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What Does Your Homeowners Association Do?

Posted By Jim On 06/13/2006 @ 9:45 pm In Personal Finance,The Home | 77 Comments

When I first shopped around I thought it was ridiculous that I would have to something like $30-$50 a month to some homeowner’s association (HOA) on top of a mortgage, insurance, taxes, etc. It wasn’t the dollar amount, it was a case of the final straw hitting that poor proverbial camel’s back. This was made especially aggregious after hearing stories of HOA’s that did very little in the community… luckily the area I moved into had not only a relatively inexpensive HOA fee but a relatively active HOA.

I pay $195 every six months ($32.50) to a homeowner’s association (HOA) and I think it’s a fair thing to ask. Certainly I can list all the things that they say they do, but after living in the house for nearly a year (and experiencing all the seasons) I can honestly list all the things they actually do. How does this stack up against your HOA?


Snow Service
The HOA’s jurisdiction isn’t a terribly large area, I imagine fewer than a hundred town homes, but the snow service has been pretty good. We’ve only had a couple dustings (only one notable snowstorm of a foot plus of snow and a few multi-inchers) but the guy came out in his little caterpillar-esq snow plow and plowed out all the parking areas and connecting streets. He also pulled out the snow blower, cleared off sidewalks and paths, and salted them down.

Grassy Common Area Upkeep
Thus far we’ve had three major trees (20 feet+) removed because they had died and they were removed rather expeditiously. All were taken down in a day and in their place a bare patch covered in grass seed (some fluffy mixture of seed, fertilizer and protectant) remained. They also mow the lawn regularly (supposed to be once every two weeks but I doubt it’s that often).

Repaving Streets
In each of the three “areas” there is usually a square of town homes that surround a parking area. The outside ring of the parking area has slightly elevated resident reserved parking spots and there is a two by ten section of parking spots in the middle that surrounding a little grassy area. Well, once every three years (it happened just this year) they repave the entire area and spray the lines and numbers. This is very nice because the better the roads, the less crap gets kicked up and dents/scratches your car. The lines, I suspect, will likely be repainted each year along with the curb.

Once A Year On-Site Dumpster
Once a year, usually in June, the HOA grabs a dumpster and puts it in one of the areas for a weekend. You can dump any non-hazardous trash into that dumpster and it gives you a great chance to toss something without having to make the trip to the dump itself.

Community Maintenance Watch
Usually people don’t like this but I like it a lot. How often have you seen a neighbor’s lawn, which hasn’t been mowed in a month, look like crap? It’s unsightly but it’s not really your place to criticize someone else’s home and tell them how to take care of it right? And even if you could, there’s no reason why they should listen! That’s why the HOA’s monitoring comes in handy. Let them do the dirty work so you don’t have to. It let’s the passive aggressive thrive!

There are other perks that I don’t take advantage of, and thus don’t recognize, but I think even if it were limited to the ones above I wouldn’t mind paying $30 a month to be in the HOA.


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