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Everything You Need to Know About Homeowners Associations

If you're on the market to buy a new home, then you may be considering purchasing one that is part of a homeowners association. Townhouses, condos, and even private homes often have homeowners associations that manage many aspects of the community. There are both positive and negative aspects in regards to homeowners associations, and if you're not familiar with how they work, then you need to find out as much as possible before making a final decision about where to purchase your new home. Here is a complete overview of everything you need to know about homeowners associations, so you can make the absolute best decision possible for yourself and your family.

Tip #1 - Consider Association Fees.

All homeowners associations charge a set fee that everyone living in the complex must pay. Costs can vary, and you need to verify the specific amount in advance. These fees cover a great deal, including landscaping, clubhouses, swimming pools and a great deal more. Every association is different, and the fees will cover different aspects of each community.

  • Pros: A great deal of exterior maintenance will be provided for you, for the fee, and you will only have to focus on the interior of your home in many cases. Maintenance will include mowing, weed-eating, snow removal, etc., so owning related equipment wouldn't be necessary.
  • Cons: Depending on the particular association, the fees could be pretty costly. This is why it is important for you to factor in the cost of the fees in with your mortgage so you can determine if the fees are both affordable and worth it.

Tip #2 - Consider The Specific Regulations.

Homeowners associations often enforce certain regulations, and many will determine what color you can paint your home, the types of vehicles you can park on your property, the type of landscaping you can have, and much more. Like the fees, these regulations vary from association to association.

  • Pros: You won't have to worry about members breaking rules and causing the community to look less-than-desirable, because those in charge of running the homeowners association will strictly enforce these rules. This will ensure that the complex is uniform, attractive and safe.
  • Cons: If you pride yourself on being different when it comes to decorating your home, or you plan on getting an RV or boat in the future, then a homeowners association may not be a good idea. Many associations do not allow RVs and similar vehicles to be parked on the premises, so if you insist on owning one, then you would have to park it outside of the community.

Tip #3 - Alternating Association Presidents.

Many homeowners associations opt to alternate presidents, which includes the members that live in the community. This means that you will likely be called upon to act as president at one time or another. The president, of course, wouldn't be in charge of making all the important decisions, but he or she would have a major responsibility, including overseeing the entire association.

  • Pros: Acting as temporary president can give you the opportunity to suggest some new rules and regulations that you feel would benefit the entire community. It would also give you the opportunity to take a leadership role, giving you some say-so about what occurs in your community.
  • Cons: If you're a quiet and shy person who feels more comfortable remaining "behind the scenes," then such a situation may not work for you. You may feel outside your comfort zone speaking in front of groups, which would be a necessary part of the position. Being called upon to be president could cause your entire experience to be unbearable.

Purchasing a home is a major decision, and deciding to purchase one that is part of a homeowners association is just as important. This is why you should make sure to carefully consider all the pros and cons of homeowners associations before making a long-term commitment that you might not be happy with in the future. Homeowners associations can definitely have their fair share of positive aspects, such as managing certain upkeep and repairs so you don't have to contend with them, and while some homeowners love these associations, others feel the total opposite about them.