12 Pros and Cons of an HOA

12 pros and cons of buying a home in an HOAWhat Is An HOA In South Walton Beach?

Let’s start at the beginning. What is an HOA? HOA stands for Home Owners Association. HOA’s are overseeing more and more South Walton Beach neighborhoods. Therefore it’s good to know how to evaluate one before you purchase a home or condo.

Who Controls The HOA? The Property Developer Or Homeowners?

A homeowners association is organized by a real estate developer to manage a residential community or new condo. The real estate developer will maintain control of the HOA until three months after 90% of the homes have been sold. At this time, the homeowners in the neighborhood will elect the board. At that time the developer will no longer have any say. Those wanting to ensure that the integrity of their local election process is maintained will surely be interested in the services of professional HOA election inspectors who can oversee the entire thing from start to finish so that everything runs smoothly.

The HOA is authorized to enforce covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). These are a list of rules you will need to follow if you choose to live in the South Walton Beach community that has an HOA. To see the complete list of CC&Rs, you (or your realtor) can ask the HOA for a copy. If they don’t comply with your request, you can go to the county clerk’s office. All HOAs are a matter of public record.

What Do You Find Out Before Making An Offer?

There are a few things to find out about an HOA before putting an offer on a condo or a home. The mortgage lender’s assessment of your monthly mortgage payment includes the HOA fees. Check your credit score to be sure you are qualified for the increased monthly payment. You will want to be sure the home complies with the CC&Rs before you make an offer.

If the home is out of compliance with the Association, it will be the responsibility of the seller to bring the house or condo back into compliance before the buyer move in. You should look to make sure the HOA has catastrophe insurance, if you’re looking to purchase a home in an area that is prone to hurricanes or tornado, like South Walton Beach.  If it does not, you could be looking at a large sum on a special assessment to fix damage to common areas.

How Much Are South Walton Beach HOA Fees?

One of the most asked questions realtors get from buyers around Santa Rosa Beach and 30a is how much are the HOA fees? Throughout Santa Rosa Beach, Miramar Beach, and 30a you will find HOA fees averaging between $50-$400 per month for homes and $350-$1500 per month for condos. These fees do vary. The biggest factors are the location and the amenities.

So, Now Onto The Pros And Cons Of An HOA:Here Are The Negatives To HOA

The HOA dictates how your property looks. Below is a list of some of the CCRs. They are concerning the look of your property that you might find in an HOA:

  • Exterior paint colors
  • Parking
  • Are RVs allowed on the street, in your driveway?
  • Can you park your boat or boat trailer on your driveway or your property?
  • Fences
  • Holiday décor
  • Lawn maintenance
  • Satellite dishes
  • Laundry drying outdoors
  • Roof and gutter maintenance


The HOA dictates how your property looks. One person’s heaven can be another person’s hell. Depending on your personality, you might love or hate an HOA with a lot of restrictions.

In both the Pro and Con column

Find out about rules concerning noise levels, quiet hours, and pets. Know what is important to you before you move into a community. Is Fido welcome or not at your parties and do they have to end by 10:00 pm?

There are some other cons to consider before buying a property in a South Walton Beach community with an HOA.

  1. HOA fees – these can range from $50 a year to keep the entrance maintained to over $1,500 a month to cover upkeep for a swimming pool, community center, common areas, etc. The more amenities a community offers, the higher the HOA fees.
  2. HOA’s can move to foreclose on a home or condo when the HOA fees are not paid, even if your mortgage payments are up to date.
  3. HOA fees can change, and the HOA can charge for a special assessment. Special assessments are charged when there is not enough money in the account to cover unexpected expenses, like making repairs to the swimming pool or cleaning up the community center after a 100-year flood.A condo may have a special assessment to replace the roof or paint the building.
  4. Poor management can leave common areas neglected or deplete the HOA’s savings account. While outside companies often manage HOA’s, they are generally governed by volunteers from the neighborhood. This can lead to petty disputes and power trips within the governing board that can be passed along to you in the form of unrealistic expectations for your property. Homeowners can take legal action against HOAs that may not be run properly.
  5. Some HOAs are not environmentally friendly because they have a standard of lawn maintenance that requires the use of pesticides and/or sprinklers.

Here Are The Pros For A South Walton Beach HOA

Now that you’ve made it through the cons, and decided you can live with them, let’s take a look at some of the benefits an HOA provides.

The HOA manages disputes between neighbors. If your neighbor’s dog just won’t stay out of your rose bushes, you can issue a complaint to the board of the HOA. First, your neighbor will be sent a written reminder of the CCRs/HOA violation in question. If your neighbor doesn’t comply, the HOA will follow up with a stern warning about the penalty for violating the CCRs. This often comes with a steep fine and resolves the problem while being anonymous.

The HOA manages the upkeep of common areas and community amenities. Some HOAs even cover all exterior maintenance in the neighborhood. By taking care of the exterior maintenance, it allows their residents to enjoy a nicely landscaped community without having to get their hands dirty. If your community has a gym or a pool, your way the boy wake way HOA dues may save you the expense of using an outside facility.

HOAs sometimes include utilities such as water, trash, and cable (were common in the 30a beachfront condos). These expenses would be covered by your fees, freeing you up from the monthly bills.
The HOA provides for uniformity within the neighborhood. Everyone is kept to the same standard for maintenance and landscaping, so homes retain their value. When it’s time to sell, you won’t find your home’s value has decreased over the years.

Within the HOA, decisions are made for the benefit of the entire community or condominium, not just an individual. While this may be frustrating at times, your community will be cleaner and safer for having an HOA. Overall having an HOA in South Walton Beach seems to have more pros than cons. It is likely will be seeing more.

Final Thoughts

Purchasing a 30a property, whether it be a single-family, townhome, or condo, is never a decision to be made lightly. Make sure to research any HOA’s requirements before putting in an offer for your dream home, investment property, or condo. If there are certain restrictions you desire or want to avoid, let your realtor know. He/she can help you find the community that is right for you.

Additional real estate resources

  • There are many condos for sale on 30A that have a wide range of HOA fees. After reading this article you should understand why some are higher beers than others.
  • You may want to look at some of the Miramar Beach condos for sale if you're finding the HOA fees are too high on 30A.

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