What About the Home Owners Association rules?
It’s so exciting when you decide to buy a home of your own in Orange County. Either as you first home – after living with your parents for longer than either of you had ever imagined you’d be there. Or moving on from the long line of roommates you’ve loved and lost over the years. Or just moving on from where ever you are now. It’s still exciting. Except when it’s not your choice to move, but your land lord has decided to sell the house or condo you inhabit rather than re-new your lease. A move is still in your future, it just may not be as exciting as it is overwhelming. I feel your pain.
Either way, when you’re taking on buying a home of your own, there very often becomes the question of HOA or no HOA. And just so we’re all clear, HOA refers to the Home Owners Association rules – their specific CC&Rs – their Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. All of which apply to what you can and cannot do as a home owner of a home within the area of the governing Home Owners Association rules. Wow, that’s a mouth full.
Here are the top three things you want to consider when looking at houses with Home Owners Association rules.
- You have to pay monthly HOA dues as long as you own the property. While this may be viewed as abhorrent to anyone planning to take on a mortgage, property taxes, and home owners insurance, there are some redeeming features to your Home Owners Association dues. Many times these dues include access to swimming pools, club houses, tennis courts, gymnasiums, and other facilities that you’d normally only experience with a private country club or a vacation resort. Sometimes they cover the exterior maintenance of your home such as termite repairs, roof maintenance and water intrusion. Check the CC&Rs while you’re in escrow to see what your HOA dues cover for you. You’ll either be pleasantly surprised, massively disappointed, or delay either response by declining to read the CC&Rs.
- You have to comply with the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions of the HOA as long as you own the house. These usually apply to the color you’re restricted to when choosing a paint palette for your home’s exterior, the hard scape and landscaping choices for your front and back yard (which may be further impacted by our current severe drought condition,) and whether or not you can park your RV in your drive way. Or place couches in your drive way. Or keep your garage door open for more than two hours.
- You have to respond to notices of non-compliance from you HOA. Lest you be fined or levied a lien against your home. Seriously. As a home owner in a community governed by an HOA – I’ve received notices to repaint my exterior shutters and repaint my mail box stand to adhere to the color palette selected by the HOA. Thank goodness my next door neighbor and mail box buddy had his handy man repaint my mail box at the same time. And both of us avoided a fine from our HOA.
So all of this just begs the question – are you willing to take the chance that your neighbors across the street will keep their in-laws living in the pop-up camper in their drive way and their teenagers congregating on the other side of the drive way on the couches from your mom’s house, as you’ve chosen a no HOA neighborhood? The choice is yours.