The days are getting just a bit warmer, the store shelves are full of teddy bears and chalky, candy hearts and the feeling of love wafts through the air, just as it does every year leading up to February 14th.  It is a time of the year so sweet, you can almost feel your teeth rotting in anticipation.  Perhaps, this Valentine’s Day,  it is time to take a look at one of the relationships in your life that you may have been neglecting.  It is easy to overlook, but it is one relationship that needs a little rekindling every so often.  Regardless of whether your relationship is new and exciting, or has been going strong for years.  Whether it has been rocky, filled with dramatic flair and passion, or faithful and steadfast, unwavering in its consistency, it’s time to bust out the heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, turn up the romantic ballads, and scoop up the last of the bargain-bin roses, because there are so many reasons to fall in love with your HOA.

Value

Buying a home is a major investment, for many, it will be the biggest that they will make.  This being the case, it goes without saying that all those embarking upon this venture are motivated to ensure their investment, not just maintains, but grows in value.  With this goal in mind, it makes sense to seek out a community with a homeowner’s association.  The driving force behind any HOA is to maintain the community and to preserve and increase the value of the homes within it.  HOAs seek to create and sustain a desirable neighborhood.  They set forth aesthetic and maintenance requirements and mandate that all members adhere to these guidelines.  While this has the potential to cause turmoil, it also keeps the value of a home from falling due to a neighboring house left to disrepair or questionable paint and design choices.

Since there is an understanding that these communities will enforce these rules, homeowners and prospective homeowners alike have a sense of security that their investments will be protected.  One study, conducted by George Mason University, found that homes within communities governed by an HOA sold for 5% to 6% more than those that are not.  

Amenities

There are many additional benefits to living within a community governed by an HOA.  These communities often offer amenities that can be difficult to come by in other neighborhoods.  Facilities like club houses, fitness centers, pools, even parks and green spaces, not only add to the monetary value of a neighborhood, they do something very special for the individuals that live there.  These amenities provide community members the opportunity to enrich their everyday lives, while also encouraging connection between all of the members that reside there, adding emotional value as well.

Maintaining Common Spaces

While it is true that you pay a premium for the opportunity to live within one of these communities, that does not mean the relationship is entirely one-sided.  That money still serves you, even after it has left your hot little hand.  The dues paid by homeowners go toward maintaining the safety and aesthetic of the neighborhood.  This helps in keeping those home values up, but additionally, they can take care of things that many residents would rather not take care of themselves.  These dues pay for the upkeep of common areas, like the maintenance and cleaning of indoor facilities and pools, as well as landscaping, including mowing of grass and care of trees and other greenery.  Some associations even provide garbage/recycling collection and snow removal.  Having these tasks taken care of without having to lift a finger (other than to write a check) is the kind of convenience that many homeowners are seeking when looking for an ideal neighborhood.  

Handling Difficult Issues

No one likes an awkward conversation.  Having to speak with your eccentric neighbor about his newest piece of risque, abstract art painted on the front of his home, or the women down the street who has encouraged a family of rather aggressive racoons to take up residence in her front yard, would not be considered the highlight of the day for most homeowners.  Wouldn’t it be nice if someone else, namely the HOA, could have these conversations for you?  Or, better yet, if these conversations never needed to take place at all because everyone living within the community had agreed (simply by choosing to live in the community) to adhere to a set of rules and regulations that kept the community running smoothly?  Yes, we thought so too.  

A Love for the Ages

Though you may not always see eye to eye, and it can be easy to take it for granted, the relationship between homeowner and HOA, if cultivated and nurtured, can be one that keeps both parties happy for years and years.  And they can both live happily ever after..while adhering to established  rules and regulations outlined in the C&Rs and all other governing documents.  How romantic.