To HOA or Not to HOA… A Real Estate Question

Jerry Sullivan
Century 21 Blue Marlin

This issue, Jerry Sullivan with Century 21 Blue Marlin takes on the topic of homeowners’ associations (HOAs).


Sullivan has been involved in commercial and residential real estate for over 14 years, including management, construction and ownership of a successful real estate company right here on the Emerald Coast.


If you have a specific real estate topic you would like to see addressed in future issues, email


By Jerry Sullivan, Century 21 Blue Marlin Real Estate


When you start the process to purchase a condominium, townhouse or another type of property in a planned development such as a gated community, you are often obligated to join that community’s homeowners’ association (HOA) and pay monthly or annual HOA fees for the upkeep of common areas and the building.


At Century 21 Blue Marlin, we have been in tune with these organizations and have some light to shed on their influence on you as an owner.


Living in a home that is a part of an HOA means that the association gets to determine the acceptable appearance for your home. The paint color, where you park your car, how often you landscape or mow your lawn, and how you decorate your home’s exterior for the holidays may all be scrutinized by the HOA.


If all of these rules seem reasonable to you and are in line with how you are likely to maintain your home anyway, this community may be right for you. If not, you may want to consider other housing options.


Love thy neighbor? One advantage of an HOA is mediating disputes between neighbors. The association will contact a neighbor about a noisy dog or loud party, alleviating awkward neighborly interactions. And there may very well be a rule about noise levels after hours that the association will be able to enforce.


You won’t spend your Saturdays cleaning the pools with an HOA. HOA homeowners handle the upkeep of recreational areas, so the pool and tennis courts in a neighborhood are likely to be maintained in a good condition.


At the end of the day, the decision to purchase a home with an HOA versus one that does not all comes down to personal preference. Many homeowners appreciate that HOA rules often help maintain higher standards for a neighborhood’s appearance, but there’s no question that you need to understand the regulations and costs in every community where you’re considering buying a home.


For more information, give Century 21 Blue Marlin a call at 850-837-7800 or browse our inventory online at

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