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HOA, homeowners, new jersey homeowners, New Jersey real estate, nj real estate, purchase a nj home

Should I Purchase a NJ Home that's Part of a Homeowners Association?

On Behalf of Veitengruber Law | Aug 26,2021

Before you purchase a NJ home in a planned neighborhood, you must weigh the benefits and costs of being part of a housing association or co-op. In New Jersey, the most popular of these is the Homeowners Association (HOA). The HOA has rules in place to ensure a neighborhood or community runs smoothly by adhering to certain property rules and regulations. An HOA will have guidance concerning lawn maintenance, planning, home insurance, utilities, community financing, and more. While some HOAs are voluntary, others are mandatory depending on the location. Elected members will run the HOA and serve to provide their community with a variety of services. Is this kind of neighborhood right for you?

Pros of an HOA Community

  •    The Amenities

Many NJ HOAs have shared amenities like a community center, gym, tennis and basketball courts, pools, and members-only parks. An HOA may also offer lawn care services and will often contribute to maintaining the streets, sidewalks, and garbage disposal. When you join an HOA, you get access to all kinds of community facilities, events, and services. This can expand your living space to beyond the walls of your home, allowing you the benefits of the access without the time and energy of maintaining a pool or a big backyard. You can also rest assured knowing you will live in a community with well-manicured lawns and clean streets.

  • You Really Get to Know Your Neighbors

Because there are so many shared amenities, you learn about your neighbors beyond the basic daily greetings. An HOA will facilitate regular community events and programs to get neighbors interacting. If any issues arise between neighbors, you will also be able to turn to your HOA to mediate and resolve conflicts.

Cons of an HOA Community

  • Rules and Regulations

While rules and regulations will vary from one HOA to another, all HOAs will have rules and regulations of some kind. This means you get to benefit from an orderly neighborhood, but it also means you have a responsibility to follow the rules. HOA rules are typically non-negotiable and in some cases can be very specific. They can dictate the number and kind of pets you are allowed, where you park your car, the exterior aesthetic of your home, and how high your grass can be. It's imperative that you review all of the rules before you agree to join an HOA.

  • Costly Maintenance Fees

Most HOAs charge members monthly, quarterly, or yearly—and the costs can be alarmingly high, depending on the HOA. Most HOA memberships (but not all) include: lawn maintenance, roof maintenance, and cleanliness/safety of the community in general. HOAs may add services to be included in the fee or for an additional cost. Either way, you'll need to assess whether these services are worth the cost.

With buyers looking for homes in a strong seller's market, more people may be considering a home in an HOA community even if they weren't necessarily looking for one in the first place. If this sounds like you, make sure you've read all of the fine print (and your NJ real estate attorney has too) before you sign the contract.

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