(Closed) Are HOA fees worth it? Or just a pain in the butt?

posted 5 years ago in Home
Post # 16
602 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

We have an HOA for our single family home.  It’s really hard to find homes without one in this area.  I don’t mind it as there aren’t any crazy rules other than you need approval for renovations.  Like we added in an iron fence to our walkway and had to get approval, which wasn’t a big deal.

One of the benefits to me is that it forces neighbors to keep their homes neat, which helps our home’s value.  Otherwise neighbors could do whatever they want – let their weeds grow 3 feet tall, paint their home hot pink (all things I’ve seen in other neighborhoods). 

Post # 17
78 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

We live in a condo that we own and pay HOA fees. It is ABSOLUTELY NOT WORTH IT. Our experience has been nothing but bad. Our HOA has serious problems, going bankrupt, embezzlement, etc. At one point when they discovered their president was embezzling, they came right out and said to make up the difference they were going to raise fees but no longer perform lawn care, snow removal and building maintenance. They were sued by many home owners. For us personally, we’re having a huge flooding problem when it rains and it’s ruining the foundation of our building and theyre doing nothing. There have been many days recently where we had to put sandbags on our patio to keep the water from coming in our living room, but still they have to get a bid from a contractor, then get approval at a board meeting…. Meanwhile we’re about to have our home flooded.


Also, second to what other people say about the rules. We have more rules than when I lived in an apartment. Our bylaws seriously say we aren’t allowed to have lighter fluid or charcoal anywhere on our property. And we aren’t allowed to keep bikes on our patio. 


Run!!! Don’t do it!!!

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by  Caturner15.
  • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by  Caturner15.
Post # 18
955 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

My former HOA cost me the sale of my house in 2010.  They decided (without member vote) that they just aren’t going to accept FHA financing anymore.  The first offer on our house (FHA) was $140k.  Since the ogres on the board couldn’t be reasoned with (I even found someone to approve the association for $750, and offered to pay that fee myself) we were forced to accept a conventional financing offer of $130k.


Yep– they cost us $10,000 once it was all said and done.  


Plus- I have to remind you that even though your fees are going toward the external maintenance/insurance of your property, contractors overcharge (in my opinion) their fees for large townhouse/condominium associations.  


Trust me (this I know) they are HARD to sell.  We lived in a townhouse for 10 years, after the market crashed (and with all the BS the HOA put us through, we ended up owing money on that place.)



Post # 19
309 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I’m super jealous of $130/month! I paid 200 at my old house.

When I bought the house, it was worth it because I was single and had no dad, bf, etc to help me with outside stuff. I wasn’t able to snow plow/mow lawns, etc and keep the inside nice.

That being said they were a huge pain. So many rules for no other reason than to have rules. I had to get my satellite dish moved THREE times before they liked where it was. I got written up for putting my holiday decorations up too early one year (I kept that letter on the fridge lol) I was relieved to get out but at the time having an HOA was helpful to me. 

Post # 20
1740 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

I’m very anti-HOA.  I lived in an older townhouse community and the rules (and their enforcement) were just ridiculous.   You never knew when the “HOA lady” was going to be knocking complaining that you painted your front door a slightly wrong color, or the paint on your trim was just a little too faded.  And that you couldn’t have any outdoor decorations, flags or basketball hoops, you couldn’t have too many friends over at once because there were parking restrictions, my daughter couldn’t strore her bicycle anywhere that it could be seen when it wasn’t in use, etc.  For me (like many other above), the problem wasn’t the fees, it was the rules.  And we had no clubhouse or no pool, and we lived in an area where it rarely snowed.  So the services it offered were quite limited.

I promised myself that I would never live in an house with an HOA ever again.  So far so good.

Post # 21
349 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2016 - White Oak Plantation

I live in a townhouse right now and pay HOA fees. I think paying them for a condo/townhouse is better than if you were paying them for a detached house in a HOA neighborhood.

You don’t have to worry about lawn care and spraying for pests. Our HOA also covers external damage to the unit. Since we live in the south where hurricanes happen, it’s nice to not have to worry about that.

When fiance and I move in together after we’re married, we will be buying a condo and paying HOA fees.

I would talk to some people who live in the neighborhood you’re looking at. The HOA board members are important. Our board members are awesome so we havent had any trouble except getting new pool furniture.

Post # 22
7873 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

I would never buy a house that had an HOA ever again. I don’t want to ask permission to put a bird bath in my yard. Or be told what type of fence I could put up. These were not MY issues- but I saw them come up at board meetings. The people who ran it were busy bodies with nothing better to do. Waste of money.

Post # 23
2257 posts
Buzzing bee

weatherbug:  does that cover YOUR lawn care, or lawn care of common areas, and the curbs?

honestly, my Fiance mows the lawn and I don’t care to swim in a pool I don’t treat and test myself… Otherwise its like human soup.

Snow removal can be nice, but I like an excuse to not be able to go to work. “Snow in the streets, oh no, can’t go to work!”

I think unless it pays for a lot more than snow/lawn care/pool, $130 is more cheddar than I would like to hand out.

Post # 24
2847 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I live in a single family residence and we pay roughly $800 a year in HOA fees.  We get a pool, clubhouse, tennis, basketball, and sand volleyball courts, and general upkeep of all common areas for that.  I think it is worth it.  It keeps our neighborhood much prettier than some of the others in town and keeps our proerty values up.

Post # 25
713 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Our HOA is $750 every 3 months. It covers the cost of our man-gated neighborhood, clubhouse access (with pool and lots of tennis courts!!, we’re in Florida), and roaming night time security, which I think is unnecessary as we don’t have much crime in our area. I do appreciate the man-gated aspect as we don’t have solicitors ever come to our door. They recently upgraded the entire entrance to the community, and it’s quite nice. 

We just voted in an entire new HOA, which wasn’t easy. They tend to be older homeowners who aren’t into updating things because of the potential increase in monthly dues, but we brought in a much younger group with lots of young kids and theyre working on a new playground and daycare services at our club– so I see the benefit. 

Yes, we have to only paint our house certain colors, and get approval for outside changes, but the benefit is that our neighborhood looks clean and beautiful as all the neighbors upkeep their houses. So far, we havent had any angry letters from them! 

Post # 26
441 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

To me, out wasn’t worth it. When I bought my condo six years ago the previous owners paid $125/mo. When I bought it they upped the price, a few years later I got another increase and when I sold it, the new owner was paying $210/mo! That was for water, grass cutting, snow removal and insurance on the outside of the building. Not worth it to me. I pay about $110 every three months for water and do my own grass and snow. However, if I paid someone it would be way cheaper than what the HOA charged.  on top of that there’s rules to abide by.

Post # 27
1909 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

It depends on what the HOA fees include. For example, we passed on a townhome that had HOA fees that were $210 a month because they had no amenities! I’m like you seriously are charging that money for just lawn maintenance and maintenance of common areas?!!! I don’t think it even included any utilities. But plenty of people were willing to pay it because they only had two left, and those sold soon after we looked at them. We would have purchased the townhome if the HOA fees weren’t unreasonable to us because my husband LOVED it, and he was a thorn in my side during the home buying process because he is super picky. The actual townhome was gorgeous, new construction, and almost the same price and square footage of the single family home we ended up buying, but we just couldn’t rationalize the HOA fees. I have a friend whose HOA for her townhouse is about half that and it includes water and sewage, which to me is worth it. Our water and sewage run between 40 and 60 dollars a month, so having that covered along with lawn maintenance is reasonable for $110 a month. We also looked at a single family home (new construction) and the HOA fees were $215 a month and again no amenities. It seemed like most new construction had the most inflated HOA fees. So, we ended up getting a 10 year old single family home with HOA fees that are much less and it’s a gated community with amenities. We pay our lawn guy $70 a month, so even that on top of our HOA fees doesn’t equate to $210 a month and we have pools, tennis courts, a clubhouse, playground, etc… compared to the townhome and new single family home that had NONE of those things. Our HOA is also on it and act very quickly on community concerns, so it’s great! And even with our lower HOA fees, our budget is great and we’re able to get things updated and tended to quickly , which is likely due to the fact that the community is 10 years old. The fees probably were more when the homes were first built, that’s another good thing about buying in a more established subdivision. I don’t mind the rules because we don’t do any of the rule breaking things anyway.

Post # 28
2942 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

My friends bought a house in a gated community with HOA fees. They don’t regret it but I roll my eyes a bit. Their community saw a series of asults caused by someone’s ex-boyfriend who was allowed in the community by that person and was found to be hiding in the house on the otherside of the wall from my friends. I have visited several times and just tell the guard my name and who I’m visiting and he doesn’t even bother looking it up, so it’s no surprise. There is less crime in my non-gated community.

That said, I have another friend who is not physically able to take care of yard work on his own and his HOA is a life saver for him on that front, espeically living in Iowa with a ton of snow.

Post # 29
2257 posts
Buzzing bee

eeniebeans:  Story time!!!

So my dad is a contractor, and a very busy one. He was remodeling a bathroom in the side of the house he’s never in. It’s a split level and very oddly laid out.

The guys doing his bathroom left the toilet on the front porch, to be moved back in once the tile was done. My dad got busy and forgot all about it there because we NEVER see the front of the house because the “front” door isn’t so front.

It’s a wooded area, and not even the neighbors can see the front door from their houses, unless they walk down the street.

My dad got a GROUP EMAIL from the HOA president, with a snapshot of the toilet, saying the resident of the home needed to remove the toilet. A recipient replied all saying something like “disgraceful!” or something equally WASPy.

My dad didn’t appreciate the public email/shaming, and would have promptly and happily removed it had the HOA president approached him individually.

So my dad replied all back “if anyone else says anything else, I’m gonna put 20 more on my lawn and plant tulips in them.”

Yes, kind of gross, but almost literally no one could have seen it. The HOA president was being nosy and trolling the neighborhood for infractions. They also got onto my dad for a dead patch of grass and made him resod it. The neighbor across the street was trying to sell their home and their panties were in a wad over a 1’x6′ patch of dead grass. Across the street.

HOAs suck.

Post # 30
1246 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I. would. NEVER. buy a house that has an HOA. First of all, I hate being told what to do, lol, and have heard too many friends complain about not being able to plant gardens, or line-dry laundry in the backyard, or install a fence, or paint their front door. (Remember the Korean War vet who got in trouble with his HOA for flying POW/MIA flags??) I would not react well to being told what I can and can’t do on my own property, and being charged a fee for the privilege. Not to mention that we actually like yardwork, so it’s not worthwhile to us to pay someone else to cut the grass. 

The biggest reason I hate HOA’s is that they are exclusionary, both in historical origin and in current practice. Early HOA’s originated as a way to keep specific racial groups out of certain neighborhoods. Even today, post-Fair Housing Act, many HOA’s set up restrictive covenants to keep certain “types” of tenants out. (See the example above about the HOA that would not accept FHA insured loans.) I know a same-sex couple who was run out of their neighborhood by a bunch of bigoted busybodies who stalked them looking for a violation and finally found the pettiest possible example known to man. 

I know it probably isn’t fair of me to tar every HOA with the same brush, but since I feel like that’s the entire point of an HOA anyway (to make everything homogeneous), I don’t lose any sleep over it. I wouldn’t touch an HOA house with a 39-and-a-half foot pole.

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