Is there an HOA in your neighborhood? If you’re not aware of what that is, “HOA” stands for “homeowners association”, and this is an organization that has a significant influence on a given neighborhood or housing community. It’s typically tasked to enforce the standards and bylaws of the homeowners in that area, and can do a lot to expedite maintenance and improvement tasks.
An HOA is typically found in closed neighborhoods. These are often groups of town homes, a large condo complex, and other situations like that. Other times, it is in a neighborhood of single-family homes that was built by a developer or someone else who wanted to keep the neighborhood a certain way, and/or held to a certain standard.
When you buy a home, you will clearly (typically anyways) see an HOA agreement. To buy a home in these neighborhoods typically requires you to agree to the HOA terms in one form or another. Many people view this as a good thing. It means you don’t have to worry about your neighbor not maintaining their home and devaluing yours. Noise ordinances and other regulations are viewed by many as a good thing.
However, some would prefer not to live under the authority of an HOA. Depending on your point of view, you can view the rules and regulations as being overbearing or restrictive. Indeed, some HOAs can cause a non-judicial foreclosure if a member doesn’t pay their dues. There are also “horror stories” from some associations overstepping their bounds as a homeowners association.
For these and other reasons, if you’re considering buying a home, it would be a good idea to do some due diligence on the HOA as well, perhaps checking out foreclosure rates in the neighborhood, or getting a feel for how existing homeowners view the HOA.