Are you thinking about buying a home in Southwest Florida? If you are, especially if you are a first-time Florida home buyer, you might be wondering what it means when you see a house in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association.
In Florida, you’ll find many homes for sale in gated communities. Most of these gated communities (and even some non-gated communities) operate under a homeowner’s association or HOA. If you are not from Florida or just aren’t familiar with HOAs, it can be confusing.
Here, we break down the meaning of a homeowner’s association and what it all means for you as a new home buyer in Florida.
What is an HOA?
A homeowner’s association, or HOA, is an association that establishes, regulates, and enforces rules in a neighborhood or community. Rules can range from use of community amenities, noise regulations, parking, maintenance, and more. The main purpose of the HOA is to regulate the quality of living within the community, as well as keep up with general maintenance of shared areas through a communal fee.
Every community’s rules and regularities will be slightly different, but typically there is a monthly fee associated with it. Some homeowner’s associations may lump this into an annual payment. The average cost of monthly HOA fees in a high-end gated community in Southwest Florida is between $200-$500 per month.
So, when you’re searching for a home in Southwest Florida, should you be looking for a home with or without an HOA? The answer is not simply yes or no, because there are pros and cons to both, and it depends on your needs. Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons.
The Pros of Homeowner’s Associations
One of the main pros of an HOA is that they are designed to protect the wellbeing of the community and maintain a common standard.
The HOA fees will go into maintaining all common areas in the community such as landscaping, roads, sidewalk, clubhouse, gym or fitness areas, parking areas, pools, security gates, and even your home exteriors. By setting standards for noise (like quiet hours) and how those in the community can use amenities and common areas, you can assure you are living in a safe and secure neighborhood.
Homeowner’s associations may also be able to negotiate bulk contracts with cable and internet companies, thus passing the savings along to you. Most of the time, cable, internet, and sometimes water are all included in your monthly/annual HOA fees.
Cons of Homeowner’s Associations
Although HOAs help you live in a well maintained and safe neighborhood, you could also be sacrificing some of your personal freedom. As a member of a community with a HOA, you must abide by the rules, which could limit you from things you want to do. Some HOAs have strict rules on what you can do with the exterior of your home, like installing fencing or creating a custom landscape.
Ultimately, whether you decide to search for a Southwest Florida home in a gated community with an HOA or a non-gated community without an HOA, it will all depend on your preference. Some of our clients have preferred an HOA community because it allows for more stress-free living and some clients have opted for no HOA to have more freedom.
Work with A Realtor in Southwest Florida
When searching for a home, HOA fees are just one of the many questions that come up that you might need advice on.
By working with a licensed Realtor in Southwest Florida who specializes in buying homes in the Bonita Springs and Estero area, you will have an expert in all parts of the home buying process to guide you through every step of the way.
If you need help buying a home in Southwest Florida, contact Jay Montgomery to get started!