3 Reasons I Would Not Buy a Home in an HOA

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HOAs are just not for me because of the rules involved.


Central points

  • There are certain advantages to owning a home in an HOA.
  • Because of the potential for restrictions, it’s not a setup I’m comfortable with.

At one point, when my husband and I were looking to buy a vacation home (a plan that has been put on hold due to the state of the housing market and the fact that mortgage rates have skyrocketed), we came across a property that seemed like a great fit. It was in our desired location and the price worked for our budget.

There was just one problem: The home was part of an HOA. And that alone was enough to get us through.

Now, there are certain advantages to owning a home in an HOA. You often do not have to carry out external maintenance yourself, as it is covered by your monthly fee. That can add up to a lot of time-related savings on tasks like mowing the lawn and removing snow.

Some HOAs also offer solid amenities. One reason I don’t own a home with a pool is that I live in the northeast and the amount I would spend maintaining a pool is not worth the two months of swimming I would get out of the. . But I have friends with homes in HOAs that have access to a pool they don’t have to maintain themselves, and that’s a nice perk to have during the summer.

But despite the potential benefits of buying in an HOA, I just can’t see myself joining one. And here are three main reasons.

1. I want to be able to design my exterior as I see fit

Some HOAs are more restrictive than others. But I’ve certainly heard of HOAs wanting all homes in the development to look the same from the outside. It’s not something I would be excited about. If I want to paint my door bright yellow or plant exotic bushes outside my home, I feel like I have to be right. But an HOA with strict rules could take it right away.

2. I want to be able to work from home

I work from home full time. It’s an arrangement I can’t imagine giving up. But an HOA could potentially force me to.

Some HOAs prohibit workers from operating a business out of their home. Now my business writes content on a laptop – something that doesn’t disturb neighbors and generally doesn’t involve a constant stream of visitors in and out of my door. And so the chances are that an HOA that prohibits home businesses will still allow me to continue doing what I do. But at the end of the day, I can’t take that risk.

3. I am a dog lover and would like to be able to rescue any animal I choose

Some HOAs ban animals entirely, while others ban large dogs or certain breeds. As the owner of a nearly 75 pound Lab who loves giant dogs, I refuse to land myself in a situation where I can’t foster or adopt an animal because my HOA won’t let me. If I fall in love with a bright-eyed pit bull, I’ll have the option to take it home if I’m comfortable with it.

Some people really like being part of an HOA. But at the end of the day, if I pay a lot of money for a home, I don’t want to know what to do with it. And so I’d rather limit my search to properties that aren’t part of an HOA – even if that means doing more maintenance myself.

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