If you're looking into purchasing a home in Dallas, then one of the big questions you'll have to ask yourself is whether or not to buy in a neighborhood with a homeowners association. Our real estate agents are familiar with HOAs and have put together this handy guide on choosing a Dallas neighborhood with one—and the pros and cons that go along with it.
By design, pretty much any HOA worth its mettle focuses on making life in a neighborhood easier, simpler, and more uniform for its homeowners. In most situations, the pros of joining an HOA or buying in an HOA-run neighborhood usually far outweigh the cons. Here's why you want to join an HOA:
- Less Maintenance
Most HOAs will maintain landscaping around your home, which means you don't have to worry about doing it yourself. In addition to basic yard work, you can expect your HOA to handle most of the aesthetics for your home.
- Utilities May Be Included
Depending on the HOA, some, or maybe all, of your utilities may be included as part of your HOA membership dues. If you prefer to live with all of your expenses covered in one payment each month, then this is certainly the way to go! Make sure you hammer out the details with the HOA on exactly what they cover before you sign any contract.
- HOAs Have Rules
To some, rules are a bad thing, but to many homeowners, they're a godsend. HOAs explicitly outline the rules and regulations for the neighborhood, which means there are no gray areas for noisy neighbors, barking dogs, or any other common homeowner issues. Additionally, the HOA will be the ones to issue any "citations" for breaking the rules, which means you won't have to!
While HOAs have many positives, there can be some negatives. Some things you should be aware of before committing to a neighborhood with an HOA:
- They Can Be Expensive
For everything you get in return, HOAs can be notoriously expensive and can quickly put an unsuspecting buyer out of their housing budget in no time. For all of the nice amenities you desire such as landscaping, maintenance, and the like, you may also be on the hook for amenities you don't care about, such as community pool access or golf course.
- Personalization is Out
If your HOA is big on maintaining a consistent aesthetic from home to home, then you may very well have to adhere to those standards. What this means is that you likely won't have much leniency for personal touches to the exterior or landscaping of your home. If you're the type that wants to "make a house a home," then you may want to be very careful what HOA you choose.
- Management is Crucial
There's always the chance that your HOA isn't run by homeowners and is actually managed by an outside company. In either case, management could be less-than-stellar, meaning all of your hard-earned money that goes toward HOA dues and membership may not live up to your expectations. This can cause problems when needs and expectations aren't met, so do your homework ahead of time.