You might know the term HOA already. A home owner’s association is an entity that exists where you find a residential subdivision. These are private associations. It’s usually a real estate developer who sets them up, so they can more easily manage, sell, or market homes.
An HOA’s appeal is that you now live in a heavily regulated area. If the person next door to you decides they want to dramatically alter their property, if you have no HOA, you have no method to stop them. If you have an HOA in place, you can regulate what those on your street do with their property.
You also have the choice of managing the HOA yourself, or you can have another, separate entity do it. There are some HOA self-management pros and cons, and we’ll take a look at those now.
You Make All the Rules
If you make the decision to self-manage your HOA, one major positive is that you and whoever else comprises that HOA can decide everything the applicable members can and can’t do. For instance, you can choose:
- What house paint colors you’ll accept
- How tall a fence can be
If you get together and vote on the general rules, you should have as close to a consensus as possible. In theory, if you let an outside entity make the rules, they might not closely reflect what most of the people living in that area want.
Also, if you want to have a direct impact on what happens around you, serving on the HOA board is how you do that. If you often think about privacy and exclusivity, there’s no better way to ensure those community aspects.
Another major pro is that if you handle the HOA duties yourself, as a community, you do not have to give money to someone else to do it. If you hire an outside agency to act as your HOA:
- That’s a hefty fee each month, quarter, or year
- You might not be able to afford the HOA fees as easily during economic downtimes
If you and your community decide to manage the HOA yourselves, your dues will be much less. That’s appealing, especially if there’s ever economic uncertainty. The pandemic has certainly led to plenty of that, even in exclusive and presumably more well-to-do communities.
Now, on to the HOA self-management negatives. Many people experience a neighbor feud from time to time. If you live in different houses or apartments over the years, you may encounter that neighbor who rubs you the wrong way.
Maybe they play their music too loud on weekdays. Perhaps there’s a tree right on the property line between your homes, and you want to chop it down because it drops seasonal fruit on your car every autumn. Your neighbor refuses to let you do it.
If you and a neighbor are both on the HOA board, you might spend every meeting screaming at each other. You both have a say in what happens on the board and the way the HOA conducts business. Neither one of you will back down an inch.
If you let an outside agency handle it, they can intermediate if there are ever feuds. You might not always like their rulings, but at least that takes the decision out of your hands. What they say goes, and sometimes, in this sort of situation, it’s better that way.
If you hire a professional HOA management company, that’s their fulltime job. They will look at all HOA situations that come up, and they will have solutions ready.
If you try to handle all of that yourself, it might drive you crazy, especially if you have a fulltime job already. Home owner’s association duties take up your time, and if you let someone else handle all of that, it can simplify your life.
If you hire a company to manage HOA duties, they will handle missed payments and other clerical work. You won’t have to work all day at your regular job, then spend your evenings attempting to settle pressing HOA business.
As you can see, there are both managed HOA benefits and drawbacks. If you plan on moving into one of these exclusive communities, you should think about which setup you’d prefer and then figure out what the community has in place. If they don’t have a system you like, you may want to look into other options because of that.