HOA or homeowners associations are often common in new home developments and master planned communities around Colorado Springs. When choosing a home in an association it's important to know the rules, regulations, and fees before finalizing documents. When you purchase a property in a homeowners association you automatically become a member and are obligated to financially support the Association. Here are some of the major things to know about a homeowners association.
Each month, quarter, or year you will pay fees directly to the Association or to the management. High-rise condominiums with more amenities such as swimming pools and parks will typically have higher fees than those with fewer common elements. It's important to check out how much you'll be paying each month or quarter and what the reserve fund it looks like. If for some reason a special assessment is required and there are not enough reserve funds to pay for it, each homeowner may be required to pay more to cover the special assessment. This could be for siding or roofing on a common area complex, clubhouse renovations, landscaping, or road repair. If you're considering buying a home that does not have a reserve fund or a healthy chunk of change in the bank, understand that you may be responsible in the future for any major purchases.
Associations, when managed well, can be a great service to other homeowners. It keeps things consistent in the neighborhood and manages neighbors and homeowners but not everybody pays their fair share. All must pay or all can suffer the consequences. For instance, a recent homeowners association wanted to change the rules but needed a 70% quorum in order to do so, however, only those current on their dues could vote and 35% of homeowners were delinquent, which means they can never get the 70% until at least another 5% become current on their dues. This could be an issue when it comes to buying a home in the area. It's important to understand that before finalizing your closing documents.
When you consider buying a home in an association you should receive CC & R's, which stands for covenants, conditions, and restrictions. These are basically the bylaws of the Association that all homeowners must adhere to. This document is typically quite extensive so if there are specific questions you want to ask you can certainly talk to the Association directly rather than going page by page to the document. You can also have a real estate attorney go through the document highlighting anything of concern. For condominiums and townhouses, there could be pet restrictions, restrictions on what you can do to the outside of your property, satellite dishes, and noise ordinances.
Many associations have rental restrictions meaning that no more than, let's say, 50% of the properties can be rented. This could be a problem if you're looking for a home that you might consider renting in the future. Limitations may be already in place or there could be a total restriction from renting.
It's important to investigate the specifics of the association's insurance. What do you need to cover versus what is covered by the Association? What happens if there is an act of God such as flood, earthquake, or tornado?
It's important to know how the Association operates. Is it controlled by its members or a board separate from community homeowners? Is there an outside management company and are they doing their job? It's important to get the big picture on how the board does business and how the Association is run. Talk to other homeowners in the community and see if they are satisfied with the way the Association handles things. If you get a lot of complaints from homeowners, chances are it's not a great situation.
Homeowner associations can be a great thing and you shouldn't be scared of them but it's important to ask questions and understand how the Association is handled before choosing a home in the community.
For more information on homeowner associations throughout Colorado Springs contact our office at any time.