No need for constitutional protection when joining one is voluntary.


Wednesday 10th of August 2016

I have to say, out here in Colorado, they're almost necessary. Any area that doesn't have an HOA is trashy, filthy, and looks like nobody cares about their property. HOAs keep that in check. Granted, some HOAs are out of control and very pricey, like a membership to a fancy club, but the basic ones that keep a community nice are well worth the price.


Saturday 23rd of June 2018

Good to know I plan on moving to Colorado Springs in the near future I guess I should consider buying in an HOA for this reason

Jake Posey

Saturday 22nd of November 2014

I was hesitant to move into a neighborhood with an HOA 10 years ago. Then, when I read the documents I realized there was nothing in the rules that my wife would have forbade me from doing anyway. My current HOA is great.