The Dee-List: Homeowner Association's - Buyers Be'A'ware!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Global Real Estate Consulting LLC

enV I O L A T I O N 

It took longer than you expected to sell your home and find the perfect location to downsize, but here you are. Your new home meets all of your goals relating to location, amenities and conveniences. It’s so exciting and you waste no time adding a few warming touches.


First, you paint the front door wedge wood blue, which seems to be appropriate in this gardenlike setting. Next you add a new wreath to the door and finally your favorite lamp bearing statues to the front garden. It is impressive how much more welcoming the home now appears. So, imagine your surprise, when a most unwelcoming letter arrives just three days later stating that your home is – in violation! The letter states that the color of your door is non-compliant, you must remove the newly mounted wreath and that the statues in your garden, is actually in something called Common Area and must be removed!


Upon calling the number on the letter you are reminded that you have purchased into an Association. A bell goes off as you remember the large notebook you received titled, “Restrictive Terrace - Condominium Association”. You locate it among the closing documents and begin reading it and quickly realize that it may have been a mistake not to use the week prior to settlement to review this information.  Sound familiar? It happens more often than you know.


Purchasing into a Community Association has many benefits and restrictions that govern the community that you will need to know. It is a life style choice that should be taken seriously when considering this option.


Just a little preparation can ensure that you make a well informed decision.


Here are a few things you’ll need to consider:


  • Governing Documents (Articles of Incorporation, Declaration, Bylaws, etc.) These are documents that dictate how the Association is setup and operates. They include such helpful information as definitions, governance, budget, meetings, maintenance, and use restrictions.
  • Rules & Regulations & Architectural Guidelines. These can often be more specific than the documents listed above and include additional items that are silent in other governing documents.
  • Assessments. These are fee that must be paid to the Association to cover common interest expenses. It is possible to have more than one Association for the same location resulting in multiple assessments.
  • Board of Directors. The Association will have a governing body referred to as the Board of Directors, who are usually volunteers appointed or elected to govern the affairs of the community.
  • Management Company. Most Community Associations are managed by a professional management company whose job it is to manage the day to day operations of the Association. They can be quite helpful in helping you to understand association living.
  • Get Involved. There are many opportunities for you to volunteer and participate in operation of the Association. Make it a point to attend board meetings and volunteer when possible.


Community Association living offers a wonderful lifestyle. Being an informed Association member can make it an amazing experience for you.



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Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Buying a condo can be much more complex than buying a home.  Buyers should take the time to become informed. .. It is good to try to talk to some of the current owners to find out about the "culture" of the association and the owner's opinion of the management company. 

Feb 20, 2014 11:27 AM #1
Dee Dee Blizard, CRS®,GRI®,CIPS®
Global Real Estate Consulting LLC - Novi, MI
Residential & Luxury Real Estate Expert

Joan, That's great advice. 

Feb 20, 2014 11:28 AM #2
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Great information....something that Home Stagers should be aware of when making staging recommendations to sellers!

Feb 21, 2014 03:45 AM #3
Jeff Jensen
The Federal Savings Bank/Lending in 50 states - Greenwich, CT

Changes at that time of life can be difficult indeed.

Feb 21, 2014 07:30 AM #4
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Dee Dee Blizard, CRS®,GRI®,CIPS®

Residential & Luxury Real Estate Expert
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