HOA Nightmares or Blessings
Like many red-blooded Americans, I have always felt gut-level distain for the Homeowner’s Association. It feels like there’s something fundamentally wrong with authoritarian pinheads, who don’t pay your mortgage, telling you what to do with your home. I mean, this is still America, the land of the free… right? Will yours be a story of HOA nightmares or blessings?
The HOA is usually an organization made up of people who own homes in the community, like condos, townhouses or a planned urban development (organized subdivision with services, rules and amenities like a shared swimming pool, noise ordinances and landscaping). These days, the HOA can also be self-managed or outsourced to a third-party organization. Roughly 84% of newly built, single-family homes sold in 2022 belonged to homeowners associations, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. (CNBC)
Purportedly, the HOA’s goal is to increase property values in the community by setting and enforcing rules for how properties in the neighborhood should look and what homeowners can or can’t do. When potential home buyers visit the community, they should notice things are nice and neat, and might be inclined to pay more money to be your neighbor.
Homeowners generally vote on a board of directors which then governs the HOA. The board chooses features and services, sets rules and collects the monthly fees. The HOA rules are called a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions or CC&R. When you buy a house in the community, you must agree to live by those rules and pay the membership fees. Par 4 Mortgage can help you navigate the complex HOA maze. Our experts understand how it all works, the pros and the cons.
Now it has been said that “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. To “lord” it over others is nothing new. See Matthew 20: 25-28 The internet is chalked full of HOA nightmares; stories of authoritarian government types, who truly hate God and people. These wankers believe they are more evolved than the back-water homeowners they pretend to serve, the drooling unwashed masses, too stupid to know what’s good for them.
This can rapidly become a serious matter as the HOA has the power to foreclose on our homes should we fail to pay their fines or dues. Here are a few fun examples of HOA overreach, out of literally millions.
“I’m being charged $400 for a bush overhanging the walkway. I don’t have a walkway…or a bush. The picture the HOA has isn’t even my house, and they won’t back down.” Tony
“Everyone in my neighborhood was fined for having ‘dirty roofs’. We found out later that the HOA president started a power washing business. How convenient.” Zachary
“They told us we couldn’t hang garden hoses in our back yard and our garage had too many boxes in it.” John
“I got a HOA violation for my neighbor’s vines growing into my yard.” Victoria
“We were fined for dog poop, that didn’t belong to our dog.” Cindy
Every coin has two sides so now let’s look at the flip side. Have you ever had a nightmare for a neighbor? If so, then you know there might be nothing worse. We learned this fact firsthand while living in south Florida. Partly because of the HOA horror stories out there and partly because we wanted to park a boat on the property, we purchased a nice home, on a quiet street, without an HOA.
One evening, soon after closing, I was relaxing in the Lanai, sometimes called the ‘Florida room’. My heart started to vibrate in my chest and the walls began to shake. It felt like an earthquake. It quickly became clear to me that a nearby neighbor, whose backyard was adjacent to mine yet separated by a thin layer of foliage, was in a death metal band.
I phoned the local cops who were predictably apathetic, so I took a drive to check out the noisy neighbors. To my chagrin, the mayhem was coming from a shabby, unkept modular home, with trash on the untrimmed lawn and abandoned vehicles everywhere. Right then, listening to my new neighbor repeatedly scream the “F” word into his amazingly powerful sound system, while crashing drums and resounding bass notes violated my delicate ears, I knew why some homeowners prefer to have an HOA.
While you may not like being told you can’t park your boat in the driveway, that rule works in your favor when the angry, toothless, Bud Light-swilling, redneck local next door wants to park a rusty, smog belching, tenement on wheels in his. You may thank the nosy HOA tattletale for putting a stop to the all-night parties, loud diesel spewing monster trucks, noisy kids on motorcycles, invasive drones, crowing roosters, the guy who brings his construction business home and a long list of other annoying, inconsiderate things bad neighbors without rules tend to do.
When it’s time to sell your home, the HOA may help you get top dollar. Nothing scares off a potential buyer faster than loud, offensive music and jalopified vehicles in your neighbor’s front yard. What will it be? HOA nightmares or blessings? I don’t like being told what to do with my property any more than the next guy, but there are pros and cons to this HOA thing. I learned the hard way that sometimes an HOA can be your friend.
Let Par 4 Mortgage help you find an affordable home and payment, including the HOA dues. We can also refer you to a licensed real estate agent to help you with your search in Colorado or Florida. Call 720-397-0056 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today!