HOA Rules and Regulations
What are typical HOA Rules and Regulations? Don’t depend on anything ‘typical’! They will vary from community to community. Be sure to always examine these HOA documents carefully! Make sure your Exclusive Buyer’s Agent obtains a copy of these documents for you right away, and then take the time to study them. When you are serious about a certain development, do yourself a favor and talk to some of the residents. Ask them about the HOA and if they are happy with it. What are the problems that they see? You’ll learn a lot and know more about what to expect when and if you move in.
A Homeowners Association is there to protect your property values, keep the development clean and orderly and to mediate disputes when and if a problem arises such as parking, pets, noise, etc. But understand that when you sign HOA documents, they are legal and binding agreements.
HOA Fees are determined by the amenities that are offered in the specific community. Do they offer a guard at the gate, landscaping, lawn care, outdoor pool, indoor pool, tennis court, fitness gym, or utilities? The more they offer…the higher the fees. They can either be billed monthly or yearly.
To get everything set up in your name, you can expect a transfer fee when you close on the property. And you will have a legal commitment to pay those fees.
Sometimes, there can be a monthly fee plus a yearly fee if there is a golf course involved. Or if there is a country club/restaurant.
The correct term for these rules is ‘Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions – or CC&R’s. These by-laws will determine what you can and cannot do with your property. They can and will have a significant impact on your ownership.
HOA Rules and Penalties
Are HOA penalties real? YES! In severe cases, the HOA can put a lien on your property and actually foreclose on your property. Penalties are legal bills that you are obligated to pay. So, it’s important to know the rules and what penalties you can expect. Like anything else, some HOA’s are very strict and some are more relaxed. Take a look at the penalty/foreclosure section of the document and see if you can determine if they have a lot of these problems. If so, you might want to move on to another community.
Ask a few questions:
- What are the parking policies? Will you have designated parking spaces? Or a garage? Do you expect to have a lot of friends to visit? Where will they park? Improper parking can involve fines and penalties!
- Do you expect to rent the unit out? Or, on the flip side – do you want a community where there are no rentals allowed? Would you prefer all owner-occupied homeowners? Many people feel that this policy upholds their property values.
- What about pets? Are they allowed? Size restrictions? Leash laws?
- Will you be required to paint your house within certain time frames?
- Who will take care of plumbing or roofing problems? Exterior maintenance?
- Trash? Are there certain times you can leave trash out/pick up the can?
- Holiday Decorations? What is allowed and how long can they stay up?
- Noise? What do you consider noise? What do the neighbors consider noise? It depends on who is listening! Check to see what the association considers to be noise.
- Try to determine how notice will be given to you in case of an infraction. Will you have a time limit to correct the problem? What fines can they impose?
Best Ways to Deal With the HOA
When you buy the condo in good faith, then end up in an unforeseen problem, what do you do? The HOA is real and you can end up with real problems in a disagreement. It’s best to be Pro-Active when it comes to dealing with the association. Here are some ideas that might help in these situations:
- First and foremost – make sure you understand the rules.
- Keep records and copies of anything pertaining to the HOA. If something gets lost in the shuffle – it’s good to have proof that you paid what was due or complied with a rule.
- It might be a good idea to get involved with the association yourself. Knowing and helping the people involved goes a long way toward resolving issues.
- Go to neighborhood meetings and get to know your neighbors. If there’s an issue, band together with neighbors for resolution. Also, knowing and being friendly with your neighbors will help if you unknowingly violate a rule. Hopefully, they will call you instead of calling the association.
- Don’t get on the HOA board’s ‘problem’ list by neglecting to pay your dues. This will only lead to trouble and the fines just aren’t worth it.
Hopefully, these ideas will help you if you decide to purchase a condo or home with a Homeowners Association. Owning a condo can be great fun, but just like anything else – it’s more fun when you know and abide by the rules.
Buying a new home is fun and exciting! Do your due diligence and it will pay off in the long run! Please contact me with any questions you have! I look forward to helping you not only find your perfect condo – but to walk with you through the entire process! Pam Rumley 615-428-8500.