Put out a call for complaints about homeowner’s associations, and responses will run the gamut. People are always willing to vent about what they feel are unjust rules imposed by their HOA.  Things like what color to paint a door, where to place their garbage, where to park, housing additions, etc.  Hearing complaints can be scary if you are unfamiliar with, or have never interacted, with HOAs,

News coverage adds another layer of intimidation because major problems are what make headlines. Just last year, we saw a major battle erupt between Homes of Our Troops and an HOA in Evans, Georgia.  When the home for a disabled vet didn’t meet the neighborhood’s guidelines, the HOA stuck to their building guidelines through all the onslaught and media coverage.  Eventually, the owners chose to locate the home elsewhere.

Complaints like this create doubt and frighten people. But, HOAs aren’t the bad guys. They are simply enforcing rules that the homeowners voted and agreed on—a democracy within the condo or subdivision association.  HOAs are elected nonprofit groups that maintain common areas and enforce association rules, with a bottom-line goal to protect every owner’s property value.

A quick glimpse of the neighborhood tells you whether the HOA board is doing its job. Messy yards, dilapidated houses and buildings are often evident when an HOA is lax or non-existent. When an HOA is engaged in overseeing the community, everyone benefits.

Society and culture have taught many of us to live in a “me” world instead of a “we” world.  When you haven’t resided within an association, you may feel that some of the rules aren’t needed. Why not park on the street in front of your house?  However, it’s easy to see why when you can’t back out of your driveway because of cars parked on the street.

A “me” world comes with a high cost when you live in close proximity to others. Costs that are too high when you consider declining property values, lawsuits, and other disturbances. When you live in close proximity to others, it’s the “we” world that works best.  Enforcing rules for every homeowner brings stability and peace

If you like to march to the beat of your own drum and don’t agree with the covenants that govern a neighborhood, don’t buy property there.  On the other hand, if you like consistency and upkeep throughout a neighborhood, then an HOA could be right for you. Take some time to read the governing covenants and make sure you understand them before you sign on the dotted line to buy your new home.

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Wise Property Solutions serves condominium and homeowners associations by addressing their financial, association and facilities management needs.  The only certified and licensed community association management firm serving the Mountain South (Virginia, North & South Carolina, Tennessee) with offices in the Tri-Cities and Knoxville.

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