When you buy a house in an HOA neighborhood, the dues can feel like a burden. After all, you already have a mortgage to pay, property taxes, and dues on top of all that. However, most people don't see right away how HOA dues are more like a Sam's Club membership than a theme park ticket. Your dues aren't just covering the property itself. In many ways, HOA dues are a way for all the homeowners in the neighborhood to save money. That is the principle that founded HOAs in the first place. When all homeowners pool together, you can save on big-ticket amenities that everyone can enjoy.
Let's take a closer look at the real perks of living in a well-managed HOA; and how those seemingly hefty dues cut your annual costs down to size.
How do HOA dues save you money?
First, when was the last time you needed a gym membership after joining your HOA? Many homeowner (and condo) associations have a great fitness room with treadmills, ellipticals, and weights waiting for you to get pumped on your weekly schedule. You can meet neighbors during ordinary hours or pick unusual hours to enjoy the HOA fitness center alone.
You can save a few hundred dollars a year on gym memberships by using your HOA fitness center, especially if the whole family gets their workout on at various times during the week.
On-Property Pool and Pool Maintenance
Having a pool on your home property is a significant expense. Not only does it increase the property value, but the maintenance costs are staggering for anyone unused to the payment of managing a pool. Just keeping it algae-free and scooping the leaves is a big task. It is much less keeping the whole pool blue and beautiful year-round.
Part of your HOA dues go to maintaining one or two pools (and maybe a spa) for the whole community. That's one shared pool cost and the cost of one regular maintenance service shared between dozens - sometimes a few hundred - families, each paying a small fraction of what it takes to all enjoy the pool on hot summer afternoons.
Gasoline for Trips to the Park
You may not think of your local HOA playground and park as a neighborhood amenity. You might think, "There are city parks; our park is not that special." but consider the gas mileage and safety when going to other local parks. Having a garden within safe walking distance from your house not only saves you peace of mind when your children go out to play, but it also saves you gas costs when going to play sports, practice on the tennis courts, or take your dog to the neighborhood dog park.
Enjoy the outdoors without having to drive across town or several neighborhoods over. Save that gas and walk to your HOA park instead.
Clubhouse Venue Rentals
HOA members also have access to the clubhouse, though most don't realize the opportunities available. Clubhouse rentals for residents often cost much less than other local venue rentals. You can book the lodge for meetings parties or start a new neighborhood club or class. Access to the clubhouse and other HOA public areas for your uses is a lot like belonging to a small country club - only the dues are extremely reasonable in this regard.
Holiday Event Participation
Enjoy the rare holiday event? HOA parties are often a fun way for residents - and especially families with small children - to enjoy events without leaving the safety of your home neighborhood. There is no need to buy into expensive children's parties or book your holiday party venues. Instead, bring your kids to the Halloween bash, the Christmas party, or the 4th of July barbecue hosted by your neighborhood - free of charge aside from yearly dues.
Landscaping, Neighborhood Utilities, and Pest Treatment
Finally, there is the subtle benefit of neighborhood-wide grounds maintenance. Landscaping makes the area around your home look not only lovely but also neatly controls rainwater flow, nurtures local plant life, and provides care to the utility lines that span the neighborhood. Your landscapers also handle neighborhood-wide pest control - which reduces the risk and cost of pests on every home property.
So what do your HOA dues pay for? HOA dues are a bulk discount for HOA homeowners on amenities, venues, and property values in ways that aren't always easy to see when you add it up. So the next time you don't like the look of your HOA dues, compare it to the cost of keeping a pool, buying a gym membership, or treating the yard for pests. A well-managed HOA offers much value in return for reasonable and shared dues.