Is a Homeowner’s Association Right for Me?

Posted by Alex Lewis on Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 at 11:02am.

If you’re shopping for a new home to lease or purchase in Central Texas, you may wonder whether homeowner’s associations are worth your while.

It’s usually easy to educate yourself about what specific HOA communities provide and allow. Before taking the financial plunge, take some time to learn about what Central Texas HOA communities offer.

To some, the benefits of having a quality HOA far outweigh the fees and restrictions. Paying a simple, recurring fee can mean time saved from menial tasks, more fun activities to do around your own community and no obscure-looking houses or fences that are a blight on the surrounding community, spoiling the immaculate beauty of the rest of the neighborhood.

On the other hand, some believe HOA communities should be avoided. They see homeowner’s associations as a costly and invasive system that keeps families from adding the personal touches that make a house unique and their own.

If you are considering a community with HOA management, it’s worth your time to do some simple home-seeker research. This article will get you started, but investigate specific communities to really know what you’re signing up for before you commit to a lease or purchase.

Here are some restrictions, rules, and amenities you should consider before moving to a Central Texas homeowners’ association community:

Know how to get the inside scoop

No matter your opinion about HOAs, you should always read the fine print before signing a contract. Homeowner’s associations can be worlds apart when it comes to the monthly costs, your responsibilities as a tenant, and all that’s offered to the homeowner or renter. It’s paramount to know the fine details before you sign any dotted lines.
There are a few ways to get the inside scoop.

  • Ask current residents: Some believe this is the best way to go. There can be a huge difference between what is written on a piece of paper and what is experienced by those living in the community. Sometimes laws are not enforced, the HOA management is slow to fulfill maintenance needs and community promises, or they are more strict and unwavering than may be comfortable for your family. Ask around, but don’t use local opinions as an excuse not to read the actual HOA contract.
  • Go online: The internet can be an invaluable resource for getting to know your prospective community’s HOA. A reputable place to start is hoa-USA.com. There, you can browse the phone numbers, websites, and other contact information of HOA communities in Central Texas. Give them a call, ask about their community and contract, and make a more informed decision.
  • Speak to a real estate agent: Not only will an experienced real estate agent already know a thing or two already about the community, he or she may also know who to talk to about learning the specifics of the local HOA rules, fees, and amenities. If you’re still looking for a quality Central Texas real estate agent, give JB Goodwin a call!

How will you be affected by the extra cost?

HOA communities can provide many awesome benefits to their residents, but those benefits come with a cost.

Before you move to a Central Texas HOA community, consider the monthly cost and how that extra expense will impact your comfort. If the recurring fees cause you to worry, that community probably isn’t best for you.

But don’t let one inordinate cost deter you from living in an HOA community at all. There are plenty of other neighborhoods to consider that may have lower fees but that maintain the benefits you’re looking for in a community.

HOA fees tend to add a few hundred dollars per month, but can be collected on a monthly, quarterly, or even annual rate, so a high level of saving and strategic financial planning may be necessary.

Do some personal finance calculations to make sure your income can handle the extra costs. But remember to factor in that some of the fees include payments you’d have to make on your own, anyway. HOA fees often cover your lawn care, a recreational membership, gym membership, and home maintenance costs. (More on this later.)

You’ll abide by restrictions to take advantage of the benefits

Another key component to homeowner’s associations is the rules. Rules – and the extent of their enforcement - differ significantly from community to community.

HOA rules can be a relief or a deal-breaker, depending on what you’re looking for. Some families rejoice because the restrictions mean their neighbor can’t park his old R.V. in the driveway. But many families may also be disappointed when rules that exclude cars from parking on the street restrict them from hosting large parties at their home.

The rules differ from neighborhood to neighborhood. Find out which Central Texas homeowner’s association has the laws that benefit you most!

Learn about the benefits of your HOA

This is the part everyone looks forward to, so I’ve saved it for last. Homeowner’s associations can provide their communities with awesome perks that are hard to turn down, and easy to enjoy.

The simplest HOA communities in Central Texas handle the basic chores around your community. This can include keeping the local grounds, providing maintenance to residential homes, and taking care of your trash and yard. Other neighborhoods provide substantially more!

Tennis courts, local gyms, swimming pools, and clubhouses are common amenities you’ll find across Central Texas HOA communities. The perks tend to foster social connection and healthy living, which can help you befriend your neighbors and keep your whole family happy, sharp, and fit.

If you’re looking for an HOA community in Central Texas, let a JB Goodwin agent help your family find success. JB Goodwin can give you the information you need to make a strong home buying or leasing decision. One of our agents will be happy to provide your family with home and neighborhood tours across Austin, San Antonio, and other surrounding cities in Central Texas. We look forward to helping you and your family!

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