There are many people who dislike the rules and regulations of joining a homeowner's association (HOA), but there are also many who enjoy the benefits of these regulations. If you are considering moving to a location with an HOA, you have two options: neighborhoods of single-family homes and multi-unit dwellings like condos. Check out the differences between the two and their HOA regulations.
Inside Your Home
Whether you live in a single-family home or a condo, you can usually do what you want to the inside of your home, like painting the walls whatever color you want. However, the HOA usually has some regulations if it can bother other residents.
This is usually a bigger problem in condos because units share walls. For example, loud music may be a little annoying to the people living across the street from you, but if you live in a condo, it is worse. Similarly, if you smoke in your home, it likely isn't affecting anyone else, but if you smoke in a condo, it could reach other units. Therefore, it may be prohibited to smoke in your own condo.
The Exterior of Your Home
The exterior of your home is also often controlled by HOAs. Depending on the bylaws and the governing documents, there may be rules about what color you canpaint your home, what types of landscaping you can have, etc. When you live in a condo, you don't really own the land on which the condo sits, so you don't really have to worry about breaking rules because the HOA takes care of these area.
As with inside your home, some HOAs also limit what you can do in your yard (or balcony/patio for condos). Again, this is a bigger issue with condos because residents are so close together. Therefore, don't be surprised if you aren't allowed to smoke on your patio or balcony.
The common areas of the community include club houses, pools, parks, etc. For condos, it also includes hallways and the lobby. These areas are complexly controlled by the HOA for both single-family home communities and condos, so there is typically no difference between the two.
Because the HOA takes care of all the maintenance and landscaping of these areas, residents only have to worry about behavioral rules. Typically, they can't smoke or drink in common areas, and dogs must be on leashes, and you must clean up after them.
Living in a HOA can be enjoyable for many people because they communities tend to be more attractive and secure. If you prefer the idea of a little more freedom, a single-family home is best, but if you like the idea of the HOA handling most of the maintenance for you, a condo is also a great idea. For more information, contact HOAs in your area to get an idea of what living there is like.