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Depending on your point of view, the homeowners association (or HOA) where you live can either be an oppressive mob boss, or they can be your “muscle”. These organizations have a significant influence over the neighborhood or buildings in their jurisdiction, and depending on how they operate, this can be a very good thing – contributing to the betterment and aesthetic of the community.

If you’re thinking about buying a home, and that home includes membership in a homeowners association, how can you find out whether or not the HOA will be a good fit for you? Well, you may be able to get a hold of their bylaws. If so, try to be as familiar with them as you can be. Check the rate of foreclosure in the neighborhood, since HOAs can perform “non-judicial foreclosures” on homeowners who don’t pay their dues. If possible, you could also try talking to some of your future neighbors to see how they view the HOA.

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