If you decide to contact your real estate agent about buying a new home, he may show you some homes that are run by a homeowner’s association and others that are not. The vast majority of homes are not under this sort of a system, so you may be a little confused when you see one in a community that has HOA fees and things of this nature. These are fees that you have to pay to the association each month, for as long as you live in your house. If you are going to be paying this extra money on top of your mortgage, what do you get out of it?
Many homes that are part of these organizations are in gated communities. People who do not live there are not always allowed in, except with permission, and there may even be a person at the front gate to check passes after dark. This is done to cut back on crime because people who are looking to break into homes are not going to be able to get inside of the gated community. Even if they could break in, they will not want to go to all of that trouble when there are other homes outside of the community that would make easier targets.
Most communities that are within a homeowners association also come with amenities that you cannot find elsewhere. There could be a public pool that any member of the community can use. There could be a gym where you can workout without a membership. There might be tennis courts that you can use in the summer. These are all things that you may have to pay for otherwise, so your fees are simply going to pay for them up front. You get free access to these things whenever you want.
Often, the fees are also used for maintenance and upkeep within the community. If it is in the northern part of the country, they could pay for plows to come in and clear the streets. They could pay for repair for the roads if they have cracks or potholes. The money may go toward maintaining parks and green space. In some cases, the community even has workers to maintain the homes. By paying a small fee, you make it so that you do not have to worry about all of these little jobs.