According to the August LANDTHINK Pulse results, 74% of respondents said “YES”, they WOULD buy land in an HOA-governed community that required them to display the American flag in front of their property year-round. If you’re looking to buy land and build a home, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter several properties governed by homeowners associations, commonly known as HOAs. A new community in North Carolina is causing a stir because of the HOA requirement that homeowners fly an American flag at all times at their home and will require residents to espouse patriotism, pledge their allegiance to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as well as to support the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The story drew so much attention and created enough social media debate that it prompted us to poll our LANDTHINK audience.
Last month, the August Pulse asked: Would you buy land in a community that requires you to display the American flag in front of your property?
An HOA is a governing structure for a planned community. It’s an organization made up of people who own homes in the same community. The entity maintains the community’s standards of living and sets the rules for the community.
The North Carolina housing development that will require American flags on all homes is located in Gastonia, North Carolina, 30 minutes outside Charlotte, and is set to welcome new residents by early 2024. The 43-home neighborhood, called 1776 Gastonia, will serve as a housing development for those 55 and older. This development, which the company has described as “where freedom lives”, is for homeowners 55 and older. Brock Fankhauser, the owner and founder of Great American Homes, the real estate developer who launched the project, has pledged to donate a home with no mortgage, free of cost, to a wounded veteran through the nonprofit Building Homes for Heroes.
Video footage from the groundbreaking shows a crane dangling a giant US flag over the site, where parcels of land range from $17,500 to $75,000. Fankhauser said each resident will be given an American flag upon the purchase of their Great American Home and will be required to fly the US flag on their properties, on a pole provided and maintained by the subdivision. Fankhauser said the American flag is like an “architectural element”, and every prospective homebuyer will be aware of the HOA requirements before moving in.
Aside from the flags, the development will showcase patriotism is other ways. Streets will carry names such as Constitution Lane, Betsy Ross Court (after the woman credited with creating the first American flag) and Paul Revere Drive. 1776 Gastonia is part of an even newer type of neighborhood, where community members presumably share ideals or interests.
While Great American Homes will require homeowners to agree to the terms, Fankhauser has indicated that the company will not impose penalties on anyone who does not conform to the community’s rules. In an interview with Fox News, Fankhauser said that the community “embraces freedom” and is “heavily reliant on the mutual pledges that people make to each other.”
If you plan on buying land to build on, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter several properties governed by homeowners associations. Approximately 26% of the US population lives in HOA communities. There are many benefits of HOAs, but some possible drawbacks exist along with the pros. Develop a complete understanding of the pros and cons of HOAs to choose the best community for your new home.
- Access to numerous amenities
- Less maintenance
- You will reside in a well-groomed neighborhood
- Neighbor disputes will be handled by the HOA
- Higher resale values
- You’ll fork over HOA dues
- You’ll lose some of your freedom
- Unexpected fees and fines
- Defaulting on HOA fees has repercussions
There are times when an HOA isn’t necessary—for example, when you are thinking about buying land out in the country. However, if the property you’re considering is in a neighborhood, a place with an HOA is a good bet for maintaining property value. It is not uncommon to find that most spacious estate lots even in rural areas are governed by an HOA.
Our survey revealed that 26% of our audience WOULD NOT buy land in an HOA-governed community that required them to display the American flag in front of their property year-round. No one likes to be forced to do anything and no one likes to be told what to think. Many of the respondents who answered “NO” shared with us their reasoning. They felt that forcing patriotism onto anyone also betrays that great freedom of choice we all have, even the ones who view patriotism as a defining factor of who they are.
If you don’t agree with HOA policies or can’t afford the dues, you can choose to live outside an HOA by purchasing rural land that does not have a governing community association. When you begin your property search, make it clear to your land agent that you do not want to live under an HOA. By weighing the pros and cons, you can determine whether buying land in an HOA community aligns with your preferences and lifestyle.
Do you have a suggestion for next month’s Pulse question? Submit your question and we might choose yours!
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