Throughout Southwest Louisiana, as well as across the country, residents within neighborhoods form homeowner’s associations, or HOA’s. These are usually found in planned neighborhoods; they exist to create and enforce standards within the neighborhood. Every HOA is different; some are quite restrictive and others have fairly loose requirements.
The HOA is made up of neighborhood residents who volunteer to serve on the board of directors. These individuals enforce the policies laid out in the HOA by-laws.
In all cases, living within an HOA means every resident pays a fee. This money is generally used for communal projects such as grounds upkeep, or for residential services such as maintenance of a community pool or tennis courts. The fees vary widely, depending on how many services are provided.
Living within an HOA has advantages and disadvantages. If you’re considering moving into a neighborhood with an HOA, you’ll want to get familiar with the requirements and fees before making your decision about moving there. Your realtor can help gather information about the HOA so you can make an informed decision.
Some of the benefits of an HOA include landscaped common areas, such as the entrance to the neighborhood, a neighborhood park, holiday decorations for the neighborhood, or perhaps BBQ block parties. Also, they often handle disputes between neighbors such as excess noise at night, or too many cars parked along the street.
In many cases, HOA’s can determine the style or paint color of your home. This can be good in that it controls the overall look of the neighborhood and ensures all homes are within similar standards of style and size, but if you don’t care for that style or if you would like a smaller home than allowed, for example, you probably aren’t a good fit for that HOA.
At times, if a neighborhood resident falls behind on payment of the HOA fee, a lien can be put on their home.
HOA’s offer benefits but they might be too restrictive for individuals who like freedom to do what they want with their own home. You’ll want to consider if the HOA’s amenities and benefits make sense for you and your family.