Hey it’s Sue Bonzell with Terra Firma Global Partners and you may have seen from some of my posts on my Facebook page on my personal page that I got in trouble with my HOA.

That’s right, I had my hand slapped. I was a bad girl. I wasn’t taking care of my lawn so I took it upon my self to take out my lawn and put in drought resistant plants. And then the HOA contacted me and said well I didn’t have permission to do that and so I sent in the form and then they said they wanted to know hat plants I was using. So it was a bit of overkill I know, but it’s okay, its an HOA, I get it. And of course after I posted some of these things on Facebook, lots of people said, “Hey miss Realtor, do you suggest that someone actually purchase a property with an HOA?” And my answer to that is, “Well it depends.” That’s a typical realtor answer, right. Well for me, I don’t spend a lot on my HOA, and I’m not in a condo area, I have a regular single family home in a great area. And they do go around and check the yards, obviously because they are sending out letters to people like me. And they’re also keeping an eye on paint colors. My neighbor is actually painting his house right now and they are very strict about paint colors and combinations of colors and things like that.

So some people might say, “You know what, that Sucks that an HOA is going to tell me what I can or can’t do with MY house.” And I totally hear you on that one. But on the other hand for me, looking around at my neighborhood, knowing that somebody is not going to paint their house bright turquoise blue as a friend of mine has across the street in her neighborhood in Santa Rosa. (You may have seen in from Highway 12.) That’s not going to happen in my neighborhood. And there’s not going to be cars up on jacks in the front yard and a boat that’s been parked for 3 years in the front yard. So all of those things aren’t going to happen because of my HOA and what does that mean to me as homeowner? That means that my home value is being saved. Because if you are in a neighborhood and you look around and you go, “Hmm, doesn’t look so good over there, doesn’t look so good over there but mine looks great.” But you’ve got those neighbors who could potentially be affecting your home value. With an HOA they are kind of keeping it all status quo which really does help the value of your home. So that is an absolute plus for having an HOA.

If you are planning to purchase a condo you might want to talk to your realtor. You’re going to want to look at what the budget says, you’re going to want to look at the minutes and everything else, all the HOA docs to find out what they have as restrictions and things like that. Take a look at the roof, take a look at the exterior. Are they keeping up on all of their repairs? That’s a little different animal and I definitely encourage you to talk to your Realtor about what it means to be involved in an HOA and how that particular HOA is going to affect you as a homeowner.

So that is my not-so-simple answer to the question, “What do you think about an HOA Sue?” I’m Sue Bonzell with Terra Firma Global partners.