In the Pacific NW we are no strangers to Planned communities and many of my clients have been fans of the amenities and maintenance an HOA can provide. But is the perfectly manicured lifestyle for you? Here are a few points to think about if you are looking at homes in an HOA.
What can I expect in a Planned Community? A planned community is a housing development where the homes, roads, and other features are carefully designed and to make living there convenient and enjoyable for the community. Not necessarily expensive in home price yet, they typically come with maintenance of common areas and rules to guide and sometimes control the level of maintenance that homeowners apply to their own homes. Our local communities have amenities like:
Community Centers (some with restaurants/bars)
Homeowners Associations (HOA) collectively manage the common areas and share the costs. This means that as a homeowner in the community you will have dues. They can range widely from a few dollars a month to hundreds depending on the number and quality of common areas.Homeowners’ associations are also governing their residents in some ways: They set rules for the community, hire vendors, pave roads, in some cases repair roofs and fences, and handle disputes.
If you would like help maintain the areas around your home (yes some HOAs even mow your lawn) and you are averse to the upkeep that comes with owning a home, a community with an HOA might be a good solution. Also, you can ensure that your neighbors will be expected to maintain their home to the level that the association expects thereby helping to ensure property values are at their maximum. You also will have access to and be able to enjoy shared amenities such as pools, playgrounds, lakes, and security without that added maintenance and cost to you.
Not all HOAs are efficient in their management, and some are quite overbearing. The conditions and covenants (CCRs) can dictate things like home paint colors, the number of pets you can have, how large those pets can be, grass length, and the number of required trees in front yards. Parking is also typically a hot topic with some neighborhoods not allowing any cars parked outside of the garage and some allowing gross violation of CCRs with practically a auto wrecking yard being allowed in the front yards and streets. Architectural restrictions can also be a hot point with the HOA requiring review of something as simple as the installation of a garden or placement of a shed. Make sure to review your CCR’s closely and make note HOAs can be strong and active or completely non-existent so it is possible for a long list of CCR’s to be included on your title report yet not enforced in any way.
So, if you are a DIY creative who wants to live out a homesteading or “fixer upper”dream, you may want to think twice about an HOA. Having someone dictate the color of your front door and the shape of your garden might be a recipe for disaster and may not be for you. Yet if you want to the assistance and hopefully preservation of your homes (and neighbor’s homes) equity while enjoying a PNW country club lifestyle then take a look at this list of popular, local Planned Communities.
Rock Creek Estates
If you are interested in purchasing in one of theses types of neighborhoods but want some guidance on finding a neighborhood that works for you reach out to us at Homematch NW, 425-359-0181. We also specialize in rural and acreage properties so if homesteading and mini farming is more your thing then give us a call!