HOA Fees: What Does This Mean For Me As A Buyer?
Published | Written by Erin Epperson
Let's talk 'HOA Fees.' That love/hate relationship between not having to take care of the general upkeep of your property (praise), but having to commit to the payment process. These fees actually play a larger part in the home-buying process than whether or not you can afford the added expense -- although, that is a very important factor to consider. If you want to live in one of the more popular lakeside areas at the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks, you will commit to paying HOA fees. So, what do you need to know before falling in love with a home? Keep reading below for a rundown of what to expect.
A lender will have to take HOA fees into consideration in the approval process. While HOA fees greatly vary dependent on where you are looking to buy, a high fee could determine how much you are ultimately able to borrow. HOA fees differ on an abundance of factors -- one being the area in which the home is located, another being the number of amenities and even the square footage of the property itself. If you can, see how much an area's fees have increased over a period of time. You will also want to be sure you are aware of what is included in your fees maintenance-wise.
READ THE RULES (and then read them once more):
If you choose to buy into an area with HOA fees, you are also agreeing to live by the rules they have set in place. Again, these rules can differ depending on the HOA. It is recommended that you review a copy of these bylaws prior to signing that dotted line so no 'surprises' arise. Regardless if you were aware of what you signed up for or not, you could be penalized for not following HOA guidelines. Knowing what these rules are from the start and what the outcome of breaking those guidelines are, could save you a lot of headache from the start.
KNOW WHAT ADDED BENEFITS YOU'LL USE:
Do you regularly go to the gym, pay for lawn services, or take the kiddos to the waterpark in the summer? These are all things to consider when deciding if an HOA is for you. Yes, the fees are an additional cost when looking at home ownership, but many HOA's include services like these in the fee coverage. Depending on 'extras' you pay each month, an HOA could offset other monthly payments.
CONSIDER YOUR HOME'S VALUE:
Properties within an HOA are generally better maintained than others. Add in the additional benefits included in your fee and homes here tend to hold their value. HOA communities are known for regularly meeting to cover the concerns most pertinent to their residents. This also means that, as a homeowner, you are backed by a community that is better equipped to fight for road repair and new developments (good or bad), among other things.
If you live in an HOA community, what are your thoughts? If you're looking to buy, would you consider this as an option? Let us know in the comments below!
Keep reading other bits of knowledge from our team.
Have a question about this article or want to learn more?