Moving into a planned development often requires you to join the community’s HOA and pay its fees to help cover the upkeep of common areas, shared structures, and exteriors. Membership also binds you to the association’s covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R). Those rules could thwart your dream of having a purple front door, say, or of leaving your RV in the driveway since the CC&Rs typically include stipulations about the appearance of your home and the vehicles you can park outside it.
Statistically speaking, Americans have a one in five chance of living in a home that’s part of an HOA, according to a data analysis by applied microeconomist Wyatt G. Clarke.1 Since Clarke’s estimate was drawn up (in 2017), properties with HOAs have further surged.2
Is life in a planned development a good option for you? And, if so, which ones have HOAs that may suit you best? The answers to those questions depend not only your finances but your enthusiasm for shared amenities, tolerance for rules and regulations, and comfort with self-government—since most HOAs are overseen by volunteers who live in the development.

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