When you move into a neighborhood with an HOA in place for the first time, you might not be sure what to expect. The interesting thing about HOAs is that their power and scope can vary greatly from location to location. In some locations they even have the power to do a non-judicial foreclosure, selling a member’s home when they fail to pay the dues after several reminders. This has caused some nightmare stories, but of course, that is only something that happens in extreme cases.
To find out what the HOA is like in a neighborhood before you move in, you might be able to make some discreet inquiries from the neighbors to see how they feel about it. You should also keep an eye out for a neighborhood that has many foreclosures in it.
While the purpose of an HOA usually is to keep the neighborhood in good shape and safe, there are always exceptions to the rule where an HOA starts overreaching and makes life for everyone difficult.