Learning How To Work With A Homeowner Association When Buying A Home

Real Estate Blog

Many communities, especially gated communities or condominium areas, utilize a homeowner association to create a series of guidelines and bylines. If you're considering buying a home with such a group, it is important to understand them fully. Otherwise, you might end up butting heads and regretting your purchase.

The Basics Of Homeowner Associations

Homeowner associations are groups that help govern a community by creating guidelines, upholding rules, and maintaining certain common areas. For example, they would be responsible for cleaning the sidewalks in a gated community or fixing broken pavement in basketball courts or common parking lots. They typically charge homeowners about $200 to $400 a month in fees, but this varies.

In many ways, homeowner associations can be a positive thing when you are purchasing a home. They will perform duties (like the above-mentioned cleaning tasks) that would be tedious to perform on your own. They also schedule group gatherings to create a sense of community. However, it is important to understand what the association expects from you before buying.

Talk To The Association Before You Buy

If you are seriously considering purchasing a home under the jurisdiction of a homeowner's association, get their contact information and sit down with the directors to have a talk. You need to ask them some important questions regarding their:

  • Articles of incorporation
  • Bylaws
  • Rules and regulations
  • Fees (including amount and regularity of occurrence)
  • Rules and guidelines

The directors of the association will likely be happy to either discuss this information with you or give you paperwork regarding it. Understanding this information can help you decide if you'd fit in with the neighborhood. For example, if you enjoy playing music late at night, but the association forbids such behavior, it might not be a good idea to purchase the home.

Understanding Your Rights

The fees you pay a homeowner association are designed to cover the expenses of their operation. However, if they fail to meet these duties and still accept your fees, there is a chance your rights in the association may be violated. For example, if the directors are neglecting the necessity of getting important common areas repaired, they may be at fault for neglect.

Thankfully, you can have directors removed from their post if they are neglecting their duties. You can also pursue legal action against the association if necessary. However, it is important to know that they too can sue you if they have just cause, such as not following guidelines or refusing to pay your fees.

A homeowner association can be a powerful tool for protecting your rights as a homeowner and making sure that everyone in a neighborhood is on the same page. Understanding the above mentioned information can help you get along with your homeowner's association after purchasing a home.

For more information, contact local professionals like Mary Couser: Galbreath Realtors.


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