When it comes to acquiring a new home, everyone forgets about the lurking Home Owner’s Association. Home sellers forget to mention them in negotiations, buyers forget to check if they are buying into a regulated community. Even experienced real estate professionals forget to take HOA restrictions into account. And for those unfortunate enough to own a home by accident or through no fault of their own, it can be a nightmare.
Where HOAs Come From
Home owner’s associations are a good idea in theory, but you’ll find few people who praise them in reality. HOAs are usually founded initially by the construction corporation that builds or establishes the neighborhood in the first place. They build a set of houses that are similar in appearance and value, along with a few neighborhood features like sidewalks, parks, pools, and maybe even a small community center. As people purchase the brand new homes, they also earn a membership in the HOA and a potential to sit on the ruling council. The HOA is intended to allow homeowners to come together to maintain their little community and the shared features, while also protecting each other’s property values through CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and regulations). Homeowners get to become voting members of the community and gain the benefit of local neighborhood features in return for monthly dues and following a “few simple rules”.
In practice, however, home owner’s associations are notorious for unnecessarily high dues, exploitative fee collections, abuse of power, and busy-body policies. HOAs have penalized parents for hanging rope swings, working people for keeping trucks in the driveway, and gardeners for planting vegetables instead of flowers.
Dealing with an HOA You Didn’t Sign Up For
While HOA’s are a pain in the rear for almost everyone, conformation to their rules is at least reasonable for homeowners who knowingly bought in. But what about people who inherited a home in an HOA neighborhood or homeowners who have already moved out and are just trying to get the empty house sold? Unfortunately, we’ve got bad news. HOAs can and will still demand their dues and can still fine you if the lawn isn’t mowed every week. And for anyone who has not been ‘at home’ to receive their mail, you can easily find yourself checking in to find hundreds of dollars in dues, fines, and late fees waiting in your mailbox. Even if it wasn’t your house to begin with and you never signed an HOA contract.
Simply by taking ownership of the house, you are now a full-fledged voting member of the HOA, obligated to pay all their ridiculous costs and conform to their neighborhood rules no matter how little you want to do with them. If you choose to live in the home for some time, even just to pack it up, the HOA can dictate everything from your lawn maintenance to your street-facing window treatments. And worse, they are able to fine, sue and even foreclose with impunity.
HOAs Stop Home Sales
In fact, HOAs can even wreck the sale of a home you’re trying to get off your hands. Most home buyers are fine with an HOA that minds their business and keeps to themselves. However, if your potential buyers catch wind that there is a list of restrictions and potential fines a mile long permanently attached to the house, you can bet they’ll turn tail and run for the first appealing property that isn’t controlled by a problematic HOA. Sometimes, HOAs will even go out of their way to introduce themselves and effectively discourage buyers by trying to pre-enforce their restrictive requirements. “You don’t have any children do you? We don’t allow toys in the yard you know.” and other not-so-subtly hostile statements.
Some have even been known to purposefully drive away buyers they feel are ‘unsuitable’ for the neighborhood. When all you want to do is get a house off your hands, an HOA can be your worst enemy. Not only will you be held liable for dues and keeping the home up to potentially exacting standards, a strict HOA will chase away any good buyers you can find before a deal can be closed. Even owners leaving an HOA under normal circumstances have been forced to slash their prices just to get out of the trap that an abusive HOA can create.
Getting Out of HOA Membership ASAP
We wish we were being melodramatic, that this was an overblown piece about how to get out of a house fast. But there are thousands of examples every year of HOA abuses that would boggle the mind of your average homeowner, and no one ever sees it coming. While the rules themselves may seem petty, the consequences of violating an HOA’s rules can put owners into bankruptcy and even prison simply for planting one too many rose bushes or repairing their roof with tiles that don’t match the neighborhood perfectly.
Whatever you do, do not take the threat of a hostile HOA lightly. If you have been fined even once or warned that the home you’re trying to sell could be in violation, your top priority should be to get the house sold and yourself disentangled from a potentially dangerous situation. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through the long arduous process of finding a buyer and completing negotiations.
By working with Avenue Houston Home Buyers, you can get a home controlled by a hostile HOA off your hands quickly and get a fair price for the property when you might otherwise be forced to slash prices to protect the rest of your finances. We’re experts at dealing with disaster situations, from cleaning up hoarder houses to grappling with unreasonable neighborhood demands. We’ll get the house clean, staged, and sold to someone who is a good fit for the neighborhood while you count your profits and get on with the rest of your life worry-free.
Don’t let a nightmare HOA ruin your life or your finances with restrictive rules and abusive fines. If an HOA is stopping you from finding an eager buyer and getting a good price for a home in their neighborhood, let Avenue Houston Home Buyers help you take charge of the situation. Get out of a nasty situation and get a good price for your home, leaving that controlling HOA in the dust to be handled by professionals. For more information or a no-charge no-obligation assessment and cash offer, contact us today!
Life holds many changes and challenges. We never know when we may need to make a swift change. Having a place like Avenue Houston Home Buyer on your side is of great value and relief to people going through any of these situations. If you want a free cash offer for your home, get in touch with us today!
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