When you enter into your house hunt in the Charleston area, you will likely come across at least a few properties that are in HOA (Homeowners’ Association) communities. Once a structure typically relegated to condos or townhomes, many planned subdivisions have also begun incorporating HOAs into their structures—in fact, 60% of single family homes that have been built recently are in HOA communities.
Living in an HOA community can have a major number of benefits for homebuyers, but it is certainly not the right choice for everyone who is on the house hunt. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at exactly what an HOA does and why you would (or wouldn’t) want to consider a house, condo, or townhome within a community that has one.
What is an HOA?
An HOA works as an overseer for a planned community, which can apply whether the community contains single-family homes, condos, or townhomes. Functioning similarly to a landlord, an HOA is responsible for certain maintenance items, enforcing the guidelines of the community, and ensuring that there are standards being upheld with the exterior appearance of each property. Additionally, HOAs will often put on fun community events such as social hours, decorating contests, and neighborhood-wide activities so you can interact with those around you!
Typically, residents will pay an HOA fee monthly or yearly which will go towards the upkeep, maintenance, and improvement of the community. While every HOA is different as far as its fees and what’s included, there are some general pros and cons that can help you decide if an HOA community is right for you.
Pros of Living in an HOA Community
Free Yourself From Exterior Home Maintenance
Generally, an HOA will take care of the exterior upkeep of the homes or condos within the community. This can range from keeping up with landscaping, cleaning common areas, and even painting the exterior of the home when it’s time for a touch up. This can do wonders to maintain the curb appeal of not only your home, but all the homes around you, too!
Increase the Asking Price for Your Home
While some people don’t like living under HOA rules, the buyers that do are often willing to pay for the privilege. A recent study found that homes under HOAs sell for 4% more on average when compared to their non-HOA counterparts!
Keep the Peace With Ease
Unfortunately, even in the nicest of neighborhoods, conflicts can happen between neighbors. Whether it’s a barking dog or a neighbor that likes to be loud, your HOA will serve as the go-between for the confrontation so you can avoid having any tough conversations with your neighbors directly.
Cons of Living in an HOA Community
Committing to Dues or Fees
Regardless of what a particular HOA chooses to call them, every HOA has them—and depending on the amenities the community comes with, they can get pricey. Typically, Charleston HOAs will charge between $200 to $500 per month, which covers the cost of HOA employees, the upkeep of amenities such as a pool, and emergency funds for sudden disasters.
Subjecting Your Home to Scrutiny
Typically, HOAs will have very strict rules about the exterior appearance of homes within the community. This can range from major things, such as what color you can paint your home, to minor infractions such as leaving your garbage can out for too long after trash pickup. Typically, violating these fines will incur a warning and a fee, which homeowners are contractually obligated to pay.
Being Contractually Obligated to Terms
Many HOAs have rules about how homes within the community can be used, which can be limiting to homeowners. Oftentimes, HOA contracts will include clauses about home-based businesses, using the property as a vacation rental, and even renting it out to tenants if you decide to move. This can make your property less flexible if you’re buying a home you’d like to use as a secondary residence or investment property later on.
If you’d like to learn more about HOAs or properties in Charleston, we’d love to help you out! Contact us today so we can get more information about where you’re at on your house hunting journey—we can’t wait to chat.