What to Know About HOA’s
When considering buying a home in a community managed by a homeowner’s association there are some things to consider before making that final commitment. It’s best to research and address any HOA related issues before you run into a conflict. Here are our top five real estate tips you need to know about HOA’s:
- Assess your personality: This is our top tip! If you are not the type of person who is comfortable with rules then living in a community with covenants, restrictions and bylaws may not be for you! Part of the thrill of being a homeowner is being able to modify your new home the way you want to. In a HOA governed community you may be restricted from making modifications and the HOA is not likely to grant variances.
- Confirm the fees: HOA fees vary with most expensive fees typically assessed to condo units and townhomes. With condos and townhomes you are paying a monthly fee that may include some or all utilities, master insurance on the structure, common area maintenance, amenities and landscaping. A single family home’s HOA fees typically are paid annually or bi-annually covering the pool, clubhouse, common areas and any other amenities. Watch out for any special assessments or capital contribution costs. To avoid any surprises it is a good idea to have your real estate agent confirm all fees directly with the HOA.
- Know the rules: If you are moving into a community you should know what the rules are regarding parking vehicles, lawn maintenance, child play structures in the yard, erecting a storage building, adding a fence, etc. Otherwise you may be disappointed to find out that your work vehicle cannot be parked at your property or you need to pay a storage facility to park your RV.
- Beware of under managed HOA’s: Some associations rather than making sure everyone plays by the rules go the opposite direction. The rules are not enforced and the common areas are not maintained. As much as a community may complain about abiding by the rules or being asked to paint their mailbox or else be fined, the positive is that the neighborhood is kept to a certain standard.
- Check the ARC requirements: Before adding a fence or even planting landscaping check whether you need prior approval. Some communities may even require approval for a change in paint color. Usually once you move into a community you are given access to a members only website where you can access documents including ARC forms.
Diane and William KradelKeller Williams RealtyLake Norman Cornelius704-657-1735