Recently a question was asked about finding a condo in Las Vegas without HOA dues. The person asking has the very reasonable fear about increasing dues and ridiculous rules. They mentioned they had done "some research" which seemed to increase their anxiety about buying a property with an HOA.
I've posted my answer for anyone with the same reservations about homeowner's associations and welcome your comments about your experiences (good or bad) with HOAs.
When I moved to Las Vegas from New York over 8 years ago, I didn't like the idea of an HOA either. It seemed not only an unnecessary expense, but a threat to my individualism and freedom of choice. However...I've changed my mind. The fact that I can't paint my front door any color I want, is for me, a small price to pay so that my neighbor can not paint his door whatever color he wants. We can all, however paint the inside of our doors any color of the rainbow and there's nothing the HOA can do about that!...I don't think ;)
I noticed you mentioned you did some research which led you decide you don't want an HOA. That may very well be be the best solution for you, but I do recommend you stay open to the idea of having an HOA at least until you've had a chance to visit a few communities with and without HOAs, even if you're considering a house.
Consider this: Nobody writes news stories or posts blogs and comments about how much they like their HOA. So, when you're looking around for info about HOAs you will come across only the problems and complaints and not get a true and balanced picture of what an HOA can do for the community. Remember, the home owners association is run by homeowners in the community and although in some cases they can be a PIA, most of them, most of the time are helping keep the community maintained, and therefore helping to keep property values up.
If you're thinking about a single family home instead of the condo you'll also want to consider property taxes. You may save $125/month in condo fees, but have to pay $1500 a year more in property taxes for the single family home and have maintenance and landscape costs on top of that. So you could think of your HOA payment like a tax, if that helps.
Another thing you could do is when making an offer, require the seller to pay the dues for 5 years or so. Some builders are offering these type of incentives on new construction, but there's no reason you can't get the same type of deal on a resale.
Feel free to search my site for your Las Vegas home or condo at www.vegasproperty4u.com/property_request.shtml Search on your own, or fill out the property request and I'll email property that match your criteria complete with pictures, addresses, maps, aerial images, and more.