Minne, there's a difference between owning your land free and simple, and being subject to an HOA or condo association. Yes, I do know people who were given hundred dollars fines for washing their car. Or parking next to their kitchen to unload groceries. Or, heaven forbid, putting up a clothesline.
And don't even think of parking nose-out (safer, proven by statistics) instead of nose-in, when that's also required.
I'd never buy into one of those heavy-restricted deed arrangements, but they are far and wide the most popular thing in the country and in some places, you'd be hard pressed to find "just a plain title" available anymore.
You buy into one of these "communities" and you see your neighbor washing his car...No, it is no surprise, but then you call the HOA and report it. As you're expected to do.
Nice way to live, huh? Keeps the riff-raff like you and me out, too.
Quite a broad brush you are painting with here
We downsized from a house we owned all the land to a townhouse ( 2400sq Fft) where the land is part of a larger community property. We have an HOA which is ELECTED. They take care of the grounds, snow removal, community pool, clubhouse with workout center, all the things I gladly wanted to give up so I had more time to sail or do other things. There is not Gestapo HOA here. No one fines people for washing cars, pull;ing them in wrong etc. Yes all of front doors are painted the same....big deal. No one forces anyone to buy here, just like no one forces anyone to become a memeber of our sailing club, but if you do want to you do have to conform to the rules. And yes maybe it is the reason it is a good investment as our property value continue to rise in the community cause we keep the rift raft out. We have that right. You dont have to live here if you dont want.
you always have the right to live where you want.