3 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Home In An HOA Community

If you've found a home that you love but the home is located within a community overseen by an HOA, there are a few important questions you need to ask yourself before purchasing. Outlined below are three such questions which will help you to decide whether the home is worth the hassle.

1. What Changes Will You Need for the Home to Meet HOA Standards?

If the HOA is a newly added feature to the community, or if the home's previous owners didn't care about going against HOA standards, you may find yourself out of a lot of money to get your home to where it needs to be.

There are HOA regulations on a number of things, such as the home's exterior paint color, the height of fences, and even the number of gardening plots in the yard. If any of these things aren't currently up to standard, you could find yourself putting a lot of work into the house before you've even moved in. If, however, you'd still like to proceed with buying a certain home but will be required to make modifications, consider bidding lower than the asking price to make up for the expenses.  

2. Has the HOA Been Known to Overstep Boundaries?

While there are a number of laws that HOA's have to follow, that doesn't mean that a community's HOA isn't afraid to make community members' lives difficult.

Before purchasing your home, consider asking surrounding neighbors how they feel about the HOA. Are the standards impossible to keep, or is the HOA particularly unforgiving in this community? What happens when a community member cannot make an immediate change? If you don't feel comfortable interviewing neighbors, see if it's possible to go to an HOA meeting or get a copy of the last meeting's notes. It's important to know how the local HOA handles a number of situations before moving in, especially since you're making such a large investment.

3. Are There Any Rules That Would Be Impossible for You to Follow?

Even if you have the best of intentions, if certain HOA rules interfere with your life or would be otherwise impossible for you to follow, it's good to know about them beforehand.

For example, if you own a dog, what are the rules regarding electric fences or other safety boundaries? Or, if you run a business out of your home, such as a daycare center, are there any regulations against this? Unfortunately, there's really no quick and simple way to know what a potential HOA's rules are without reading through the rules and regulations handbook yourself. So, before purchasing your home, go through the handbook with a fine-toothed comb and see if there's anything in there that will interfere with your quality of life. If you'd like to be extra cautious, consider consulting with a real estate attorney who has experience with HOAs.

To learn more about HOAs and to see if it is something that you're interested in, consult with a real estate attorney like Iannello Anderson.