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Homeowners associations (HOAs)and what you should know.

Updated: May 13


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If you're planning to buy a home or a condo, keep in mind the property may be ruled by a homeowners association, or HOA. According to the Community Associations Institute, 63 Million people live within communities that are overseen by HOAs and 24 percent of US homes are part of a community association.



Many buyers love the benefits of the HOAs, like amenities that they might otherwise be able to afford, like pools, gyms. tennis courts, & parks and ponds for example. It also covers neighborhood maintenance, improves property values and more. Make sure you and your agent talk about what you get, and what you don't in the HOA prior to submitting an offer on a property. Here are some other things to pay attention to-



READ BEFORE YOU BUY

Always read about the restrictions that may prevent you from using y9our home the way you would like to and customize it. Some HOAS will govern the paint colors and landscaping as well as limit recreational vehicles parked outside.


INQUIRE ABOUT FEES


HOAS run on dues, your annual fee for living in the community. Some can range from $100 to thousands of dollars depending on the neighborhood and amenities are offered. Find out what dues cover and what they do not. Pay close attention to repairs and who pays for that.

There can also be FINES. Make sure your willing to manage the upkeep that the HOA requires the homeowner to do, such as refresh bark around trees for example. They also may require you to trim trees back, monitor fruit tree droppings and cleanup, pest control and more.



ASK YOUR HOA, WHOS IN CHARGE?


When reviewing the HOA documents and bylaws, take note of who's in charge, like board members. Who controls the money? What kind of oversight is this person subject to?

Find out if it has a reserve fund, who manages it and what's the role of the residents there?


It may be somewhat helpful chatting with the neighbors to hear about their likes and dislikes regarding the HOA and how its run.

Make sure your agent is experienced in properties within an HOA and performs all the due diligence to help you make an informed decision. For more information on HOAs, please visit HAR.COM







BONUS:

Here are some HOA Pitfalls that can be Unforseen with an HOA...





So you have hunted and hunted and found the perfect home or highrise, and your lender tells you we cant move forward on this property a few weeks in. What do you do!? Well, shame on the Listing agent for not disclosing this situation with a document that is REQUIRED to be posted with the listing documents. Then, you have to find out what exactly is happening with this scenario. When considering purchasing a home within an HOA (Homeowners Association) that is under litigation, several potential red flags should be carefully considered:




1. Financial Stability: Litigation can strain an HOA's financial resources. It's crucial to assess whether the HOA has sufficient reserves and insurance coverage to handle legal expenses and potential judgments without significantly impacting homeowners' fees. Your realtor and lender will have to request the documents that explain exactly what the issue is, which may take a while.


2. Insurance Coverage: Verify if the HOA's insurance policies cover legal expenses related to the ongoing litigation. Inadequate coverage could lead to increased fees or special assessments for homeowners. Make sure you find out what type of policy is on the home, what is covered and how much coverage and is the insurance Pooled with other units or dwellings.


3. Impact on Property Values: Litigation can create uncertainty and negatively affect property values and affordability within the community. Research the local real estate market and consult with real estate professionals like myself to understand potential impacts.


4. Potential Special Assessments: If the HOA loses the litigation or incurs significant legal expenses, homeowners may face special assessments to cover these costs. Review the HOA's financial statements and meeting minutes to assess the likelihood of special assessments.


5. Governing Documents and Restrictions: Litigation may result from disputes over the HOA's rules, restrictions, or governance. Evaluate the HOA's governing documents, including bylaws, covenants, and rules, to understand any contentious issues. NEVER skip this option when deciding an offer on the property too. Always request this information.


6. Legal Risks: Understand the nature of the litigation and the potential legal risks faced by the HOA. Litigation involving construction defects, environmental issues, or contractual disputes can have long-term implications for homeowners.


Depending on the type of litigation, you may not be able to close on your home so be sure to ask about it prior to submitting an offer

7. HOA Management: Assess the effectiveness of the HOA's management in handling the litigation. Look for transparency, communication with homeowners, and proactive steps to mitigate risks and resolve the dispute.


8. Homeowners' Involvement: Consider how involved and informed homeowners are about the litigation. Lack of transparency or communication from the HOA could be a concern.


If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, it may prevent you from buying or selling your home altogether. It's advisable to work closely with a real estate agent like myself, real estate attorney, your mortgage lender, or HOA manager/specialist who can provide insights into the specific litigation, its potential impacts, and the overall health of the HOA. With your agent, conduct thorough due diligence and review all relevant documents before making a decision to purchase a home within an HOA under litigation. For more infomation, visit my HAR.com Website


Have a good HOA story? please share! Aubrie


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