If you have never lived in a home where there was a homeowner's association (HOA), you might not know a lot about HOAs. It is important to learn more about HOAs, though, if you plan on buying a house that is part of one. There are a lot of key things you should know about HOAs as you shop for a house, but here are some of the most important things you need to know.

What an HOA is

Understanding exactly what an HOA is will be a vital step to take before buying a house that is part of one. An HOA is like a separate entity that offers management services for the entire community of homes. It controls the work done in the neighborhood and enforces the rules of the HOA. It collects the monthly fees from the homeowners and uses it to pay bills and to save up for large improvements needed in the future. When you own a home where there is an HOA, you must follow the rules they have, and you must pay the dues required of the organization.

The pros and cons of living in a community that has one

The second thing to do is evaluate and weigh the pros and cons of living with an HOA. Some of the benefits include a maintenance-free living environment as well as uniformity and control over what the homeowners do in the neighborhood. The downsides to having an HOA are the fees you must pay and the rules you must follow. There are many other pros and cons to living in a community like this too, so you should investigate this issue a little more before making your purchase.

You need to evaluate the HOA as it could affect your loan and future

The other thing to know is that just because there is an HOA, it does not automatically guarantee that the community will be nice. If the HOA is not managing its budget well or saving enough money, the HOA may be in trouble. When getting a loan for a house with an HOA, the lender will need to evaluate the HOA's budget before making a decision about whether to give you a loan to buy the house.

Learning more about HOAs is vital if you plan on moving to an area that has one, and it is important to understand that most townhouses and condos are part of an HOA. If you have questions about HOAs or would like to view townhomes for sale, talk to a real estate agent today.