Understanding Your New Home’s HOA Fees
You’ve looked over hill and dale for your new home, and you and your Realtor® have finally found the perfect property with a purchase price within your budget. But there’s another monthly expense you don’t want to forget on some properties, the HOA fee.
What Is an HOA Fee?
If you’re considering purchasing a condo, townhome, or even a single-family home in certain subdivisions, chances are you’ll be required to pay a homeowners association, or HOA, fee once the property becomes yours. HOA fees are in addition to your mortgage payment and pays for maintenance on the common areas of the property, as well as other expenses.
Your HOA fee covers routine maintenance on community property, including snow removal, elevator maintenance, trash removal, and lawn care. They also cover maintenance of your community’s amenities, such as a pool, fitness center, hiking trails, basketball courts, and gardens. These things likely drew you to the property in the first place. As a homeowner, you’re responsible for paying for part of their upkeep.
HOA fees also cover damage and liability insurance for the common areas. Many HOAs create their own emergency funds to cover unexpected projects. Most HOAs direct a portion of your monthly or annual payment to a reserve pot for big expenses, such as repaving the parking area or replacing the roof. What is covered will vary association to association so be sure to have your Realtor check to see what is covered.
Can I Learn More about potential HOA Fees in Advance?
As you’re shopping, your Realtor® should inform you of any HOA fees associated with the properties you see. Once you’re seriously interested in a particular property, have your Realtor® investigate the HOA further, including the association’s financial history, the number of vacant properties in the community, and the number of renters.
Homeowners associations are run by a board of homeowners that sets rules and manages annual maintenance and repairs. HOAs that manage money poorly will end up costing you more, as will a sizeable amount of vacant properties and renters. Homeowners must often pay more in HOA fees to cover the costs of vacant properties or those occupied by renters.
Before you sign a purchase agreement on any property, you need to learn if you will be required to pay an HOA fee, and if so, what your monthly or annual payment will be. Your Realtor® will be able to help you understand your future HOA obligations. To learn more, contact Brooks Johnson, your friend in real estate, today.