10 Things to Know About Homeowners and Condo Associations
Homeowners and Condo Associations can provide a lot of benefits and amenities to their community. But in order to enjoy these perks, you will have to commit to paying fees and agree to abide by the rules the association sets forth. If you are looking at purchasing a property with an HOA, here are the top 10 questions you should be asking about the homeowners or condo association before you buy in.
What are the monthly/annual fees?
Before you sign any contracts, you need to know how much the monthly or annual fees to pay for the Homeowners or Condo Association cost. These fees can vary widely, so it is important to know what you are committing to upfront.
What Do My Fees Pay For?
You will also want to know what is covered by these fees. The majority of them will typically go to insurance and maintenance for the community property and structures. This could include services such as landscaping, water, and trash pickup. Your fees may also entitle you to use of amenities, such as a swimming pool or fitness center.
What Is Not Covered by My Fees?
On the other hand, you will also need to know what is not covered by these fees. In some circumstances, there may be additional fees associated with using the swimming pool, fitness center, or other amenities. Or there may be exclusions that are your personal responsibility. For example, your Condo Association fees may cover maintenance of the building’s exterior, but not of the exterior deck connected to your unit.
What is the Delinquency Rate?
The HOA dues help keep the community property beautiful and ready to be enjoyed. That is why you will want to find out what percentage of members are delinquent on paying their dues. Associations with high delinquency rates may find it hard to keep up with maintenance costs. A lack of funds could mean that problems that arise down the road may not be addressed in a timely manner.
How Much is in the Association’s Reserve Fund?
The Homeowners or Condo Association should have the proper reserve funds set aside to cover, the replacement cost of capital items. The older that the property is, the larger this fund should be. Otherwise, you may find yourself paying special assessments when something goes wrong.
What Previous Special Assessments Have There Been?
Special assessments are a fee charged in addition to your monthly or annual dues in order to cover a specific project or need. In many cases, they are used to address a problem that has come up that cannot be handled by the condo association’s operating budget or reserve fund. They may also be used to cover one time fees, such as replacing an aging roof. Finding out what special assessments have been charged previously can give you an idea of how much extra you may be expected to pay.
Are There Any Planned Upcoming Special Assessments?
Special assessments may be planned out months or even years in advance. You should also ask if there are any planned upcoming special assessments and how much they will cost.
What are the Rules and Regulations?
Every HOA comes with rules and regulations about what you can and cannot do as a member of that community. These rules may cover everything from quiet hours to what color you can paint your home with. It is important to know these rules and regulations upfront to ensure they fit with your preferences and lifestyle.
What is Discussed in Board Meetings?
Asking to see minutes from the past few board meetings can give you a tremendous insight into the community. By reading over them, you can find out what work has been done recently and any ongoing concerns that are currently being addressed.
What Do Other Residents Think of the Association?
Current residents of the community can also provide you with valuable insight into the Homeowners or Condo Association. Their feedback can help you check for any problems or concerns you should know about before you join.