We didn’t love the idea of an HOA, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives in many cases. We built our home in a new subdivision that was formerly farmland. There was not a single tree in the whole neighborhood when we started building (we were among the first 12-15 houses). The HOA has planted hundreds of trees, created and maintained beautiful common areas, installed a playground, stocked lakes with fish, and planned community events. The president rides around on a golf cart, picking up trash and chatting with neighbors. He’s not a power-hungry maniac, just a good guy who cares about the neighborhood. We have rules, but they are enforced with a great amount of leniency (for example, we’re not allowed to park campers or boats in driveways, but no one is getting fined for having it there a day or two). I’m guessing most HOAs are much like ours. It’s just that we’re too boring to make the news. The HOA in a nearby town that insists on approving the colors you paint INSIDE your house makes a much more interesting story! But I know they’re the exception, not the rule.