First-Time Homebuyers and HOAs

by rcpmanagemedev, October, 15 2022

There are many benefits to living in a community association, such as access to amenities and services that most people could not afford on their own. HOAs often have swimming pools, tennis courts, playgrounds, lakes and ponds, professional security guards, and even golf courses. They also provide some degree of protection against neighborhood degradation by regulating what homeowners can do with their property. This prevents things like cars being left on cinder blocks or yards from becoming overgrown and unkempt.

Even with all of their advantages, community associations are not without their challenges. One of the most common issues they face is finding a balance between what benefits the community as a whole and what individual residents want. If you’re thinking about buying a home that’s part of an HOA, here’s what you need to know.

Buying Your Home

Get your real estate agent to check if the home you want is part of a community association, and if it is, ask for copies of the governing documents. These include the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs), which you should read through carefully.

Homeowners who move into an association-governed community agree to comply with CC&Rs, which typically cover assessments, architectural guidelines (such as additions, decks and paint colors), landscaping, maintenance, satellite dishes, clotheslines, fences, flags, parking, pets, and patios.

Paying Your Fair Share

Before deciding on a home in an association-governed community, you should check the budget because it will dictate the level of mandatory assessments and services. These assessments, which are paid monthly, quarterly or annually, can lead to legal action from the organization if not payed, including placing liens against your property that could potentially result in foreclosure. It’s important to remember that as a member of said community, you have obligation to contribute financially towards its upkeep.

Once you know what the assessment includes, you can start to get a better idea of how much it will cost. Most assessments are for things like taking care of common areas and shared facilities, but some also cover things like your unit’s exterior maintenance.

Managing Your Expectations

Although community associations have many benefits, they’re not perfect. Since judgments are subjective and can change, as well as decisions not always being unanimously approved, it’s important that you manage your expectations before buying into one. Remember that mistakes happen too.

Some people do not enjoy living under strict community guidelines, and if you are one of those personalities, it is important to remember that before making the decision to purchase a home in a community association. You may have buyer’s remorse after your first encounter with an rules you don’t agree with.

RCP’s team of management professionals have extensive experience and industry knowledge when it comes to managing everything from high-rise condominium communities to HOA’s and beyond. Contact us today and learn how we can help.