Homeowner's Associations are nothing new, but if they are new to you read on!
What is an HOA?
An organization of homeowners in a particular neighborhood or development formed to facilitate the maintenance of common areas and to enforce any building restrictions or covenants.
These conditions, covenants and restrictions (CC&R's) are attached to the master deed and run with the property. They automatically apply to all property owners.
It is important that the Homeowner's Association is actively managed and that it operates within the By-laws, Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions.
There are many questions you should ask prior to purchasing a home, here are a few:
- Who manages the HOA and how long they have been managing this HOA?
- How much are the dues and when are they payable?
- What is the operating budget?
- What is the balance of the reserve funds?
- Are there any lawsuits pending or potential situations that might lead to a lawsuit?
- Are there any upcoming special assessments, needs or expenses?
- Are the residents current on paying their dues?
- Are there transfer fees when a property sells, who pays them?
- What expenses are covered by the HOA budget?
- Who serves on the HOA board and it's committees?
- How often does the board meet and where?
- Are there any issues of concern for which the HOA could be liable?
- Is the HOA insured, what does it cover and how much?
- How are the restrictive covenants enforced and who enforces them?
Buyers often pay little attention to the HOA details prior to making a purchase. Let me give a few examples of why these details are important.
- If a high percentage of the dues are delinquent, lenders may turn down loans which makes buying or selling difficult and leads to lower property values.
- If there is a lawsuit pending, lenders may turn down loans and owners could be responsible.
- Special assessments may be assessed to pay for improvements or legal fees and settlements.
- You as an owner may be held responsible if the HOA does maintain proper insurance
- Improper management practices may dilute the authority of the HOA (example: the HOA cannot pick and choose which rules they enforce or on which owners they enforce them upon. All must be addressed equally. An HOA that discriminates looses most legal battles.
- If there is no penalty (generally a fine) for violating a covenant, enforcement may end up in court.
Most HOA's operate in an acceptable manner. You would probably agree that having a home inspection is a wise choice, I would recommend you also conduct an Homeowners Association inspection before you purchase.
Verlyn Steward Prudential Woodmont Realty Brentwood TN 37027