Should I Buy in an Calgary HOA Neighbourhood in 2023?
Part of the process of choosing a home is choosing the neighbouhood you like. As you search for homes for sale in Calgary, you will find many that are set in a home with an HOA. If living in an HOA-managed neighbourhood is new to you, here are some pros and cons you can keep in mind as you determine if it's the right community for you.
Benefits of an HOA
Many HOA neighbourhoods feature community amenities, often exclusively available to residents. These might include man made lakes and beaches, playgrounds, sports courts, community centers, special events, pools, fitness centers, or a variety of other perks.
While you may be able to access these things elsewhere at a community center or country club, having them available exclusively to you and your neighbours right outside your door is a major perk.
Homes located in a neighbourhood with an HOA are often better insulated from property values going down because the community is required to be kept up to a certain standard. Your neighbors will not be allowed to let their property fall apart or have landscaping that goes unmanaged, and a general pride of ownership and adequate level of maintenance will be enforced.
An HOA managed neighborhood tends to have a more attractive aesthetic, with a cohesive look and a requirement to keep homes in good condition. This usually includes guidelines regarding what colors homes can be painted, landscaping choices, political signage, and holiday decor.
Drawbacks of an HOA
Additional Housing Cost
The cost of living in an HOA managed neighbourhood will vary, with some communities requiring dues be paid monthly, annually, or anywhere in between. This additional cost may feel worth every penny when you consider what it provides, but some people find that it is extra money they don't want to or cannot spend.
Depending on the rules of the HOA, you may be hit with some unexpected expenses. If the HOA has plenty of funds in reserves to cover an emergency repair or necessary update, this may not be an issue. However, not all HOAs are managed responsibly, so find out how this might work in a neighbourhood you are considering. In some cases, the HOA can send out a bill to homeowners in addition to the normal dues that can be an unpleasant surprise.
If you have plans to rent out your home or complete a major renovation, make sure the HOA will approve before you choose to buy the home. Many HOA communities have restrictions regarding using the home as an income property, or will only approve certain renovations.
The Bottom Line
Remember that not all HOAs are identical, and some will be worth overlooking any drawbacks or inconveniences. Others may not offer enough benefits to be worth the additional expense or hassle. Make sure to get all the information you need about an HOA before closing on the home to make sure you are making a choice that fits your budget, your personal preferences, and your lifestyle.