What to Ask When Contemplating an HOA Community

An HOA or Homeowner Association is a legal entity created to manage and maintain the common community areas. Typically these "common areas" consist of pools, clubhouses, landscaping, parks, streets, and roads. The community's developer generally creates the original HOA starting with a set of rules called the "Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions" (CC&Rs).

All About HOA's

It is a primary function of the HOA, among others, to enforce the CC&Rs and ensure that they are adhered to by the individual homeowners.

Questions to Ask a Prospective HOA

-How much are the dues?

-What is the history of dues increases?

-Does it include building insurance?

-What are the insurance specifics, and what insurance will you be required to carry besides coverage provided by the HOA?

-Are there HOA budget reserves for repairs? 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?

Other Considerations

-See how much the transfer fees and capital reserve requirements are when you close and negotiate to have the seller pay for them, if applicable.

-Find out how many units are owner-occupied vs. rented out. The HOA will know this. If it's higher than about 10 percent rentals, you may want to pass on the unit.

-Check 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 year's HOA meetings. Reviewing them will tell you how stringent they are and what type of violations trigger actions against residents.

This post is by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida's Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 772-678-1600 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.