HOA vs non-HOA Communities

There are many categories buyers find themselves in. They can be as specific as one-story vs. two-story homes to widely different categories like high-rise condos vs. sprawling hill country ranches. Price range, location and size are more of the obvious categories. But, one of the more inconspicuous categories I find my buyers landing on either one side of the fence on is HOA community vs. non-HOA community. Though it’s not often the first criteria on my buyer’s list of preferences, the HOA/non-HOA standpoint always winds up being one of the more important factors in ultimately deciding on a community.

HOA’s & How They Affect Austin Real Estate

For example, I’ve had clients in the past who wanted to live within the Austin city limits, but have no restrictions on having their own chickens so that they could have fresh eggs for breakfast each day. I also have clients who have a very tight budget in mind, and the extra $40 a month that goes to an HOA would not fit into their monthly expenses. And, some clients just do not want a board telling them how to landscape their yard and when they can or cannot put their trash can out! In these instances, clients are happier with a non-HOA community.  Some of Austin’s most popular neighborhoods in the central and south-central parts of town do not have HOA’s, such as the Zilker, Travis Heights, and Barton Hills neighborhoods.

Austin HOA’s Offer Unique Amenities to Community Residents

On the flip side, there are many homebuyers who feel strongly about residing in an HOA community. They like that the HOA holds the neighborhood up to a standard when it comes to appearances of the streets and their neighbors’ yards. Some like to live in a condo so that the HOA takes care of their yard maintenance for them. There are also usually amenities for the community, such as playgrounds and parks; higher HOA subdivisions have more amenities like pools, clubhouses and golf courses.  Some of Austin’s most popular HOA communities are Avery Ranch and Steiner Ranch, which offer wonderful amenities to their residents.

Sometimes HOA’s take it to a whole new level with their amenities and the exclusivity they provide, offering chaueffered car service, dry cleaning pickup, 24-hour concierge services, and much more.  There is even a proposed high-rise condo in Miami where a glass elevator takes residents to their front door without them ever getting out of their car! I would imagine that monthly HOA payment is going to be quite high! But, there will be buyers who see the value in paying for this unique amenity.

Do Austin HOA’s Increase Property Values?

A lot of Austin buyers are of the opinion that an HOA community holds their values better than a non-HOA community, and sometimes that is true. Sometimes an HOA can make it difficult to sell your home, especially if you’re in a condo community and the HOA isn’t managed properly, or isn’t holding the proper insurance or reserves. Perhaps that should be a good topic for my next blog.

If you know that you want to live in an HOA community, it’s a good idea to obtain as much information on the HOA as you can before you go under contract. If you’re considering an HOA community in the Austin area, send us an email and we will help you obtain some documentation to review while you’re doing your home search.

Feel free to share any thoughts or comments on what your thoughts are on HOA’s. Do you prefer to live in an HOA community or do you prefer to live without an HOA?


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