So you’re thinking of moving into a smaller house, or you’re looking into buying your first-ever home, and it happens to be in a developed community. Naturally, one of the major “stumbling blocks” to making the move is the HOA fee that you’ll be paying monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, depending on the HOA’s fees collection schedule. You have to make sure that you can afford the HOA dues on top of your monthly expenses. This is but one of the many other concerns regarding homeowners associations that home buyers look into to help them with the decision-making process.
And if you’re a home buyer with similar concerns, these answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about HOAs might be able to help you:
1. Can I check the HOA’s CC&Rs before buying a property?
Yes, you may and should check the HOA’s CC&Rs before buying or even renting a property. CC&Rs are the homeowners association’s covenant, conditions, and restrictions that every homeowner must adhere to, and these include everything that “dictates” each homeowner’s stay in their property, from dues to be collected to standards for maintaining the front lawn and the exterior of the house, and such.
For transparency purposes, the HOA’s CC&Rs must be fully disclosed to the buyer/renter BEFORE closing the deal. If these aren’t made available to you before closing the sale/deal, this is a red flag you shouldn’t ignore.
2. What factors should I check regarding HOA fees?
There are three general things that you should check regarding HOA fees, and again, it’s better to perform this routine check before buying/renting the property to avoid future issues. The three things you should check are: fees too low, fees too high, and homeowners’ rate of compliance.
Briefly, an HOA fee that’s too low might mean that the HOA isn’t collecting for emergency repairs and maintenance, or other improvements, which means that when these needs arise, you may be asked to pay an additional fee. On the other hand, if the fee is too high, you might not be able to afford it for the long term, which could mean an accumulation of unpaid dues that could result in a dispute, or worse, foreclosure.
And finally, the homeowners’ rate of compliance on payment of HOA dues can immediately tell you whether or not the HOA’s finances are in dire straits. If 15% or more of the homeowners aren’t paying, it could mean that the HOA’s financial standing is in the red.
3. Should I still pay HOA dues even if I have no plans of using the pool and other common areas?
Yes; fees are implemented on every homeowner regardless of whether or not common areas and facilities will be used. As a homeowner, you are expected to pay for the maintenance and upkeep of these common areas.