There are often common misconceptions among homeowners about what contributes to the rise and fall of property values in a homeowners association.
Assessments are too high
False. Actually, assessments have nothing to do with property values, and high assessments will not turn off potential buyers—if they’re educated buyers. Your assessment may be higher or lower than a neighboring community depending on many factors. Are you providing more services? Is your property older? What utilities are included in the assessment? Do you have more homes?
The more important question is what value are residents getting for their money? To answer that question, the homeowners association mails a detailed budget with line-item documentation to all owners and makes it available to potential buyers. A low assessment should be as much a red flag as one that appears too high.
Too many renters
False. Lenders are required to charge higher rates for loans or deny a loan for homes in associations with renter-owner ratios that exceed a certain percentage. But that doesn’t mean renters affect property values. Your HOA board should see renters as owners-in-training who aren’t ready to purchase their homes yet. In fact, renters have all the same rights to enjoy your community as owners except voting or holding office. Associations should welcome renters, encourage them to participate in association activities and hope they will eventually buy a home in your community.
Community living is carefree
True and false. Association living is sometimes maintenance free, leaving maintenance decisions to a board, but not entirely carefree. Residents need to care about their community and recognize that common-interest living involves service and commitment. Good maintenance increases curb appeal which helps sales and may help property values. However, without committed residents to serve on the HOA board and in other positions, maintenance and curb appeal are quick to suffer.
Architectural and aesthetic uniformity are necessary
False. The board’s objective is to maintain standards rather than ensure uniformity. Yes, some uniformity is good, but the board believes there is room for individual expression—as long as aesthetic standards are met.
Property values are based largely on comparative values of homes throughout your community. You can ensure that your values are at peak levels by assessing adequate fees to maintain your community now and for years to come; and by ensuring all residents are involved and engaged in the community and care about the homeowners association maintaining high aesthetic appeal.