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Before You Buy a Home, Make Sure You Research the HOA

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By : marco benavides    99 or more times read
One of the most important decisions you can make before you decide to buy a home is to research the HOA (Homeowners Association) so that you can determine whether living there is right for you. The association is supposed to be responsible for maintaining the quality of the homes and properties under its care. However, not all HOAs are equal and it could really pay off for you to look into the type of association you will be dealing with and the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions or CC&Rs that your home or condo will be under.

If you buy a home such as a condominium in a building or even a single-family dwelling in a subdivision, you will most likely have to deal with a HOA and you will have to pay fees. Monthly fees to the HOA can vary from $50 to several hundred dollars, depending on your location, the size of your home, amenities offered and other conditions. You have to determine whether you will be able to afford the fees because they will be obligatory. You cannot stop paying your fees or you will face fines and possibly even eviction and the selling of your home to pay any and all fees you may owe to the HOA. Can they really evict you and sell your home if you do not pay your fees? You should be really familiar with the bylaws of the association and the CC&Rs. You are sure to find the clause where it states what the possible penalties are for failure to pay your fees.

In order to know the kind of association you will be dealing with, you can take a look at the minutes from the meetings of the association. The minutes will allow you a look into the way the association works and whether it is so restrictive that there is no way you will be able to abide by the CC&Rs. There are HOAs that will control even the size, amount and kinds of plants you can have planted in your front yard. If you cannot stand such strict control, then perhaps condominium living is not right for you.

You must understand that you cannot pick and choose which rules and restrictions you will follow and which you will not. CC&Rs and HOAs do not work that way because a HOA is almost a government within itself. The association board has control over rules, restrictions, fees, etc. and it is not likely to change the rules simply because one person is not satisfied with them. Overly eager or restrictive association boards usually lead to a lot of homeowner discontent and owner discontent can lead to litigation. When doing your research, you might want to hire an attorney to take a look at whether your particular association has been involved in a lot of litigation.

The home you may be looking at may seem like paradise, but make sure you know what you are getting into before you decide to close the deal. The way you will know what you are getting into is by researching the HOA. Once you have all the information you need, you can determine whether it is the type of place you can live in or if you should go and take a look somewhere else.
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