Moving into a homeowners association can present some surprises if you aren’t informed beforehand. It’s up to you to ask the right questions before making the big purchase of buying any home. There are some specific things to consider when purchasing a home that’s a part of an Association. First read Part 1: Questions to Ask Before Moving into a Homeowners Association then continue reading below to learn how you can tell if one particular Association is right for your lifestyle.
Start by finding out as much as you can about the day-to-day happenings in the Association. The following questions will help!
Can I attend a board meeting?
Most homeowners association would welcome potential buyers at Association board meetings. As a potential buyer attending a meeting, seeing the items on the agenda will give you a sense of how the HOA is run, the people living there, and if there’s a sense of community and working together.
If you can’t make a meeting, ask for copies of the minutes to get a sense of the tone and what’s going on in the Association.
Do people seem to like living in the Association?
Take a walk or drive around the neighborhood, at different times of day, to get a sense of who lives there and their typical daily habits. Don’t hesitate to ask people how they like living in the homeowners association. Get as much information as possible. Since a homeowners association is a community governed by a community of people, you’ll be working with them too and you want to make sure you can live with them.
Is the Association well-funded?
Ask the realtor to get a set of current financials and the reserve study to try to understand where the HOA is financially. Again, this is where the realtor needs to understand the financials and the concept of a reserve study, so they can explain it to you. For example, asking a question like “Is there going to be money for the roof in 10 years or will the HOA be asking me for money in the form of a special assessment?”
If the answer to the question about is no, it has not planned for new roofing materials, then it may lower a potential buyer’s offer on a home in the Association if they are going to potentially be faced with fees for roofing in a few years.
As a buyer, be assertive and proactive before choosing to move into an Association. Realtors in general may not be informed about the homeowners association you are potentially buying a home in, which means ultimately it’s the buyer’s responsibility to ask good questions and be informed. But if someone doesn’t know how to explain it to you that’s difficult. The buyer needs to be adamant about getting answers to their questions because individual needs and lifestyle directly affect where and how you live.