Are you looking at homes or condos with an HOA? If you are looking into buying a home, you may want to do a little more research before you purchase. In today’s real estate market, many HOA’s are underfunded which may require you to make a larger than normal payment to fund the HOA.
A Homeowners Association refers to a legal and formal entity made to maintain a community’s common areas and enforce deed limitations. Their ultimate objective is to protect the values of properties, maintain a community’s appearance and character, as well as meet the expectations of anybody within that community.
Because of this, buying a home with a Homeowners Association could be useful if you want to ensure that your common grounds are maintained, such as community pools and landscaping. However, you should do your research first to avoid getting yourself into undesirable situations because of the rules and financial issues.
Here are several things you should know, learn and explore about a Homeowners Association to help you decide whether this would be the ideal situation for you:
1. Check if any special assessments have been made. Viable funds and studies of reserve could help any community stay away from needing special assessments.
2. Review the funds of reserve, which pay for improvements in the long term, like road paving, pool work, or condominium complex work. Finding out the amount of money that has to be inside the fund might be difficult. However, if you are a buyer, you can find out if your selected Homeowners Association has conducted reserve studies as of late. Such studies will also advise how much money needs to be kept every year to make sure that every need is paid for.
3. Review the charged fees of assessment, which are usually charged by the month, the quarter, or the year. It would be essential to discover exactly which assessments you will be paying for. This usually includes community pools and playgrounds, walking trails and clubhouses, lawn care and landscaping. It might also include the maintenance of common grounds, such as snow removal or trash pickup. If you are aware of this information, you will better understand how much you should budget for these areas that will become your responsibility after buying a home in a certain community.
4. Study the conditions, covenants and restrictions. Now, this might be a problem since you will discover what a community allows and doesn’t allow when it comes to home and yard changes. Many buyers buy homes, only to find out that they can’t add swimming pools or make additions or even plant a certain type of tree! To avoid this, you need to find out the basic rules when it comes to flying flags, satellite dishes, outside antennas, home businesses, patios, fences and pets. It would be absolutely essential to know which rules you have to live by in certain Homeowners Associations.
5. Keep in mind that rules change as time goes by. Because of this, you should periodically review the rules to ensure that you live peacefully within your Homeowners Association. The key in today’s market is to make sure the HOA is funded and has plenty of reserves.