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What about HOA's?

Many times I am asked if condo's or townhomes are a good investment due to the HOA fees. While condo's and townhome's may not be for all, they are a great option for many. There are pro's and con's as with any real estate purchase.  There are those professionals who just do not have the time to maintain a home much less exterior...condo's and/or townhomes may very well fit their needs... There are others who just have no interest in maintaining a yard or exterior but want a "home of their own"...Whatever the reason there are various types of projects that offer varying floor plans, amenities , commute locations etc...
One must do their research on HOA's and the various projects. You must read through all of the HOA documents, financials, CC&R's and by laws PRIOR to purchasing the home.  As with any real estate contract you are given x amount of days to review all disclosures and documents required of seller to present as well as HOA documents.
Each HOA project has their own rules and regulations, while most HOA fees include the exterior, roof and common area maintenance on occasion you will run into HOA's where the fees do take care of ongoing exterior maintenance but not the roof. Some just take care of common areas and not the exterior.  Most  allow pets typically with some type of restriction in numbers or size.(Typically most that have patio's the homeowners are required at least to maintain and keep trim the space within the patio boundaries)
Some are apartment conversions and the noise level may be an issue as there may or may not be adequate insulation between the units.
You want to check financial stability and reserves and whether any assessments are due to come up(read the monthly HOA minutes provided to you) or call the HOA directly and ask them specific questions. Make sure there are no lawsuits pending.... in some cases we have seen lawsuits pending between the HOA and the builder of the project for defects.... Typically most lenders will NOT loan on a project in litigation requiring all cash to purchase it.
You want to check owner occupancy ratios--- if there are more tenants than owners is the overall appearance still being maintained by the Association or is it showing signs of need of repairs etc.  (Important re: loans and getting loan approval-if the HOA owner /occupancy ratio is low may only allow for all cash buyers...
Many have pools and spa;s, several have clubhouses you can rent out or reserve, tennis courts, garages, carports  etc.
If you are one that does not like rules and regulations and does not want to be limited in what paint color scheme, type of roof replaced or installed , pet restrictions etc you do not want to buy into a home with HOA fees.
On the other hand, if rules and regulations do not bother you, you would rather pay a known monthly fee for exterior maintenance instead of coming up with several thousand dollars at once for a new roof etc., purchasing a condo or townhouse may be the best decision you make.
Only you can make that decision.... Before going out to purchase real estate make sure you have a list of must haves, want to haves as well as your overall goals for at least the next 5 yrs to help you assess whether buying a single family home and/or a condo would be better suited for you.
There are several well maintained condo and townhome projects in and around the Pleasant Hill area to consider.