Homeowners seem to have a love/hate relationship with their homeowners’ association. There are key benefits to having an HOA making homeownership an easier endeavor. At the same time, some disadvantages have homeowners involved with HOA’s saying, “never again.” Here are some pros and cons of HOAs in Los Angeles.
Pro: They Do the Yard Work
One of the biggest reasons people move into condos is because there is less for them to do and maintain. Not everyone has a green thumb or even wants to spend hours of their weekend mowing and trimming everything under the sun. This is a huge advantage of having a homeowners association who takes care of the master plan. If the property is a building or has attached walls, everything from roofs to plumbing outside of each unit is the responsibility of the HOA.
Homeowners are responsible for what is considered “walls in” meaning everything from the moment you walk in the door which can considerably limit personal insurance responsibilities and liabilities. There are some HOA properties that are planned communities where homeowners are still responsible for everything from their property line including the yard, but the HOA cares for the community and common areas like pools, pathways and recreation centers.
Con: Can Be Pricey
People think buying a condo is more affordable. This isn’t always the case once you factor in the HOA monthly fee. In some cases, the amount paid is the equivalent to adding another $100,000 to your mortgage. HOA fees never – okay, to be fair, almost never – go down and don’t build equity. So if you are paying $1,200 in a monthly condo mortgage in Los Angeles in a new and posh building with a ton of amenities, you could be paying $350 per month more in an HOA fee. Run the numbers, consider what you get and determine if a $1,550 monthly responsibility is worth the property for you.
Pro: Fees Automatically Put Toward Improvements
HOA fees go into a community bank account that is managed by the HOA. It is the fiduciary responsibility for the HOA to use those funds to pay gardeners, insurance, and other regular payments. It is also required to appropriate funds towards big-ticket items that aren’t regular such as re-roofing or plumbing overhauls.
You may not want to become involved in the HOA board, but attending a few minutes or at least reviewing the annual budget and meeting minutes will help you know whether your money is being managed properly. After all, if they don’t have money for a new roof and your unit is the one that gets the leak, you’ll be fighting with a board that doesn’t have the money to pay you.
Con: CCRs Can Stink
The CCRs are the rules and regulations of the HOA. This might mean you can’t have a barbeque on your patio. The CCRs might tell you when Christmas decorations can be put up and when they need to be taken down. There may be noise restrictions, pet limitations and other nuance rules that just don’t float your boat. Before you buy into a condo, read the entire CCRs so you aren’t left upset because the HOA police fined you for having a flag on your porch.
These rules and regulations are designed to keep order among units. Not only is this to help keep a cohesive functioning community but is intended to help protect the property and property values. But as with any set of rules being governed by volunteers, it can seem very political to deal with those who are constantly getting on everyone else’s case.