Many residential communities in the Boston metro area have homeowners’ associations (HOAs). These organizations have specific sets of rules and regulations that can help ensure cohesiveness in the neighborhood, whether by governing the appearance of the properties or providing amenities such as security and garbage pickup. Homeowners can expect to pay a certain amount of money each year in HOA fees based on the types of services offered.
If you have been considering purchasing a house, condo, or townhouse that is part of an HOA, you might be wondering what the benefits and drawbacks are. While some homeowners enjoy the structure they provide, others may find the rules to be too restrictive. Before purchasing a home that is bound by the covenants and conditions of an HOA, it’s crucial to carefully weigh the pros and cons.
Pros of Belonging to an HOA
Every HOA is different, but one of the advantages of living in any HOA is having access to specific amenities. Many have exclusive amenities for use by members, including pools, gyms, or clubhouses. Some HOAs also host social events for the community.
Another advantage of purchasing a home in a community governed by an HOA is the services that may be offered — some HOAs go beyond providing trash and recycling pickup and include snow removal, home repairs, and painting services. Often, there is also a security system in place in an HOA community, whether it be a gated entrance, 24/7 security patrol, or surveillance cameras.
Notably, being part of an HOA can often increase the price of a home since it is required to be maintained in accordance with specific standards.
Cons of Purchasing a Home in an HOA
Although there are many benefits to being part of an HOA, there are also some drawbacks to be aware of. One of the cons of belonging to an HOA is the restrictions that a homeowner must abide by. The restrictive covenants that many HOAs have in place can dictate things like:
- The type of colors allowed on the outside of your home
- Permissible fencing
- Limitations on sporting equipment used on your property
- Restrictions on operating a commercial business out of your home
It’s essential to carefully consider how any HOA restrictions would affect you before purchasing the home. You should also be aware of how the HOA resolves disputes concerning rule violations. In some cases, homeowners can incur significant fines, and a lien can be placed on the home if they become past due.
You should also consider how an HOA could potentially affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage. A bank will factor in the monthly HOA fees when it determines the mortgage amount you can afford. Significantly, if the HOA fees are relatively high, you may be left with a smaller amount to spend on your home.
Learn About CLG’s Residential Real Estate Practice
If you’re thinking about purchasing a home that’s part of an HOA, an experienced real estate attorney can advise you concerning your legal rights and discuss the pros and cons. Continental Law Group represents buyers and sellers for various residential real estate matters throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire. CLG has offices located in Boston, Salem, MA, and Portsmouth, NH. Call (617) 616-8210 to learn more about CLG’s residential real estate practice and other legal services.