Consider HOA before buying

Q: What are the pros and cons of living in a neighborhood that is managed by a homeowner’s association vs. one that is not? — Sharon K., Henderson

A: A 2007 survey by Zogby International found that nearly 60 million Americans live in an estimated 300,000 homeowner and condominium associations, cooperatives and other forms of planned communities. In Nevada, the Real Estate Division reports that 449,812 homes and condominiums are located within 2,958 associations.

Many HOAs have covenants, conditions and restrictions that regulate everything from where you can park your car to where you can plant real or artificial turf.

However, it also provides an added layer of protection to help protect your quality of life and property values.

Many associations dues cover the costs of maintaining amenities like swimming pools, spas, clubhouses, workout facilities, neighborhood parks, entry gates, tree-lined streets and other common-area landscaping.

For more information on this topic, I turned to Kevin Wallace, a longtime local expert on HOAs, property management and related issues. His company manages more than 200 local HOAs representing nearly 100,000 residences.

Of course, Wallace said, such amenities, services and protections come with a cost. Locally, he said a typical HOA fee for someone living in a typical single-family home may range from $30 to $60 per month.

Monthly association fees are usually higher for condo owners, who often pay more than $100 per month in fees that can also include the cost of insurance on the buildings and even water, garbage and other utility services.

There are almost as many types of HOAs as there are homeowners.

“There are associations out there that run private airstrips,” Wallace said.

He said that he knows of one local association that allows homeowners to park their RVs and other “toys” on half-acre lots in the community.

In the end, Wallace said, “I think HOAs do a good job of protecting the value of your home.” In exchange, he added, “you give up some rights.”

He recognizes that many homeowners want the freedom to turn their driveways into basketball courts, paint their home any color they want and do other things with their property that HOAs restrict.

“If you’re that kind of person, then don’t buy (a home) in an HOA,” he advised.

Patty Kelley is the president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors and has worked in the real estate industry for more than 30 years. To ask Kelley a question, e-mail her at

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