is to look at whether your house needs some fixing up. Take responsibility for what you own and keep it up - at least in line with the better looking houses in the neighborhood (don't aim low and just not be the ugliest - you should aim mid to high). The fist step to liberty is taking personal responsibility for what you need to be responsible for.
Most of the time, that will keep you off the radar of the busybodies who want to control your life - it's much easier to bother irresponsible people.
But, as we all know, sometimes it won't keep you off their radar. Then you take the other advice you read here.
And this is why I will never buy a house where I must sign an HOA agreement - you think I want to yield control over my most expensive possession to a group of Gestapo wanna-be's? Not anytime soon.