by Luis Brito
Does the thought of moving into a neighborhood or condominium that is managed by a Homeowner’s Association (HOA) have you running away at full speed? Or perhaps you like the benefits that accompany HOA-managed community living but are unsure of how to properly evaluate the “health” of an HOA. Here is my expertise to help you feel more confident in determining whether HOA living is the right choice for you.
What is an HOA?
An HOA is a resident-led organization that oversees a group of homes by establishing community guidelines. HOAs typically:
- coordinate the maintenance of the grounds, such as lawn care and snow removal
- ensure that the exterior of the building(s) is on par with the association’s standards
- provide a master insurance policy for the community, manage finances, and maintain community common spaces and utilities
How does it work?
Members of an HOA community pay an association fee. HOA dues are typically paid monthly, sometimes quarterly, and can vary from one property to the next.
- Dues should always be disclosed within the property details.
- Consult your lender to determine the affordability of a home once the association fee is factored in. It’s like property taxes – a true picture of your future monthly payment will include the HOA fee.
Is an HOA right for you?
Those who are looking for a low maintenance home should consider living in a property that is managed by an HOA. Upon acceptance of an offer, a buyer has a 10-day period to review all HOA documents once received. Review these documents to understand if a particular HOA is a good fit. Ask questions!
What Questions do I Ask?
As a potential buyer, these questions are a great starting point for engaging with an HOA:
- Are there any potential or pending lawsuits?
- Does the association cash flow? Association financials are critical! Ask me why!
- Can I get a copy of the past two association meeting minutes?
- Does the association have plans for assessments or improvements?