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Tips for Buying a Home in an HOA


shutterstock 97831112 resized 600If you are contemplating buying a house or condo that is managed by a homeowners association, there are some factors to consider before you invest your money and time. Every HOA has a certain set of guidelines that each resident must comply with. You may be fined if you do not follow the regulations, so be sure to ask for a complete list of the rules before you buy.

Important HOA Documents

There are specific documents you should look over if you are considering a move into a community managed by a homeowners association. The most important forms include the covenants and restrictions papers, financial statements, meeting minutes from the previous year, and the regulations document. It is also a good idea to speak with members of the association board if possible.

By reading the appropriate paperwork, you can learn about the community’s financial status, any pending improvements, the history of increases on dues, and the results of any conflicts that may have taken place. You should also inquire about catastrophic insurance for the home as well as for the recreational amenities such as pools or tennis courts. Understanding how the development operates will help you make the right choice.

Financial Considerations

One of the best tips for selecting the right managed community is to consider where your money will go. You will not only be required to pay dues, you will need to use your own funds to fix certain problems in the home. Additionally, you may be responsible for financing future assessments within the community. Factor in all the fees before you make a commitment, and compare the amounts to other properties in the area.

Generally, the more members a community has, the smaller the percent each member must pay for the upkeep of the development. Some costs to inquire about include ground maintenance, sewer services, and trash collection. Other fees may include parking, water, cable, utilities, and insurance. The recreational facilities may also be part of your monthly dues even if you choose to not use them. 

Tips for Choosing the Right Community

Each HOA is different, so finding the right one means assessing your personal needs. Ask about the regulations on home customizations such as changing paint or adding fences. If you prefer a natural landscape over the artificial standard, discuss all your options with the management. You may also want to inquire about the number of pets you can have and if there are any restrictions on size. Find out when and how you can use the amenities as well.

Lastly, talk with the people who live in the neighborhood. If there are any notable problems, you will learn about them through the residents. You can also search through for more helpful hints. In order to buy the best home for you and your family, it’s necessary to learn how a homeowners association operates. It's especially important to understand your financial obligations as a community member.


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