The past year has been my first time living in a "strata property". I believe it is the Australian equivalent to HOA, but I'm not sure. (We probably need to be careful on this thread to avoid legal advice!)
Basically, in our case we are in free-standing houses but there are 4 on the same property, so technically they are "townhouses", and all with the same "look" and a shared driveway. We each own our own home, but the external area is shared property. There is an external "property management" company to whom we pay regular dues, and a property manager who facilitates meetings between all owners, a very businesslike process. The money we pay covers admin costs, insurance, maintenance, and also a fund for improvements such as exterior painting or resurfacing the driveway. Many strata properties are apartments or joined dwellings, ours is slightly unusual in that it is freestanding houses, but the same strata rules apply due to the property title and development.
Because DH and I have pets we have always lived in houses with yards, and by pure chance never lived in a strata property until now, despite the fact that a significant percentage of properties in this city are strata properties, due to development. I have to say I definitely find it feels odd to me. Day to day it has little effect, but when it comes to changing anything external just knowing that we *should* be consulting others or that somebody else can technically tell us no, does feel restrictive in comparison to having a house on separate title. I loathe the grey fence, which is only a few metres away from our lovely open glass ranch slider doors - but it's a relatively new fence and there's no way all of the neighbours would agree to pay to replace it! So there are decisions such as that which make a big difference.
So - what type of housing situation are you in? What do you like or dislike about it and why?