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  • Writer's pictureHelen Jean Wils

⚖️ HOA - Yea or Nay? ⚖️

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

Most of my buyer-clients “know” from the get-go whether or not they want to purchase in a community with an active homeowner association. Some have experience, while others base their ideas on preconceived notions or stories they’ve heard.

My husband and I wanted to live in a community with an HOA. For one thing, we were hoping for some basic amenities without having to directly care for them. It’s nearly impossible to tell your kids that they can’t go swimming in the pool in the backyard, but it’s oh-so-simple to fabricate community pool hours that fit your parental needs. When I had morning sickness and/or felt exhausted this summer, the pool was closed a lot 🤣.

We also wanted to protect our investment and an HOA is a tried-and-true way to do that. Our neighbors in New York had hopes and dreams of creating a Bangladeshi Mud Pool and we already had a harrowing mosquito problem. Thank goodness we left before they hatched their vision and a billion tiny mosquito larvae. Here, I can pretty much rest assured that I won’t contract West Nile Virus as a result of my neighbors’ home improvement projects.

Many homebuyers feel like an HOA will stifle the plan they have for their space, especially outdoors. I’ve found, however, that proposing projects to the Architectural Review Committee isn’t too time-consuming or difficult to get approved. I look at it as an “ask and you shall receive” scenario and if you and your agent have carefully reviewed the Covenants, Codes, and Restrictions ahead of making an offer, there shouldn’t be many surprises. (HINT, HINT: YOUR AGENT SHOULD DO THIS WITH YOU!)

So you want an outbuilding? The answer is “NO” until you start calling it what it is: a shed. I’m kidding! My friend and neighbor, Shannon Simmons, is a great example of how you can achieve a beautiful exterior while remaining HOA compliant. Just make sure the color, placement, and size of the outbuilding are proper, then add the edging and landscape material that coordinates with the rest of your property. Yes, that also needs to be approved. There are a wide variety of aesthetically pleasing landscape choice in my neighborhood - from pine straw to pea gravel to mulch. You name it!

Bottom line? Go over the CCRs with your buyer’s agent (hopefully me!) and see if you can live with them. The laws, that is Tour communities of interest. Ask questions. I think you may find that you’ll have more autonomy (while enjoying an appealing community filled with amenities) when you buy a property with a homeowner association.

Later this week I’ll be sharing some more of Shannon’s stunning home with you to provide more ideas of how to beautify your builder-grade home.

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