Community Resources: Tips for First-Time Buyers in HOA Communities
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Great homeowner associations (HOAs) provide valuable community resources for residents.
They do so much more than issue violation letters.
HOAs help create vibrant neighborhoods that connect people and help shape their lives in meaningful ways.
First-time buyers can benefit by knowing a few things before purchasing a home in a HOA. The following tips will help buyers avoid any surprises and prepare them to take advantage of all the community resources the HOA has to offer.
Click to edit Master Community Resources title style Tip #1: Make a Commitment to Education
•Buying a home in a HOA neighborhood involves more than a typical house or condo purchase. •Buyers also become part of an association with obligations, restrictions, advantages and community resources. •Therefore, it’s absolutely necessary for potential homeowners to educate themselves not only prior to the purchase, but throughout the time they own property in a HOA. •The more a person knows about HOA operations, the more he or she can avoid possible issues or costly misunderstandings.
Click to edit Master Community Resources title style Tip #2: Carefully Evaluate HOA Documents
•The HOA produces many documents. •As overwhelming as it may seem, first-time buyers must vigilantly examine, at a minimum, the following documents. •If anything is unclear, they must seek expert advice. Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) By-Laws and Regulations Meeting Minutes for Prior Year HOA Financial Statement
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Tip #2: Carefully Evaluate HOA Documents
•The information contained within the stated documents is crucial in determining the financial strength of a HOA. •First-time buyers can learn about planned special assessments, capital improvements, cash reserves, pending lawsuits, dues increases and other issues that could have a major affect on the HOA’s finances.
•The documents will also highlight the necessary restrictions everyone within the HOA must abide by for the betterment of the neighborhood. •Common questions for first-time buyers typically involve pets, parking, noise, exterior changes, rentals and more.
Click to edit Master Community Resources title style Tip #3: Understand Individual Financial Obligations •When buying a property within a HOA, residents agree to pay their share of common operating expenses in the form of dues and assessments. •Monthly dues may be billed for common HOA expenses such as grounds maintenance, pool service, fitness center operation, road and sidewalk maintenance, security, management fees and more. •Special assessments may be imposed if the HOA members approve a major expense.
Click to edit Master Community Resources title style Tip #3: Understand Individual Financial Obligations •The terms and amounts of these special assessments will vary depending on the nature of the requirement. •First-time buyers and residents must fully understand their financial obligations to the HOA. •In addition, they should know what expenses their dues cover. If anything is unclear, they should seek clarification.
Click to edit Master Community Resources title style Tip #4: Evaluate the Management •In many cases, especially in larger HOAs, a professional management company will help manage the association. •Since professional managers attract talent from a variety of disciplines, they’re able to put together a team that delivers valuable community resources. •Through a variety of proven programs and techniques, professional managers can improve the quality of connections between homeowners and boards.
Click to edit Master Community Resources title style Tip #5: Identify the Amenities •An in-person visit will shed further light on the condition of the amenities, such as pools, spas, tennis courts, fitness centers, game rooms and more. •However, potential buyers should dig deeper by asking current residents some questions about the facilities. Are the facilities over-used or under-used at certain times? Are the facilities properly maintained? Have the facilities been closed for long periods of time in the past year?
•It’s also important for potential buyers to get copies of all rules and regulations governing use of HOA amenities.
Click to edit Master Community Resources title style Tip #6: Evaluate the Community Resources •Finally, first-time buyers in a HOA have a wonderful opportunity to become connected with their neighbors. •The right HOA will have a wealth of community resources in place including organizations, events, activities and more. •During their evaluation, first-time buyers should get a sense of neighbor participation and neighborhood pride.
Click to edit Master Community Resources title style A well managed HOA with abundant community resources helps build strong neighborhoods. And strong neighborhoods provide the foundation for a great America. Â AAM works with many of the largest homebuilding and community development companies in the United States such as Del Webb/Pulte, Shea Homes and Meritage Homes. Founded in 1990, the company employs 370 people and manages over 400 communities in the United States. AAM is dedicated to delivering total peace of mind to the Boards of Directors and homeowners in the communities it manages.
Click to edit Master ABOUT THE AUTHOR: title style
Jason Tucker is VP of AAM Edge Sales, a dynamic and exciting new online community from Associated Asset Management that delivers trusted and relevant information to homeowners. Learn more about Community Resources by visiting http://www.HomeownerResources.com.