Now that I've got a good job, the wife and I are starting to look heavily for a house. But it seems that in our area, the only single family houses that are less than 10-15 years old come with HOA fees. I can understand these for townhomes or condos where all exterior maintenance/lawncare is provided, etc., but for single family homes the overwhelming number of HOAs is staggering. There are lots of new construction single family home developments, the kind where you choose a floor plan from a set number of choices/prices/models, then have a little bit of option picking like countertops, colors, etc. These without exception all are saddled with HOAs. My friend just built a new house in one of these. Great house, great neighborhood, but he's stuck paying an HOA fee on top of his mortgage payment, to the tune of about $200 a month which is ridiculous. Getting out of the new developments, even many/most houses that are 10-15 years old have HOAs attached to them. It's quite disheartening. I can find nice home after nice home after nice home, and before I even scroll down to look I know they have HOA fees, and they almost always do. Perhaps it's just me, but these seem like the anti-Christ of American; here's an association which can dictate what you can and cannot do on your own property that you purchased, and if you don't comply, they can actually put a lien against YOUR property that YOU bought. Maybe it's just me, but considering the old adage about the American dream being to own your own property where nobody can tell you what to do as that's your and only your corner of the world, it seems pretty ass-backwards to work hard for a property just to actually pay someone in your neighborhood an annual/monthly for the privilege of telling you what you can and cannot do on it, such as how many vehicles you can have, or what colors your house can't be, or where to put your garbage cans on non-garbage days. Of course the idea here is that by having an HOA, nobody's property goes to hell and the houses stay nice, which I can understand. But at the same time, if you are actually living in a neighborhood with houses that are that nice, does an HOA even serve a purpose, presuming that people that live in houses that nice aren't trashy enough to need to be told how to maintain their property to begin with? I mean if I can afford to live in a neighborhood like that, I'm pretty sure I and 95% of the people there can manage to take basic care of our property without someone else telling us what to do, with legal authority over our property that they put exactly $0 into owning. I asked my friend what he gets for his $200 a month, and he really wasn't sure. He certainly isn't getting his lawn mowed, driveway snow blowed, or house painted...but he is getting regulated. I'm befuddled by these HOAs in single family home neighborhoods. You literally pay someone in your neighborhood to regulate what you do on your own property. My friend's HOA prohibits him from working on vehicles on his property. How dare you open the hood of your car to detail the engine bay on your car in your driveway at your home! Would they really put a lien on my house if they saw me outside with a buffer on a nice spring day, or if I was outside washing my car once a week? It seems like HOAs are greatly increasing in number compared to 15 years ago, which in my area weren't too common then. It seems now that the only way to avoid them is to either build a million dollar full custom home, or buy a really old house somewhere that was built before these things ever popped up. To me, HOAs just seem extremely un-American. Thoughts? EDIT: A brief list of pros and cons according to Dave Ramsey: https://www.daveramsey.com/newslett...r-august2010?ectid=elprenl_0810_final1_online Most of his pros actually seem like cons, like being required to keep your garage door shut. Honestly? **** that.