Homeowner’s Associations (HOA’s) can get a bad rap, but there are many reasons why you want and need an HOA in your community. Let’s make a case for the many benefits of an HOA that make your life better as a resident.
A Homeowner’s Association (HOA) is a governing body over a community of residents that regulates the agreed upon do’s and don’ts. Initially, the HOA is typically run by the builder or developer. However, once the subdivision has been sold to residents, ownership is taken over by members of the community. The previous owners (the developer or builder) elect a board (homeowners from the community) to become the new HOA managers.
The main purpose of the HOA is to provide a community environment for residents to enjoy. This plays out a variety of ways, but the goal is for homeowners to experience a well-maintained and consistent community.
Throughout Baton Rouge, HOA’s have grown to become a standard practice for maintaining and creating higher quality of life for residents. Many of the communities you know and love such as University Club, Santa Maria, Rouzan, and all of our Bardwell communities are managed by HOAs. These communities have seen the value and ease that HOAs have to offer and are taking advantage of the many benefits.
On a base level, the HOA will manage all community amenities such as ponds, sidewalks, street signage or entrances, community spaces such as pools, parks, and gardens. This produces a well-maintained, beautiful and luxurious community environment. But there are many pros expanding far beyond community management.
An HOA may facilitate community engagement by planning events or activities like family fun days, mixers, or farmers markets which provide built-in opportunities to get to know your neighbors and build friendships. However, the HOA also serves the role of handling disputes or regulations so that you don’t have to. “HOA’s help bring homeowners together when they don’t have to police each other”, says Scott Bardwell. If you have a neighbor that gets a wild hair to build something outside of regulation, you don’t have to confront your neighbor or spend your days wincing at a distasteful structure for years to come. You can report any behavior or activity that is outside of community standards and let your HOA handle the rest. Avoid awkward social encounters and enjoy your neighbors instead.
An HOA takes the guess work out of what will happen with neighbors or community amenities. You can expect that all homes built or remodeled will live up to the same standard, trust that shared spaces will be maintained, and rest easy knowing that the community is considering shared responsibilities such as safety, behavior management, and other decisions that affect you and those around you. Without an HOA, there is inconsistency in the condition of the homes and surrounding area in the community. Different standards and opinions can come into play. However, with an HOA you can have confidence. Consistent rules, regulation and maintenance helps promote stability. Life is simpler because the HOA handles things so you don’t have to.
Consistency produces value over time. The market price of your home will be secure in a well-maintained community. Not only can you know what to expect, but others can be confident in the community as well. A track record of healthy HOA involvement produces higher long term resale value. Additionally, regular upkeep helps with longevity. Think of your home like you think of your car. The better you take care of it over time, the longer it will run. Regular upkeep of the home and community means less risk and built-up maintenance later.
HOA’s can be different based on the community. But there are some things you should be able to evaluate prior to buying in a community.
A healthy HOA is balanced! As a buyer, look at the track record of the HOA by looking into the developer of the community (a good developer usually means a good HOA is in place), as well as an HOA president that demonstrates both servant leadership as well as business experience. Good HOA leadership is democratic and community-minded.
Additionally, look to the community itself. Does it appear well-maintained? The community regulations and final plat are public documents that you can request. Ask to see the rules to see if the HOA values align with your own. Your realtor should be able to provide you with a list of the amenities and services for that specific community, so you know what your HOA dues go toward.
Finally, evaluate the financial health of the HOA. Ask if they have money saved and a good budget. This is to protect you from future costs as a resident in the community and build trust in the self-governance of the HOA and community. Healthy HOA’s are transparent about where money is going and use dues wisely.
We hope this has helped demonstrate the benefits and value that an HOA can add to you as a homeowner. Bardwell works diligently to find the right balance for healthy and productive homeowners associations in our communities. For questions about community regulations or HOA structures, feel free to contact us. We hope your Homeowner’s Associations make life more enriched and enjoyable in your community!