Homeowners associations (HOAs) are great for some people, but not so much for others. If you want to live in a well-run, well-maintained, orderly neighborhood or community, then an HOA is likely a good fit for you. But if you’d resent not being able to decide how to manage and change your own property the way you want, then an HOA probably wouldn’t be a good fit. It all depends on your needs and wants and lifestyle. So let’s dig in and take a closer look at the pros and cons of a homeowners association in New Jersey.
What Is a Homeowners Association?
A homeowners association (HOA) is typically an organization often instituted by a real estate developer for the purpose of managing a community of houses, townhouses, or condos. The HOA has the authority to enforce the drafted covenants, conditions, and restrictions and to manage the common components of the community.
Residents of an HOA community have to pay dues, which can range from $100 per year to $1,000 a month, in order to enjoy the benefits of the organization. In addition, these HOA fees are also included when your mortgage lender assesses your monthly mortgage payment. Residents also have to abide by all the (sometimes pretty restrictive) HOA rules, regulations, and restrictions.
So if you plan to buy in an HOA community, you need to make sure you’re willing and able to pay the dues and that you can live with the rules. To discover more about HOAs in New Jersey, talk to a local agent at (908) 320-7995.
Homeowners Association Pros
HOAs offer some definite advantages and benefits. These include . . .
Well Kept, Nice-looking Neighborhood
A homeowners association establishes and enforces rules to ensure the neighborhood looks good and is well maintained. These rules, which can be pretty strict, usually govern such things as lawn care, restrictions on parking large vehicles on the street, and limitations on paint colors.
Access to Amenities
Residents of an HOA community usually have access to common community amenities – for example, a fitness center, pool, clubhouse, parks, and children’s play area.
Shared Maintenance Costs
With an HOA, you won’t have to foot all the maintenance bills yourself. A portion of the HOA dues are typically earmarked for the maintenance and upkeep of the shared spaces, maintenance that includes, for example, snow removal and the upkeep of common areas.
If you happen to have any problems with neighbors, the HOA affords you a built-in mediator. You can settle issues and differences by taking your grievances before the HOA’s board or management company.
Homeowners Association Cons
But there are also some drawbacks to HOAs, such as . . .
Homeowners Association Dues
As we mentioned, the benefits come at a cost in the form of HOA dues. These vary from community to community but typically run in the hundreds of dollars per month.
This one is big for some people. You’ll be limited by the HOA rules and restrictions in what changes you can make to your property. If, for example, you want to add an enclosed patio, you may not be able to.
Impact of HOA Financial Problems
If the HOA happens to be suffering financial problems or is ensnared in a finance-related lawsuit, this could affect your ability to get a loan and even the sale price of your home.
Making the Final Decision About a Homeowners Association
So . . . is an HOA community right for you? To make that determination, you’ll need to carefully weigh the pros against the cons. But you don’t have to do it all on your own. Your local market city agent, who knows the ins and outs of the local homeowner’s associations, can provide some valuable assistance to help you make the right decision. When you’re trying to decide whether or not a homeowners association in New Jersey would be a good fit, be sure to contact us at (908) 320-7995.