Oh, the joys of homeowners associations. If you put 10 homeowners in a room, you’d probably get 12 opinions on the subject. HOA fees and restrictions , but some salient points to remember are:


If you live there, you’re in. The one condition of moving to an HOA-controlled neighborhood is that you join the HOA when you purchase your home. Yes, that means additional monthly costs, but it also means that your neighbors (and you) are expected to abide by certain rules, usually called the declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs). So remember …


HOAs’ power exist to protect property values. Because they have the authority to enforce the CC&Rs with fines and even liens on properties, HOAs virtually always serve to maintain and increase the property values of the homes within them. That authority can be a huge advantage to everyone involved, as long as the powers that be don’t act unilaterally or use their power to deepen petty disputes.


You have a say. Don’t like the rules or the fees imposed by your HOA? Join the board of directors (or governors), or at least get to know the people who already have. Simply showing up to meetings can do wonders for your frustration level, your sense of connection to your community, and heck, even your likability. Remember, that list of rules isn’t written in stone–it was written and is being enforce by your neighbors. Use that to your advantage, even before problems arise.


Community pride. HOAs may seem like a burden to some people (and some are), but they represent a platform for neighbors to join together for a common cause–making their community a better and better place to live.