Association living can be a wonderful alternative to a traditional single family home for many people however one size does not fit all. The various forms of ownership within Association living allows the opportunity to often purchase a home in the neighborhood of your choice at a reduced price point as compared to a single family home. In addition the common area maintenance is handled by the association meaning you won’t be spending your weekends cutting the lawn, plowing the driveway or planting flowers.
A deeper dive into Association living, finds that there are governing documents that you must familiarize yourself with prior to making the decision to purchase in an association. These documents will outline your responsibilities and those of the association. These documents limit how you may use your home in ways that single family homes are not restricted. For example, it is quite possible that you will not be able to get that Labrador retriever your wife has wanted or that you can not have your friend the contractor over at 8pm to gut your bathroom.
One of the biggest issues with all association is limited space. Developers, like any successful business, are in business to make a profit and that typically means maximizing the land with as many units as the town will permit. Parking is often very tight and precisely allocated. Many associations have no guest parking on site and limit the number of vehicles a unit owner may have on the property. This needs to be taken into account by the potential purchaser.
Living in an association with shared walls or with another unit above or below you is also something that needs to be considered. For example, this will often limit the type of flooring that may be installed in a unit. While it should be expected that you will hear your neighbors from time to time and they will hear you, you should not expect to have your closest 30 friends over to watch the big game.
Association living requires residents to use common sense and courtesy with respect to their daily actions and interactions with their neighbors. If you take the time to understand the association that governs the unit you are looking to make your home and how the restrictions will affect you and your lifestyle, Association living may be right for you!