Over the course of owning homes, buying and selling homes, owning rental properties and being involved in the development process, one constant topic that comes up in conversation is that of the stringent rules (or lack thereof) of an HOA. Just yesterday it was a casual topic of discussion in a closing I was a part of. The general complaint is often made that the HOA is too strict. Although I can understand this (and have even caught myself saying this), the fact is that the HOA is partly responsible for protecting your investment. Here are a scenarios and examples of how an HOA that heavy polices your property as well as that of your neighbors can be a real asset to you as a homeowner or an investment property owner.
- Sure, you may have only left your trash can out on the street overnight for one extra night and gotten a nasty letter/warning from your HOA, but understand that their goal is to discourage those people who never even bring their trash can in. They write these warnings based on what they say on a given day. IF you only had it out there for an extra day or night, then you have nothing to worry about. Your neighbor who constantly leaves his by the road or in front of the house overflowing with trash will be forced to put it away or pay the price.
- Although your boat may be tasteful and well kempt, by requiring you to keep your boat in the garage or in the back of your lot, this keeps the “once every six months” river rat from letting grass grow under his boat or from having his old rusty, broken down trailer littering his driveway. Take one for the team and don’t argue with the rule for the greater good.
- As an investor you want potential tenants to see that the neighborhood is a happy place to live and despite the slovenly grumpy man that lives two doors down, by forcing you to pressure wash your property (and consequently forcing your neighbor to do the same) your street looks like it is full of life.
- The HOA offers a time for you to speak up. If you don’t attend the annual meeting (or semi-annual or even monthly in some neighborhoods) you really don’t have cause to complain. Show up and be a part of the solution to keeping the property value of the entire neighborhood on a constant upswing. If you don’t think your HOA dollars are going to good use, then lobby your concerns. The HOA is an organization that is designed to represent the interest of everyone in the neighborhood, but they won’t know what you want if you don’t show up.
I realize that you as you read this you are realizing there is no great revelation here. Just consider it a selling point for your neighborhood or for a prospective property due to the HOA’s ability to help keep your neighbors (and you) in check.