I Didn't Buy a Home I Fell in Love With for One Simple Reason
- When I was house-hunting, I found a property I loved.
- The HOA rules were extremely strict.
- I opted not to buy the home because of them.
This was a dealbreaker for me -- and should be for other buyers too.
Several years ago, my husband and I were looking for a new home to buy. We had been shopping for a property for a fairly long time without finding the right place for us, when we came upon a home that appeared to be absolutely perfect.
The house had the yard we wanted, the interior space we needed, a wonderful layout, and it was beautiful. We could have easily afforded the mortgage payment, and the property taxes were pretty low for the area. I excitedly showed the listing to friends and family and asked my real estate agent to get the paperwork necessary to make an offer.
Ultimately, though, we never put in a bid to buy and we changed our mind about going through with the purchase just a few days after falling in love with the home. Here's why.
This was a dealbreaker that caused us to walk away immediately
The reason we opted out of the home purchase was because the real estate agent provided the paperwork for the homeowner's association. This paperwork included no fewer than 65 pages of rules and regulations.
Now, some of the rules were reasonable, like not playing loud music late at night or not parking large commercial vehicles on shared streets. But, unsurprisingly, with such a long document with so many regulations, many of the restrictions and requirements were quite burdensome.
In fact, the HOA was so strict in what homeowners could and could not do that it specified exactly how long the lawn could be in inches. And it had rules for landscaping that required you to have a certain number of specific types of plants from a pre-provided list, arranged in specific quadrants within your front flower beds.
This was just the beginning of the requirements imposed, and there were also many limitations such as a rule that you couldn't put up a bird feeder or flag without written permission. And of course, you couldn't plant any off-list plants anywhere on the property.
If you violated any of these myriad rules, you were subject to fines and if you didn't pay them, the HOA was able to take action to collect -- up to and including placing a lien on the property or initiating foreclosure proceedings on the house.
Needless to say, we weren't going to sign on for this, so we opted to walk away from the property entirely
Watch out for unreasonable HOA rules
Homeowners associations can sometimes have important benefits, including helping to maintain your property value and ensuring you live in an attractive neighborhood. But, the rules can also be burdensome and seriously limit what you are allowed to do with your own space.
In order to make sure you don't end up with rules you can't live with, always ask to read any HOA documents and make sure you understand the restrictions before you commit to purchasing a property.
Changing the rules is very difficult and the HOA can make your life miserable if you don't comply, so be sure you're OK with any restrictions that come with a home before you agree to buy it. Otherwise, you could end up regretting your purchase.
Our Research Expert
We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
Copyright © 2018 - 2023 The Ascent. All rights reserved.