Why Join An HOA In The First Place?
Some might be wondering what’s in it for them in joining a homeowners association. Why would they want to have to follow the guidelines laid down by the homeowners association management? In actuality, belonging to a homeowners association can be very helpful in handling household tasks/items like summer bug control or landscape installation. Owning a home can be very expensive and so there is no way to completely avoid spending money in keeping the home looking and feeling great, but some find that the convenience of being helped by professional homeowners association management is well worth the HOA fees that come with living in such a community.
Bugs… Gross! What Solutions Do HOAs Offer?
Spring, for many states and locations, means warmer weather and fun outside–especially when summer finally rolls around to give cold-weather climate residents a break from the extreme cold and snowy conditions. Meanwhile, summer also means bugs. Mosquitos buzzing around, wasps and bees patrolling with their stingers armed and ready… the mayhem brought on by bugs is enough to push homeowners to purchase measures for summer bug control. Belonging to an HOA, this is often an expense associated with the fees that are paid. Instead of having to run to the store or hire professional help to come out, a homeowners association management team will do the heavy lifting many times to bring in the professionals to bring down the number of bugs. That means fewer stings, less buzzing, and more worry-free fun oftentimes.
Spraying for insects can involve using dangerous chemicals. Members that belong to an HOA can avoid the task of handling these chemicals that kill flies, mosquitoes, and other bugs.
The exterior of the property is almost always handled by the HOA. This means the exterior of the house, driveways, fences, and even landscaping. Not having a green thumb does not mean not being able to enjoy beautiful trees and shrubs outside one’s residence. An HOA will oftentimes handle these measures to keep the space looking nice and saving its residents a lot of work.
The HOA will decide on the look and uniformity of the landscape installation and will work to keep its integrity. Some HOA may have very restrictive covenants about the landscaping looks, so not that much room for creativity by the residents. However, this ensures that the subdivision will have a nice look and it takes hours off on the weekends from mowing lawns by the residents.
According to Rocket Mortgage’s online article about HOAs, an HOA will often handle the trash/sewer services of the people who belong to it. Additionally, lawn care and snow removal are also handled by an HOA as part of the fees paid for by each member. The aforementioned article also goes into detail about the price a person can expect to pay for these services. Typically, and this depends on location, a homeowner belonging to an HOA can expect to pay in the ballpark of 200 to 300 dollars per month. While this might seem like a lot of money, the price of these services outside of HOA fees might be closer than previously thought.
Costs of Owning a Home: Averages
Buying a home does not only involve paying the monthly mortgage. This important investment also involves lawn care, exterior maintenance, interior maintenance, repairs, handling utility bills, and much more. The 200 to 300 dollar fee that HOA members may have to pay to belong to their HOA might come close once all these other expenses are added up. One cannot forget either that time is worth money, and saving time on not having to personally handle each of these issues might be well worth it.
Upnest’s article about the annual cost of homeownership is a helpful tool in understanding these costs in depth. Homeowners need to consider the following items when adding up the cost of living in a non-HOA dwelling:
- Annual property taxes
- Hazard insurances
- Heating and electricity
- Exterior paint
- Pressure washing roofs
- Internet service
- Property management fees
- Private mortgage insurance
- Replacing appliances
In addition to this list of expenses, Upnest estimates that homeowners need to calculate a cost of 1 percent to 4 percent of the total cost of their home into handling the maintenance costs every year. And so, purchasing a home that costs (for example) $200,000–the owner can expect to way anywhere between $2,000 or even up to $8,000 USD. By the estimations laid out in this blog already about HOA fees–these would add up to around $3,000 on average to handle most of these services but without the time expended to handle each service.
Proactive = Saving Money
Many of the maintenance services provided by homeowners association management are proactive. This means fewer future headaches caused by the build-up of problems with a roof, or a fence, or a sidewalk/driveway. The list could go on and on about the projects that might go otherwise unnoticed over time. Meanwhile, Upnest’s article also suggests that being proactive is one of the best ways to save on maintenance over time–whether belonging to an HOA or not.
As already mentioned, the cost of knowing maintenance costs can be a mystery. One month, it could be 4% of the value of the house, and another it could be as little as .5%. For most maintenance services that a home requires, an HOA can be a more predictable option for budgeting purposes and knowing exactly how much can be expected each month. Paying a little at a time is usually good practice with regards to many costs; meanwhile, chipping away at a pending roof repair or cracked sidewalk instead of dolling out $10,000 can be a relief in the long run.
Meanwhile, Rocket Mortgage–in their article about HOAs–warn their readers that HOA fees can indeed change over time. So even though the month-to-month pricing can be easy to plan for in the budget, circumstances can change. Therefore, when it comes to maintenance on the home or condo, it is vital to stay up to date with the homeowners association management team, attend meetings, and voice concerns/opinions on how and how much money is spent on and on what.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to HOA and maintenance fees–it depends on the preferences of each homeowner!