Home Owner Associations: What you need to know when considering a home purchase.
Home buyers need to know about Home owner associations in each neighborhood. Home Owners Association (HOA) regulations can cover everything from what color you can paint your home to whether or not your neighbor can display their pink flamingo collection in the yard. Before purchasing a Gainesville home in a community with an HOA, make sure the rules are compatible with your lifestyle. As your Gainesville Realtor®, it’s our job to provide you with all the information you will need to get answers to questions concerning any HOA.
1. Any fees you will pay?
What is the HOA fee? Is it paid monthly, quarterly, or annually? It is mandatory or voluntary?
2. Where your money is going?
Many HOAs maintain common amenities, such as pools, gym areas, green space and outdoor landscaping. Check to see what’s included and what’s not.
3. Recent hikes in fees
Get a history of how much and how often the rates have risen over the past few years. Ask also for a record of additional fees charged to homeowners when the HOA lacks the reserves to cover a big improvement, also known as “special assessments.”
4. Community priorities
Take a look at the minutes from the last few HOA board meetings. What topics keep appearing? Do they seem reasonable, or are they minor items that distract from bigger issues?
5. The Fine Print
Carefully examine all covenants, conditions and restrictions (CCRs). Don’t wait to move in to find out your kids can’t have a basketball hoop, or that you won’t be able to park an extra car in the street overnight.
What happens if you break a rule? Fines? Social isolation?
7. Who is the HOA Management Company.
You will want to know who or what company manages the HOA. Are the home owners in control of the budget & expenses? Is the community still controlled by the developer or builder?
Make sure you request your agent to provide you with the Covenants, Restrictions, By-Laws, and current budget. Remember that each neighborhood will have different rules, and different fees, and what those fees cover and include.