Handle With Kids’ Gloves: An Insider’s Tip for Dealing With Your HOA

by | BiggerPockets.com

Home Owner Associations are the bane of most homeowners, let alone real estate investors, existence. They are created as an entity with a community elected board that mainly consists of a President, Treasurer, and Secretary that can last 1-3 years. Their purpose is to maintain the community facilities and govern and enforce the rules of the community. They can do a great job of keeping sidewalks plowed during snowfall, the lawns healthy, and the look of the neighborhood consistent. However, they can also fine and threaten residents with legal actions when their rules aren’t being followed, and quite often bite into your cash flow. Knowing how to deal with these entities with maturity the savvy set can make receiving these violation letters a little more easily to deal with in your real estate business.

Related: Real Estate Investors Fight HOAs

Treating Your HOA With Kids’ Gloves

About Author

Lisa Phillips

Lisa Phillips is an REI coach that exclusively advises everyday investors on how to cash in on working class neighborhoods for higher profits with sensible investing strategies. You can meet with her live at her weekend intensives or retreats, in the 4700+ member Sub30k Mastermind Group, or on Google+ here!


  1. Sara Cunningham on

    Lisa, great for those who are not so familiar with the HOA scenarios. I happen to have been on both sides of the fence personally. I have been President, Vice President and secretary on 3 different committees. Yes these people can be a pain. You are right though when you say that having the right attitude and working with these people as opposed to working against will work wonders. I was one of those people that would sit and discuss the actions required to deal with defiant homeowners who just wouldn’t stick to that little book of rules. Sometimes we would debate for hours what shall we do to this homeowner etc. Unfortunately sometimes it did come down to putting liens against properties for non payment of dues or charges for getting their lawns mowed etc. especially those homes where the owner was totally unco-operative. Now those that were polite and made the right noises were usually left to get the situation corrected and didn’t get those violation letters and ultimately those letters issuing a lien against the property. I personally only have 1 property that falls into this category at the moment. The city I have all my properties in has given me far more headaches with violation letters threatening to charge me or put liens against my properties for unkemp grass, trash, tree limbs etc littering the property. Fortunately I have a great property management company that has had the tenants get the property cleared before it has got to that point each time. I agree though if it’s a choice between HOA or no HOA I would choose to go without especially in lower income blue collar areas.

  2. Sara, GREAT comment! And, I don’t dislike HOA or presidents personally, its all just because it chafes having someone tell you what to do with your own property. But, I’ve learned fighting just really doesnt work 🙂 So, I say give in with dignity and grace. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Well, while I generally agree that staying away from property purchases where there are HOA’s, one thing to particularly look into is the financial status of the home owners association. Also, are there any pending lawsuits? Those can be very challenging, if those exist. As a matter of fact, if you’re getting conventional financing, you may not be able to get approved for the conventional financing if there are any lawsuits that are pending with the HOA.
    Ask me how I know.

    • Dumitru Anton

      Yep, How do you know? (sorry, i was in the same boat, my current residence purchase was delayed 2 weeks because the HOA lady didn’t communicate with my lawyer about any possible lawsuits).
      also something else to check: many properties advertised on MLS as rental approved by HOA, when in fact only a certain % is approved or gran-fathered in.

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