Home Owners Association
I want to talk about something that I hear a lot about on a weekly basis, and that is home owners associations. Home owner associations have gotten a lot of grief over the past few decades and I just want to quickly remind readers of their intention, to maintain property value. I know the fact that homeowners associations dictating what color you paint your home and how long you grown your hedges can feel a bit overbearing, but it’s all with the intention of maintaining the value of the neighborhood. I’m not saying that certain HOA’s don’t get ahead of themselves and start a cult like culture in a neighborhood, I have definitely seen this happen. However most homeowners associations are well intended and in a position to serve you and not hinder you.
I recently spoke with a homeowner in Chandler Arizona who was telling me a sad story of his son losing his basketball hoop because of their HOA. Apparently the child had received the basketball hoop for christmas this last year, and loved to play basketball in the front yard. Unfortunately though the HOA had a rule against homeowners having stand alone basketball hoops that were not cemented into the ground. It was one of those basketball hoops that must be wheeled around to and from the backyard. The homeowner said his son loved playing basketball after school on the hoop, but within about a two months of having the hoop was forced to get rid of it. They received a letter in the mail that said basketball hoops that were not cemented into the ground were against the HOA of his neighborhood. So to his sons disappointment the homeowners discarded the basketball hoop after only two months of use.
During our conversation the homeowner conveyed frustration with the home owners association, and their seemingly overbearing rules. However I reminded the homeowner that the HOA’s intentions were not to upset the family, but were however to ensure the value of the neighborhood. I asked him what he thought the neighborhood would like if everyone decided to get basketball hoops like the one they had and just left it in the front yard. I told him “you could see how this could diminish the aesthetics of the neighborhood, and possibly detour families from wanting to move into the neighborhood” right? He agreed and understood where I was coming from.
Although our homes are stand alone, there is an obvious communal value from the sum of the homes in a neighborhood. The better your neighbor’s maintains their property, the better it is for you, and the value of your property. Although the rules of the HOA may seem rigid, and at times they are, they’re in order to serve a purpose. It would surprise you how quickly a neighborhood loses appeal simply because someone neglects their property. Poorly maintained yards, and outdated features can really pull down the whole neighborhood. And even though you and your family routinely make updates to your home and keep the exterior well polished, your efforts are lost if your neighbors do not do the same.
My point is to be grateful for your HOA and understand where they are coming from. Most times they are understanding and are more than willing to hear your comments or questions. Before purchasing, it is good practice to learn more about the local HOA and their policies, so you don’t run into anything unexpected after moving in. Make sure there are no horror stories online about your potential neighborhoods HOA and in some instances make sure they have one, if you intend to hold the value of your home. There are some neighborhoods that are an exception the rule and flourish without an HOA, but those are far and few between and rely heavily on social contracts.