Is an HOA community right for you?

One of the biggest stigmas that people have is having to pay a monthly amount into an HOA. What is an HOA exactly?

Homeowners Associations are essentially non-profit organizations that exist to manage neighborhood standards agreed upon by the group. They collect payments from members of the neighborhood to help enforce these standards. Because of this setup, many new homeowners assume that an HOA will have them paying a lifetime of unnecessary cost with no real payoff whatsoever. But this isn’t always the case!

HOAs are popular in the Bay Area and you can expect every new construction home to have them. I’m here to tell you why HOAs aren’t always a bad thing and why you shouldn’t cross HOAs off your prospective properties list.

Here are some potential benefits to buying a home that’s a part of an HOA: 

  1. Improvement in property lifestyle: Being a part of an HOA can offer you lifestyle benefits that you wouldn’t have on your own. When you live in an HOA property, you’re granted access to a desirable lifestyle that you wouldn’t have in other neighborhoods. Think about gyms, pools, communal space, potentially a playground.

  2. Fees cover important services: Fees actually cover a lot of important business for residents in an HOA. Even though HOA fees can feel pointless and frustrating to some, these payments often cover pesky services that no homeowner likes to deal with themselves! For example, many HOA fees cover exterior maintenance, like roofing, outside paint, utilities like sewage and garbage, and even sometimes your water bill. The specifics will depend on which HOA community you are part of.

  3. Allows you to buy in locations you can’t otherwise afford: The third point, and probably one of the biggest draws to purchasing an HOA property, is that being in an HOA allows you to buy real estate in locations that you otherwise would not be able to afford.  For example, you can buy a condo in Sunnyvale or Mountain View for under a million dollars, but you certainly cannot buy a single-family house there. On the flip side, if you were to choose San Jose instead of Sunnyvale, you could afford a single-family home for under a million, However, the distance between the two is greatly different. When people are going back to work and school, dealing with traffic will be a factor that isn’t being considered today.

This means that living in an HOA will broaden the horizons of your real estate search and allow you to enjoy neighborhoods that you previously didn’t think you’d ever be able to live in. Plus, with the HOA covering a lot of your expenses, you can limit your rainy-day funds for repairs since many of the major items are covered. 

What you need to weigh up is whether the fees are worth it for you. Considering that the fees are fixed regardless of it you use the services and amenities, there could be special assessments that impact the fee, and last but not least you will be paying for maintenance and upkeep of land you do not own. 

So it all comes down to your personal circumstances. If you are wondering if an HOA community is right for you and have any questions let's chat! 

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