When people hear the words “Home Owners Association” in my office, oftentimes a note of terror is introduced into the room. Many HOA’s are restrictive to the point (in my opinion) of ridiculousness. Some restrictions I’ve heard of are extreme, down to the type of plants allowed to be planted. Luckily, in my back yard, most of the HOA’s are more protective than restrictive. It’s common to see restrictions against junk cars, or junk appliance’s in the yard. Or to see a prohibition against dumping waste in your yard.

Still, there is the inevitable flinch when it’s mentioned, especially with the fees associated with the group.  And if you’re new to an HOA or had a bad experience with one, there are a few things that are need to know about our area of the mountains.

There are two types of HOA fees in our area. We do run into “subdivisions” that have voluntary road or water fees. As always, there are two edges to a sword. On one hand, you don’t have an obligatory fee that is paid every month (or annually). But that also means, that when the road needs repaired, a couple loads of gravel, or paved you might be paying the lions share just to get it done.

With your standard HOA, the fees are not voluntary. They are required to be paid to help with maintenance issues like roads and sometimes even water if you have a shared well or a community system. When buying a house with in a subdivision with an HOA, make sure to find out if the HOA is strong, and manages the money well.

*Hint: a good way to tell a well-managed HOA from a bad one is to drive through it. Too many pot holes could be a sign that there isn’t enough money in the account to repair the roads*

“Whoa Dex! You’re telling me I have to share a well with someone?”

A shared well is very common in our area. Up to 14 houses are allowed to be on a single well according to the state of NC (if the well can support that many houses). I’ve drilled 28 wells in my time developing property. I experienced the dream (80 gallons a minute) and the nightmare (1 pint a minute). A shared well does mean that someone else is using the same well, but it also means someone else is sharing in the expense of maintenance and repairs.

The same can be said of the road repairs & maintenance. Yes, someone else is using the road. But they are also paying to help with upkeep.

Taking care of your road can be expensive, especially if you are the only one doing so.

You may be perfectly fine with being responsible for everything yourself. Or you may be more interested in sharing the responsibility with neighbors.  Whichever way you choose, make sure you are well informed and know exactly what you’re taking on.

If you have any questions about HOA’s, or real estate, or about Murphy, NC and the surrounding areas, contact me and my team!