Considering buying a home in an HOA? There’s a lot you need to know before closing the deal. Although there are many benefits that come along with a Homeowners Association, you have to make sure that it’s the right fit for you.
Make sure you grasp the whole situation by asking these fundamental questions.
What Are The Rules and Regulations?
Every Homeowner’s Association has specific rules and guidelines that must be followed--some more strict than others. You’ll want to make sure these rules coincide with your lifestyle.
For example, some HOAs have a limit on the number of pets you can have. If the limit is two but you own more, that can be an automatic issue. Ask your agent to procure the most recent set of association rules and inquire about any new regulations they may be planning to issue.
Who Manages the Property?
Whether it’s an apartment, condo, or neighborhood, all HOAs have a property manager. Working as the connection between residents and the board, most official interactions will be through the property manager. Even if you have a good HOA, the property manager can end up being troublesome if you don’t mesh well.
It’s a good idea to meet the manager before buying the property. Ask the association about details of the property manager’s history. How long have they been working here? Have they had complaints filed against them? If so, about what? It’s smart to know who you’ll be dealing with and how they interact with other residents.
What Are the Fee Details?
Living in a community with an HOA means you are legally required to pay various fees. How much are the fees? How often are they due? Since amounts often change, you can ask for a record of the past fee adjustments. By doing so, you can anticipate how often they usually change and by how much.
You’ll also want to find out what exactly these fees cover. Where is your money going? Potential buyers need to know precisely what they’re paying for and what else they will need to account for while budgeting.
Do Your Own Research
You can ask questions all day long, but it’s impossible to get the full feel of an association without digging a little deeper. Every member of the board can be a bit different, and the best way to learn about all the personalities at play is to read through the minutes from past HOA meetings.
This may take some time, but you’ll be able to see what types of things they discuss and what they’re most concerned about. By doing so, you’ll gain an inside look beyond what they’re telling you before you buy.