Moving into a condo or an HOA is an option for people living in a single-family home.  Friends who have downsized into a condo or an HOA tell you about how great it is to live in one.  There is also a downside.

Condo and HOA properties are appearing everywhere!  When you drive around, you see these developments in big cities, near suburbs, resort areas, or small towns.  There are many sizes and shapes—luxury versions, low cost models, and those in between.  Condo and HOA living are popular.


What do the terms “condo” and “HOA” mean?

  • Both of these terms define the conditions of living in a community association.
  • When a unit in a condo or a lot in an HOA is purchased, the new owner is automatically a member of the association.
  • The “governing documents” (Declaration, Bylaws, Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions) of the condo and the HOA bind all owners together.
  • Maintenance fees or dues must be paid so that the entire project can be operated and maintained.
  • Every owner is permitted to use and enjoy the property according to the governing documents.

Condos and HOAs have advantages to purchasing and living there, such as:

  • Building equity in your own home is wiser than paying rent.
  • You may be able to take an income tax deduction of interest on your mortgage loan.
  • Because the associations of the condo and HOA perform some of the exterior maintenance, you can enjoy the freedom of not having to do that work.
  • Many recreational facilities such as a swimming pool, tennis court, golf course, and Club House, to name a few, are shared.  Some or all of these benefits might be difficult to pay for on your own.
  • You have more “built in” security systems because your neighbors live close by.  When you take a vacation, just lock your door and go!
  • Social activities for all age groups and occasions can be planned.
  • You can have an influence in the management of your property by joining the board of directors or special committees.
  • Because the complex is consistently and professionally managed, your property values normally increase.  Condo and HOA living are popular lifestyles.

So what’s the downside?

  • It may be difficult to conform to this lifestyle.
  • You will be confined to the restrictions about what you can do.
  • Neighbors can cause problems for each other or get on each other’s nerves.
  • Unless you get involved on the board or a committee, you may not have control over the money you pay in maintenance fees, dues, and special assessments.
  • The board of directors sets the standards for the colors and styles of the building exteriors and landscaping.
  • The parking areas may be insufficient or inconvenient.
  • The complex may not be “handicap friendly.”


You may not be able to have a say on decisions made by the board, and you may not like the ones they make.  Therefore, you will have to let other people make your decisions for you and letting go of that control can be difficult for some people.

Maybe you wonder how different it is to live in a condo or an HOA than to live in your own single-family home.  The difference can be very good if you buy a condo unit or an HOA home to take advantage of the benefits you know it can offer.  The difference can be bad if you aren’t aware that there are differences or you have no intention of conforming to the governing documents.  Your attitude is the basis for your happiness.  You can enjoy your new lifestyle or you could be annoyed on a daily basis.

The sharing of the operation and maintenance of your property with others means you don’t have to carry the entire burden of home ownership.  You can have fun exploring other interests!

Please do your homework by reading, or going over the governing documents with your  attorney.  The advantages and disadvantages of living in your particular condo or HOA are vital for you to knowbefore you purchase.