Joining a Home Owners Association? Know What Questions to Ask.
By John Voket
Neighborhood Link (neighborhoodlink.com) defines a HOA or Homeowner Association is a legal entity created to manage and maintain the common areas of a community. Typically these "common areas" consist of things like pools, clubhouses, landscaping, parks, streets and roads.
HOAs are typically set up by the original developer of the community with a set of rules called "Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions" otherwise known as "CC&Rs". One of the primary functions of the HOA is enforce and ensure that these "CC&Rs" are adhered to by the individual homeowners.
One Boulder, Colorado real estate blog (taylorrealtygroup.net) recently posted a helpful punch list of questions to ask if you are buying a house or condo that is governed by a HOA.
According to the Boulder blog, those questions should include:
- How much are the dues?
- What is the history of the due increases?
- Does it include building insurance or not?
- What are the specifics of the insurance and what insurance will you be required to carry vs. the HOA carries it for you?
- Are there HOA budget reserves for things like concrete repair, deck repair, staining/painting/etc? Also, look at maintenance contracts like landscaping, security, snow removal etc. Do they look reasonable to you? Is one of the HOA members also one of the contractors?
- If you haven’t already—find out how much the transfer fees and capital reserve requirements are when you close and negotiate to have the seller pay for them (unless you have already agreed otherwise)
- Find out how many units are owner occupied versus rented out. The HOA will know this. If it’s higher than about 10 percent rentals then the blog advises: don’t buy it.
- Find out the current status of all the membership dues. How many units are in the HOA and of that, how many are past due. How much?
- Get the minutes from the past years HOA meetings and read the to see what kind of stuff they talk about and this will tell you how picky they are and what type of violations spur actions against residents.
This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.