Many community associations offer services and amenities that most Americans cannot afford on their own: swimming pools, tennis courts, playgrounds, lakes and ponds, professional security, even golf courses. These communities also provide some degree of protection against neighborhood degradation and deterioration-cars on cinder blocks, dilapidated homes or yards that are not maintained.
Community associations offer choices, lifestyles, amenities, services and efficiencies that people value. More than 63 million Americans choose to live in condominium and homeowner associations, cooperatives and other planned communities. For many, a condominium or planned community can be the most affordable way to own a home. Others are drawn to the architectural uniformity of the neighborhood or the landscaping. Still others are attracted by recreational amenities and social opportunities.
But with all of their inherent advantages, community associations occasionally face complicated issues, none more common than the challenge of balancing the best interests of the community as a whole with the preferences of individual residents. Issues often arise because of unrealistic expectations, misinformation and misunderstanding.
You can help ensure a more positive and fulfilling community experience by learning all you can about a community before you buy a home.
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