Homeowners associations (HOAs) cover many residential properties today. They usually manage units in planned development communities, such as condominiums and townhouses. Hence, there’s a big chance you’ll stumble with one while finding a property to buy. And it will surely play a big role in making your final decision before the purchase.
What to consider about Homeowners Associations before Sealing a Deal?
Wanting to buy a home but you’ve found out an HOA covers it? Learn these valuable points before making up your mind:
Fees and Charges
One of the biggest concerns for buyers is the monthly fees homeowners’ association imposes. In 2015, records show $331 is the average fee in the USA. But it varies greatly from one community to another. Hence, you can find a community with a $150 monthly fee, or as high as $600.
Rates depend on the inclusion you’d enjoy while living in the property. For example, one which has a community gate, swimming pool, and a golf course would ask for higher rates than one without those. Note that such amenities need proper maintenance to keep them in good condition for the community.
On a side note, some homeowners’ associations ask additional fees every now and then. Usually, they do it to fund unexpected expenses, such as replacing roofing or HVAC system in a condominium.
Be sure to consider what you’re paying for. Different HOAs mean different inclusions for your payment as well. Hence, ask your realtor to get a complete list of inclusions, which should include the following among others:
- Amenities such as swimming pools, sports facilities, community gates, and security systems among other features.
- Many state laws mandate homeowners associations to provide home insurance as well, such as fire, catastrophe, and appliance insurance among others.
- Cleanliness, maintenance and repair services, especially for public facilities in the community.
Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions
Get hold of the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) agreement of a homeowners’ association. This will tell you the rules and regulations to follow when choosing to live in a property they cover.
This includes legal do’s and don’ts while in the property, up to modifications you can do to your unit or home. For instance, they often dictate the colors allowed for your external walls or the type of plants allowed for your lawn among other conditions. Be sure you can live with all the covenants, conditions and restrictions of a property before buying it.
Implementation of Rules
Know about how a homeowners’ association enforce or implement their rules and regulations among homeowners. Do they enforce penalties and fees? Do they have the power to foreclose a property because of failures in paying? Or do they file lawsuits against violators?
Finally, know how a homeowners’ association functions and serve the homeowners in a community. Be sure they properly implement points in the CC&Rs. Thus, ask homeowners in a community if they indeed observe and enjoy the service by the association governing them. If the entity is managed by a third-party company, search about such service and gather some reviews.
These are the basic and most important points to consider for homeowner’s associations before buying a property. The main point is, be sure to find one in which CC&Rs fit your needs and preferences. Hence, ask your real estate agent to help you consider HOAs while searching for a home.
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