What You Need To Know About HOA Fees

Purchasing a property in a planned development, gated community or a place with leased land can seem confusing due to regulations. The biggest difference in buying one of these properties instead of a single family home comes with one main difference: additional fees. HOA stands for Home Owner’s Association, which is what you’re obligated to join when you purchase a home within a community. You’ll pay the association monthly or annual fees for the upkeep of community centers and buildings within the complex. Before you decide to buy, it’s a good idea to know how these fees work and how to get the most for your money when purchasing a home with HOA fees.

HOA Fees 101

HOA fees range from about $200-$400 a month. If you’re looking to move into a more upscale community or are looking for a lot of amenities, expect to pay more for your fee. The association may charge an extra assessment if additional funds are needed for projects such as a new roof or a new pool.

Equal Responsibility

All residents in condos or town homes are equally responsible for the common maintenance such as landscaping, garages, fitness rooms, pools, clubhouses and sidewalks. HOA fees are said to help homeowners maintain a certain quality of life within their community and keep the properties safe and pleasant for all residents. 

The Rules

Homeowner’s Associations have certain rules that all residents must follow. These can include what color your house can be, what type of landscaping you can do, if you can install satellite TV, or where you are able to park your car. These rules are pretty similar to the ones that you would need to follow if you were living in an apartment building. If you’d like to do anything outside of the rules of the HOA, you’ll need to file what’s called a variance with the association in order to get approval. All in all, it’s important to obey the rules when you’re living in a property governed by an HOA, otherwise, hefty consequences can result. 

Tips For Successful Living In A Community Setting


  • Know the rules
  • Make sure that the home you want to buy is in compliance with current HOA standards
  • Be sure your temperament matches with community living

Questions To Ask About HOA Fees

  • How are fee increases set?
  • How often do fee increases occur?
  • What is covered under the HOA fee?
  • What conflicts have occurred in the association and how were they resolved?
  • What kind of insurance is on the building?

Home Owner’s Association Fees are a good thing because they prevent major issues like horrible paint colors and parking issues from ruining a community. However, when purchasing a home in a community setting, you need to be smart about what the fees cover and if living in that community has your best interests in mind.   

Pros of Owning a Condo

Condos are a popular style of home for first-time homebuyers and anyone who is interested in less work to do around the home. Condos are typically multi-unit complexes that share one or more walls with the other units. Let’s take a look at the pros of owning a condo.

Affordable: Condos are an affordable alternative to a single-family home in a desirable location that is known for it’s high priced homes. This may be because you are looking in a city or within close proximity to a large city or even by the water. You are likely able to find a condo with decent square footage at a price point that you can afford whereas a single-family home with that same square footage would be much more expensive.

Easy to Maintain: Condos come with homeowner association fees or HOA fees. These fees are monthly and cover things like utilities, reserve and contingency funds, amenities, maintenance and repairs, which includes lawn care, snow removal, trash removal, exterior upkeep, etc. This is often why young homeowners find condos so appealing, as they do not need to worry about landscaping, snow removal and exterior upkeep. There is also no need to worry about purchasing those items with large price tags such as lawnmowers and snow blowers as that is taken care of for you.

Location: Another reason why condos are so popular amongst young homebuyers is because they are able to purchase their own home that is in a city or very close to it. Young homebuyers are typically working in a city and therefore would like to be close to work, nightlife, and shopping. Condos give these young people the ability to purchase a home in a city rather than having to rent.

There are many pros to purchasing and owning a condo, but it’s important to also weigh the cons. There are certain limitations that come with owning a condo that do not exist when purchasing a single-family home. Purchasing a home, regardless of its type, is a large investment and commitment. It’s important that you fully research the market and find exactly what you’re looking for in your price range and then begin your house hunt.