Homeowner associations (HOA) are becoming more and more popular, whether you’re looking for a townhouse, a gated community or even an ordinary neighborhood. When part of an HOA, you pay monthly dues or fees for services that could include trash removal, upkeep of common areas, water and sewage, and even pest control. Make sure you learn everything you can about your particular HOA before you buy. Here are some important questions to ask:
Can you live with their rules?
Most HOAs have a website and list their rules online. If you can’t find the information, ask your real estate sales associate or contact the association yourself. If the rules are too restrictive or you don’t agree with all of them, it’s time to consider buying elsewhere.
What are the fees?
HOA fees will differ across communities. Find out what the initial fees or dues are and how often they increase. What do these fees cover? You’ll want to know exactly where your money is going.
What happens at the meetings?
It’s a good idea to ask for a copy of the minutes or to sit in on an association meeting before you buy. Find out about past and current conflicts and the process for resolving typical problems. This may give you the best sense of the type of association you’ll be dealing with.