Many people find themselves living in condos and homes in common-interest communities where homeowners associations exist. According to this Realtor Magazine article, this type of housing makes up 20 percent of the current national housing stock. If you are looking to buy within an HOA governed community, it is important that you know your rights and responsibilities. Realtor Magazine outlines some of the things to look out for and pay attention to when you become a resident within an HOA.
The first thing is to accept that your home – whether it be attached or detached – is a part of a community. Therefore, what you own is actually owned jointly with others, and often times you can’t just do what you want and will have to go through an approval process. Or, what you want to do might not even be allowed due to the established covenants. HOAs follow governing documents that outline everything, including pet allowance, allotted parking, fencing, garage usage and more. It’s to your benefit to fully read everything that is included before you purchase so you aren’t surprised when you find out you may not be able to paint your home a certain color, or that your home is zoned a way that you didn’t realize upon purchase. There are a large number of regulations you want to look out for before you buy, including common area rules and details about financials, showing where your HOA payments are going (toward regular maintenance in addition to any reserve account for future needs like new roofs, paving, etc).
Be sure to ask your real estate broker to go through all of the details with you so that you are fully prepared for your purchase. HOAs can be wonderful and save you having to maintain and fix many of the issues that come with being the sole owner of a home, but it can be limiting so it’s necessary and important to be sure you know all of the rules, regulations and responsibilities.
Want to learn more about buying a home? Be sure to read our detailed page to familiarize yourself with the process.
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