Let me take a few minutes to talk about Home Owners Associations (HOAs).
A homeowners association is more than just a quarterly payment to the cloud. The main reason HOAs exist is to enrich property values. Have you ever driven through a neighborhood that makes you wish you were packing? Those neighborhoods DON'T have and HOA in place. HOAs are started as non-profit corporations. Then a Board of Directors is created. When you buy a home that is in a neighborhood with HOA fees, you become a member of the homeowners association. Unfortunately, this kind of membership doesn't get you a pretty little card; it does, however, get you a pretty yard by way of threats. When the neighborhood grows, the homeowners can elect the members who they feel are most qualified in overseeing the association to serve on their Board of Directors. When a certain percentage of homes in that neighborhood are sold, the developer turns over full control of the association to the board of directors.
Every homeowner's association has to follow the state's property laws, but they also have their own governing rules/laws. These rules/regulations/bylaws/ARC's are intended to define the principles of the community for the sole purpose of shielding property values. So while we want to complain, honestly, the HOA is making your house with more in the end. When you are looking to buy a home, and you pull onto a street of a scheduled showing, what do you do? You look at your potential neighbors. Are you going to pick a neighborhood that makes you feel safe? Are you going to pick a neighborhood that allows cars, sheds, carports, and overgrown grass to extend all over the front of YOUR home? Do you want your kids to be playing in your front yard and then disappear into the neighbor's four-foot tall dandelions chasing after a ball? Neighborhoods matter. Presentation matters. Safety matters. This doesn't mean you are a Stepford wife; this means you are human, and you take pride in where you live.
The restrictive regulations are different from neighborhood to neighborhood. Most of the rules dictate architectural enjoyments like pools, fences, sheds, and other exterior home additions. It also extends to lawns. It forces those that maybe don't care (or don't have the time) to mow the grass, to make sure the exterior of their home is acceptable and attractive. We have all lived in a place that had that one neighbor that…well…made the entire street look like a tornado demolished it. Overgrown grass? Toys all over the lawn, sidewalk, street…often extending to neighbor's yards? Seven cars when they only have a one car garage? Bags of trash that the trash man refused to pick up because he couldn't decipher what was waste and what wasn't? You know when the trash man won't touch it, it is terrible. Those guys work hard and don't have time for houses that they have to pause in front of trying to figure out if they need to call in a second truck. No, no, no, my friend.
The most significant advantage of a homeowners association is the shared common areas within the community. Many HOAs have pools, clubhouses, tennis courts, basketball courts, and all kinds of other fantastic amenities that you can ship the kids off to for the afternoon. The great thing, if you live in the community, these amenities are for you to use. This is where you get something back!
Make sure you always keep up with your HOA dues, because if you don't pay them on time, they haul you off to the big house. Joke. They do typically charge a late fee to keep thing fair and keep the community amenities on track. You don't have to be part of a homeowners association. If you don't want to pay someone monthly to keep your community beautiful, that is 100% your choice. I am also available to show houses in areas that will require my holster to be in place — your call. I am here for you either way because I sell homes in DFW and North Texas. Big houses, small houses, tall grass, short grass, Fort Worth, Frisco…you name it, I am there. We will find you what works best for you…because I want to be the last agent you call with a relationship that goes well past closing.
Talk to you soon!
Your Top North Texas Real Estate Agent - Brenda Debus