You just got home from a long day at work, and the trash bins are still there, full, in front of your house. They’re starting to reek, and any calls to your local government at this hour to find out why they weren’t picked up are going right to voicemail. You feel like no one is on your side, and it won’t be long until the raccoons are here to feast.

Yes, you’ve accepted that living in an independently owned home or even an apartment complex can have its drawbacks. But why settle for that? Have you ever considered living in a homeowner association (HOA) community and the many benefits that go along with it? If you have, you’re not alone. The numbers of community associations have ballooned over the past 40-plus years from approximately 10,000 to more than 320,000 today. An overwhelming percentage of HOA community members rate their experience as positive. In addition, they’re happy with their governing boards, the return on their investment, as well as how their association rules positively affect their lives within the community. Below are five reasons you should consider living in a homeowner association or condo community, and how doing so can remove a lot of the stress and enrich your everyday life.

1. Benefit of Collective Management:

Have you ever lived next door to someone who decided to paint their home a gaudy color that was painful to look at? Have you ever lived next to neighbors who neglect their property and let their yard become overrun with weeds? Have you worried that the property value of your home would plummet as a result? If you own a private home, you’re at the mercy of local government to address your needs. That isn’t a worry in an HOA community, condo, or collective. Each association community sets limitations that are built into your homeowner agreement. These limitations benefit the community at large by helping to maintain your community’s overall beauty and property values. This is an example of how your HOA board, appointed by your community, enhances residents’ lifestyles, and ensures that no one is living outside of the appointed guidelines.

2. Private Public Functions:

Remember that trash removal example? That’s one of the nuisances that people living in community associations generally don’t have to worry about. Local municipalities usually are overwhelmed with the services they have to provide for their entire area–not to mention they can be stretched financially. Responsibilities such as trash pickup, road maintenance, storm water management, snow removal, and other similar services are often managed by community management to ensure services are completed in a timely manner. Fees are paid by members of the community for such duties, so members are not at the mercy of the local municipality. It also relieves the town’s tax burden since the entire community is self-sustained, which could pave the way for more neighborhoods such as these to be built locally.

3. Affordable Home Ownership:

Home ownership rates have become a major talking point in the United States. In the first quarter of 2014, that rate was 64.8 percent. Rates overall have continually showed a decline since 2005, when the home ownership rate was 69.1 percent. Housing communities have been a source for many people looking for affordable homes, and diverse groups such as minorities, women, and immigrants have been able to achieve the dream of home ownership over the years, especially within condo units. Condo and co-op communities also are great for a first-time homebuyer. With the current economic climate, affordability has never been more important, and many people are finding a welcoming neighborhood in HOA and condo communities across North America.

4. Minimizing Costs and Maintaining A Sense of Community:

This might seem more like two topics, but they really go hand-in-hand. Being a member of a HOA or condo community comes with assurances that everyone pays their fair share, concerns are addressed by your association board or property management team, and property value is maintained without formal government oversight. Everyone is in it together and there is a sense of responsibility with membership and collective management, which makes for a strong sense of community. There also is the matter of these associations inherently bringing people together. Many of the 62 million people who live in community associations or condos take part in neighborhood activities such as holiday parties, social clubs, and athletic and fitness events. These activities give people a chance to get to know everyone better and form a more communal bond.

5. Amenities, Opportunities, and Options:

There are perks and benefits to being a member of a HOA or condo community, many of which are not in the wheelhouse for private homeowners. Some communities have features such as marinas, swimming pools, and golf courses that are included with membership and can be a way to attract new homeowners to your community. There are also communities where the association takes care of gutter work, lawn care, and other services to maintain the property. Additionally, there are age-restricted communities, ones that welcome pets, ones that don’t, and plenty of other diverse living options that make a community exactly where you want to live.

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