After just bringing in the last of the groceries, it occurred to me that our cat has not approached and greeted me as he usually does when I come home. My first thought is that he must have gotten outside. After calling for the cat several times and looking around the house with no luck, I decide to throw on my jacket and slip-on shoes and go out the front door to see if the cat is somewhere in the yard. As I approach the side of the house calling for the cat, I am met with a horrendous odor. I finally see him crouched down next to a shrub, so I quickly walk over to him and pick him up before he decides to dart away. 

The next-door neighbor’s house was always in a state of disarray with faded and broken siding, a dead lawn and old broken down or partial vehicles in the front and sides of the house. It really was an eye sore to say the least! Just as I was leaving to bring the cat back in the house, I heard “Maaahhh!  Maahhhhh!” To my surprise, the neighbor had taken to raising and not only just raising the goats but breading them in his backyard as well! My first thought is that this place has gone from bad to absolutely worst. We do not have a home owner’s association or HOA so there were no restrictions in place regarding the appearance or activities on our property. My next thought was to check with the city to see if there was an allowance for livestock in our yards. To my amazement, there were no governing laws restricting the activity of ranching on our properties. What a nightmare!

There are positives and negatives to owning a house that is under the restrictions of an HOA and the same can be said for homes that do not have a governing HOA. The question becomes, which headaches would you like to endure less? The restricting laws placed on a community for the appearance of the house and property or conversely a house that has no such restrictions allowing for folks to conduct business as they see fit on their property?

Depending on the community, the HOA can be pretty laid back. Other residential areas have more than one HOA and things may be a lot stricter. It is important to understand the covenants imposed by an HOA to determine whether the restrictions are ones that you can live with prior to moving into a selected community. In the scenario above, it was embarrassing to entertain guests at my house because the neighbor’s way of life was trespassing into mine. Sometimes having an HOA can provide equality of living for everyone in the community. Other times the HOA can take away from the quality of life by being a nuisance with their pesky love notes instructing the homeowner to paint the mailbox or change the grass.

An experienced Realtor is a great idea when considering a new home as they will have the experience and knowledge to help inform you of all aspects of a property. First, it does not cost you anything to obtain a buyer’s agent to see you through the purchase process and second, the right Realtor will be knowledgeable to guide you home providing you all the important information on the house and its community.

We have over 20 years of experience in the real estate industry and if you are thinking of selling your home to move into a new one or are renting and considering purchasing your first home, allow us to bring in our expertise for a smooth and stress-free transition. Our job is to do the heavy lifting in your transaction, so you do not have to.

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This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.