Buying in an HOA
If you are thinking about buying a home in a new subdivision, common interest development (CID), or planned unit development (PUD), chances are good that you will automatically become a member of the local homeowners' association. These associations help protect property values by ensuring each home is up to neighborhood standards, but be sure the rules and regulations are compatible with your lifestyle and pocketbook.
The primary purpose of an HOA is to provide maintenance, enhancements, and protection for the community's common areas. An example might be tennis courts, a pool, a playground, or trails - all of which would be maintained by dues or special assessments that the residents of the community pay to the HOA. This pooling of money gives an individual homeowner access to facilities that he would likely not be able to afford on his own. An HOA's dues can range from almost nothing to many thousands of dollars per year, depending on the neighborhood and its standards and amenities. Keep in mind that even if you know you're not going to use the pool, moving into the neighborhood obligates you to pay theses dues.
When you purchase a home in an area governed by an HOA, remember that you're also entering a legal contract with that HOA. You agree that, in addition to paying dues, you are obligated to live by the association's rule book, sometimes referred to as covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). An elected, volunteer board of directors has the responsibility of CC&R enforcement. The regulations vary widely, but generally address such things as approved colors for houses, the height of shrubbery or fences, banned dog breeds, where you can park your car, and whether you can rent out your home.
Breaking an HOA contract can definitely end poorly for you. In some U.S. states, including Texas, a homeowners' association can actually attach a lien to a house foreclose a member's house in order to collect fines or dues not yet remitted. Though not a common occurrence, it demonstrates the scope of an HOA's power.
Be sure to review the HOA's documents prior to purchasing a property in an area covered by an HOA and make sure the dues are acceptable to you. Also, you should check to see that the HOA has adequate reserves, whether there is any pending litigation involving the HOA, and whether there are any other outstanding or imminent issues that may result in an assessment.
Make sure you know what you're getting in to when you purchase a home that's covered by an HOA CONTACT TIFFANY SHARKEY OR TONYA PEEK AT 972-977-2254.