It seems like these days there are more home improvement, property flipping, or real estate reality shows than ever before. These can be somewhat helpful to you if you’re a prospective first-time property owner, since you can learn some of the vocabularies of homeownership and real estate, and can get ideas for what you do and don’t like when it comes to a home.

However, there is one thing that these shows often tend to coast over that is a pretty significant part of owning property – Homeowners Associations (HOA). These organizations create and enforce rules that govern a lot of different aspects of properties in a given area. HOAs can either be very beneficial, or they can be a major headache. Since that’s the case, before you commit to the purchase of a property, be sure to spend some time determining whether or not an HOA is present in the neighborhood, and try to learn everything there is to know about it.

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