Pros & Cons of Homeowner Associations

Pros and Cons of Living Within a Homeowners Association

Ask two different homeowners what they think about living in a community with a homeowners association and you may see one of them scowl and another one smile.

The difference of opinion on homeowners associations, or HOAs, depends on several factors, including individual personalities and preferences and the quality of the particular HOA. Rules and dues vary but, in general, homeowners who live in an HOA must abide by its regulations and pay a monthly, quarterly or annual fee that pays for management and maintenance of the community.

HOA Benefits

Many homeowners prefer to live in an HOA for several reasons, including:

  • Community appearance: Homes within an HOA must meet the standards set by the association or face a fine, so you’re less likely to see unkempt lawns, peeling paint or a garishly painted house. Some HOAs have a design review board with the power to approve any changes to your home’s exterior, and which establishes a color palette for exterior paint and trim. Many HOA’s have rules about how many cars or even what type of vehicles can be parked on your property. For example, they may ban commercial vans or RVs.
  • Low maintenance: Depending on the HOA, services such as trash and snow removal and lawn care are handled by the association, leaving less work for the homeowner. Typically, common areas are maintained by the association.
  • Recreational amenities: While not all HOAs have swimming pools and tennis courts, many offer a range of amenities such as a community center, walking trails, sports courts and playing fields reserved for residents.
  • Association management: If you have a problem with your neighbor’s dog barking, loud parties or a dispute over a tree, you can ask the management to handle the issue rather than getting directly into a spat with the homeowner next door.


Living Within an HOA 

For some buyers, the idea that a management association can tell you when you can put out a decorative flag or that you can’t park your truck in front of your property is a deal-breaker. If you have a concern that something that’s important to you, such as your ability to run a business from your home, could be banned by HOA rules, then be particularly careful to read all the regulations before you buy a home in a community with a homeowners association. This doesn’t mean you can’t buy at all within an HOA, but you’ll have to find one with regulations that meet your requirements.

HOA regulations are usually set by a committee or board of directors and then enforced by a paid management company or a group of volunteers. You can become involved with the HOA in order to have a voice in the decisions being made. Homeowners can request a rule change or an individual waiver, but there’s no guarantee that your request will be granted.

HOA Fees

HOA fees vary as much as HOA regulations and depend on multiple factors such as the amenities in the community and which services are covered by the fees. When you’re buying a home, you need to compare HOA fees from one community to another based on what they cover. You may find that the HOA fee includes a gym membership so you can spend less on a private gym. You should also decide if you’ll use the amenities you’re paying for, such as tennis courts or a swimming pool. Keep in mind, however, that the presence of these amenities can add to your home’s value, even if you don’t directly take advantage of them.

Many homeowners appreciate that HOAs often maintain higher standards for a neighborhood’s appearance, but there’s no question that you need to understand the regulations and costs in every community where you’re considering buying a home.

(Credit: This content originally appeared by Michele Lerner on

2016 Mid-Year Report Very Positive

Mid-Year Report Very Positive

Second quarter sales data indicates a southern Delaware real estate market that has increased in recent months, showing gains over Q1 2016.  

Through the first six months of 2016, more than 2,000 residential homes have been sold in Delaware’s southernmost county.

That’s a 47% quarterly jump in residential volume over Q1 2016, with average DOM sinking.

In the first half of the year, the average home in the county is selling for a median price of $309,489, while the average amount of time on the market  just 147 days.

In total, more than $694 million worth of real estate has changed hands during the first six months of 2016.

The lots/land and commercial segments are also up from Q1, with commercial real estate showing a significant increase in sales volume.

So far in 2016, Sussex Co. REALTORS® have sold 2,369 properties!!

Agreement of Sale for Delaware Residential Property Explained!

NEW – Agreement of Sale for Delaware Residential Property Explained!

July 14, 2016

Fellow Realtors®,

The new Agreement of Sale for Delaware Residential Property is approved, ready for use and accessible through both the dotloop and zipForms libraries. The previous form should be phased out by August 1.

Please share this information with your agents and with your IT staff as well. There have been some reports that email from DAR has been blocked by spam filters. DAR should be whitelisted in all company spam filters.

A series of videos is available to both summarize and explain the recent changes made to the Agreement of Sale. The complete version of the video can be found here. To help you find discussion on specific areas where change has been made, the video has also been sectioned into eight (8) parts:

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Paragraph 3, Payment Terms
Part 3: Paragraph 4, Checkbox of Included Items
Part 4: Paragraph 6 and 7, Mortgage Commitment (Appraisal)
Part 5: Paragraph 11, Transfer Taxes
Part 6: Paragraph 21, Home Inspection
Part 7: Paragraph 24, Buyers Default
Part 8: Final Thoughts

Thank you for helping to ensure a successful transition to the new form.


Bob McVey, President
Delaware Association of Realtors®

Becoming a Sussex County Resident Year Round

New DelmarvaLife Segment – Becoming a Sussex County Resident Year Round

A few weeks ago, SCAOR®’s President-Elect, Brigit Taylor spent some time with Lisa Bryant discussing the great benefits to vacationers choosing Sussex County as a place to call home.  Check it out:

This latest segment on WBOC is one of six that the Association runs every year on the “Delmarva Life” program. (Be sure to check out the previous segment, if you missed that!) The goal is to inform and educate the public on what we do here at the Sussex County Association of REALTORS®. Past shows have included a wide range of topics, including rentals, commercial real estate, public policy issues, special events and many others.  Listen in as they discuss why choosing a REALTOR® is important to the home-buying process.

Why is RPAC important?

Why is RPAC Important?

During the current election cycle, attention has been focused on the large amounts of cash people are raising for their respective campaigns.

More importantly, where is that money coming from?

Well, the answers are simple.  For the most part, their funds originated from people or organizations who favor the opinions and ideology of a specific candidate.

As REALTORS®, regardless of our political affiliation, the one thing we have in common is that we are a part of the REALTOR® party.  That’s why we have the National REALTOR® Political Action Committee (RPAC) to protect our interests and support candidates who publicly support the American Dream of home ownership.

Many of you have generously supported RPAC over the years (and understand the importance of doing so). 

But the work of RPAC and of the REALTOR® Party is important in so many ways, and it can and does actively help us all in our businesses.

Here are a few ways how:

  1. By protecting your business against new regulations and fees. These can become burdensome and expensive if allowed to go unchecked, and it’s up to us to support candidates who will lessen the “red tape” for us and our businesses.
  2. By protecting the property rights of your clients. By contributing to RPAC, you’re helping elect leaders who will protect these rights and will fight to keep homeowners from being unnecessarily burdened by government.
  3. By educating leaders on REALTOR® A percentage of the funds raised through RPAC is used for spreading our message and illustrating how important the real estate business – YOUR BUSINESS – is to the American economy.

There are just a few of the ways contributing to RPAC can help your business locally, and can help further the REALTOR® cause regionally and nationally.

Won’t you consider investing even a small amount today through SCAOR?


Are You Using These 10 Marketing Tips For Your Listings?

Are You Using These 10 Marketing Tips For Your Listings?

Nowadays, there are literally hundreds of ways to market your properties with that end goal in mind. Think creatively and the sky truly is the limit.

However, there are a few mainstays, as well as some relatively new marketing concepts that have proven effective. These are methods you should definitely consider when marketing any of your properties, whether high end beach homes or single-family starter homes.

Here are 10 marketing tips to keep in mind when developing your marketing budget:

  1. Email Marketing.  If you have an email list, by all means use it. And if you don’t – the best time to start is now.  🙂   When you have a new listing, copy the MLS sheet and send it to as many people as you can along with a personal note. You never know who may be looking for a new property at any given time.
  2. Write An Effective Listing. Take the buyer’s perspective.  What would they notice or enjoy knowing about the property / home?  If it’s worth knowing, it’s worth sharing.
  3. Market Seasonally. The year always presents a predictable rhythm.  Why not leverage that rhythm to help sell your listings?  When’s the best time to market a beach house?  When’s the best time to focus on a house with solar panels?
  4. Use Social Media. You’d be surprised how many agents don’t use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other methods to market their properties. Joining the conversation online is a great way to remain top-of-mind for your clients.
  5. Always Publicize Your Cell Phone. If you’re comfortable doing so, include your mobile number in your marketing efforts. The more immediately people can reach you, the better your chances of landing a sale.
  6. Video Marketing. YouTube gives you a free means of sharing the experience of the house.  Adding a video tour gets your client that much closer to the sale.
  7. Use Your Website. All of your listings should be properly displayed on your personal Website. Include as much information as you can and all of your contact information.
  8. Write a Blog. Write a blog about each of your listings and post them on your Website.  You can embed the video tours (#6) & past client testimonials.
  9. Use Expert Photography. Photo quality is one of the first things potential buyers will notice about your listing is the photos.  Spending some of your marketing budget on professional photography is never a bad idea.
  10. Word of Mouth Marketing. This is the oldest form of marketing, yet still one of the most effective. Treat every client well and they will tell others; trust is the best currency!

What about you??  Do you have any “go-to” marketing tips that help you make the sale?  Join the conversation below!

Is Your Website ADA Compliant?

ADA Compliance

Here’s a question: Have you ever considered any problems the disabled might encounter trying to access or download information online?  

Unless you deal each day with these ideas, chances are that online access does not fall into that realm of thought.

There may come a day soon, however, where you’ll definitely need to add this to your online “to do list,” as courts around the country are currently deciding on the issue of whether the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) extends to the Internet.

Some courts have indeed found that websites must be made accessible to people with visual and other impairments. While the ADA itself doesn’t address this issue, that’s only because the 1990 legislation predates the widespread use of the Internet.

Looking toward the future, it may be prudent to make your websites ADA compliant today, before being forced to meet an arbitrary deadline sometime in the future.

But how can you do that? Well, here are a few tips:

  1. Contact your website expert and inquire about the current accessibility of your site.
  2. Learn how your site scores on the “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0” standards created by the World Wide Web Consortium.
  3. Learn about programs that add text descriptions to complex graphics, voiceovers that read aloud and/or transcripts of videos.
  4. Add a feedback form to your site so users can tell you about what accessibility features you may need to add or improve upon.
  5. BE PROACTIVE. Addressing these issues now can prevent legal and time sensitive problems later.

The National Association of REALTORS® recommends the above steps and others in order to ensure compliance with the ADA, both now and in the future.

Watch the video below to learn more about this issue:


How do you feel about this or other current issues going on in the world of real estate? Leave us your comments below and join in on the discussion.

Get REALTOR® Campaign

Building on the hugely successful advertising campaign that once urged consumers to “Get Milk,” the National Association of REALTORS® has embarked on a similar effort that instead prompts prospective home buyers and sellers to always utilize the knowledge and expertise of a properly trained REALTOR®.  

Modern Family Clip

Dubbed “Get REALTOR®,” the campaign launched in February and according to NAR’s Website, “targets hyper-connected and emerging generations of home buyers, sellers, owners and investors.”   Primarily aimed at millennials, the advertising push is meant to discourage younger homebuyers from attempting the home buying or selling process alone.   NAR President Tom Salomone of Florida put it best:

“When it comes to real estate and the Internet, today’s consumers don’t always know what they don’t know.”  

The bottom line and the focus of the “Get REALTOR®” campaign is that unforeseen problems and issues are inevitably going to arise. The process can be a complex minefield of financing, inspections, legal documents, disclosures, negotiations, and any number of other possible pitfalls.   It’s navigating this potential minefield that sets REALTORS® apart from mere real estate agents.  

To further educate the public on this important distinction, NAR has also partnered with the ABC television network via a special integration deal.   If you missed the recent episode of the popular “Modern Family” television program where main character Phil Dunphy, played by actor Ty Burrell, explained his work as a licensed REALTOR®, then here’s a clip to explain the program and the goals of the advertising campaign.  

  Programs like this assist greatly with the main “Get REALTOR®” advertising campaign that’s hit television, print media and online sites since the beginning of 2016.   And they help all of us do our jobs that much better. After all, SCAOR is comprised of REALTOR® members, so educating the public on the key advantages of using a licensed REALTOR® can only benefit each and every one of us.

New Design Available Today!

Say, what?

Arriving today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve streamlined to be cleaner, more compact, and easier to navigate.  We wanted to give you a design that looked great on whatever device or browser you might be using.  Phone?  Desktop?  Tablet?  All good.

You Keep Changing Things!!

Absolutely, we are.  We believe in constant improvement, and that helps us serve everyone better.  Just as food that starts fresh gets stale over time, we believe that anything that sits still for too long will start to stink 😉  That’s why we’ve been pursuing the latest standards in design and code.  It’s also a significant step toward making SCAOR’s site ADA complient.

So, What’s New Then?

Aesthetically?  A lot.  Navigation-wise?  Hardly anything.  And that’s the great news.  All the buttons are in the same place that you’d expect them to be; Just more prominent, and better-labelled.

new site redesign

What if I Don’t See it Yet?  …..And What’s Next?

Patience.  It’ll show up within the next 24 hours.  If you don’t already see the new design here, try the site again in a few hours.

And leave a comment below letting us know what you think!  We’d love your feedback.

Sussex County Association of Realtors

Phone: 302-855-2300 | Fax: 302-855-2319

MLS Login Send us an Email Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter