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Are Homeowners Associations Good for Historic Homeowners?

neighborhood of homes

Homeowners associations (HOA) are on the rise throughout the U.S. with many homeowners choosing to be a part of these private groups by purchasing homes in an HOA area. 

Homeowners associations are meant to protect and enhance your property. However, they can bring forth unfortunate surprises like limitations and violations that can make you reconsider your involvement.

Let’s explore some pros and cons of being in a homeowners association when you own a historic home.

What Is a Homeowners Association?

A homeowners association (HOA) is a nonprofit private group of homeowners formed by a real estate developer. This group shares the costs of common areas and manages them as a collective. HOAs look different in every neighborhood and community, so it’s essential that you become familiar with the local HOA before you purchase a new home.

There are fees associated with being part of an HOA that contribute to development within your community – like paving roads, repairing fences and roofs, and other budget issues. HOAs set rules and guidelines for their community and are typically comprised of homeowner volunteers who are elected to a board of directors.

Benefits of a Homeowners Association

There are many benefits to being a part of an HOA. HOAs enforce rules and regulations that their board of directors enforces. Of those living in an HOA condominium or homeowners association, 62% of Americans believe that association enhances and protects their property.

An HOA can help your community maintain a charming historic vibe because they have rules in place for you and your neighbors to keep up appearances. HOAs prevent negligent care of properties within their community, which maintains property values for all of the homes in the neighborhood.

HOAs provide amenities within your area that you will have access to, like swimming pools, tennis courts, or fitness centers. Shared maintenance costs can help historic homeowners substantially. Older homes often require more maintenance, and HOAs can provide exterior upkeep to help you allocate your funds for interior improvements.

If your historic home needs a roof replacement, an HOA can help you with those expenses and other issues with your home’s exterior.

Older homes typically have surrounding issues, like old trees, that HOAs can help eliminate. An HOA also includes mediation for disagreements with your neighbors and opportunities to mingle with others in your community.

Drawbacks of a Homeowners Association

Some drawbacks come with being a part of an HOA. The restrictions and regulations can seem daunting when you’re a homeowner. Why must you follow someone else’s rules for your property? A homeowners association can limit your options during maintenance. Historically mindful care is expensive, so the upkeep of a historic home can be challenging for homeowners.

Even with the help they receive from the HOA, the contributions made to the HOA could have gone directly into the homeowner’s maintenance expenses rather than a pool for the community. The dues for HOAs are typically high, so you’ll have to ensure there’s room in your budget for the fees. The average HOA fees range from $100 to $1,000 a month.

When performing renovations to an older home, you may need more room in your budget to add these fees. In New York, $410 is the average monthly due for an HOA. The board must approve extensive repairs and remodeling decisions of directors within an HOA. When you purchase a historic home, you’ll likely want to enclose a patio or add a room. But if the HOA disapproves, you can’t move forward.

If you break the rules of the HOA, you will face fees and possibly even charges filed against you. HOAs can file criminal charges that a judge will recognize since purchasing a home within an HOA seals you into an agreement to follow their rules. Some HOAs are aggressive and limit your freedom, from deciding on lawn decor during the holidays to what color you paint the exterior of your home.

Homeowners Associations: A Mixed Bag

Being part of an HOA can improve your quality of life by relinquishing some control over your personal preferences. You can reduce your responsibilities to maintain the exterior of your home and enjoy shared amenities and increased security. If you want your home to be a creative extension of your personality and want more freedom in the appearance of your historic home, an HOA may not be the right fit for you.

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