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Top 10 Things to Ask a Home Owners Assocation

Tuesday, January 4, 2022   /   by Client Care Coordinator

Top 10 Things to Ask a Home Owners Assocation

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Before you buy, contact the association with the following questions.

In the process, you’ll learn how responsive, and organized, its members are.

  1. What percentage of units is owner-occupied? What percentage is tenant-occupied? Generally, the higher the percentage of owner-occupied units, the more marketable the units will be at resale.

  2. What covenants, bylaws, and restrictions govern the property? What grandfather clauses are in place? Are rentals allowed? You may find, for instance, that those who buy a property after a certain date cannot rent out their units, but buyers who bought earlier can.  Ask for a copy of the bylaws to determine if you can live within them. Have an attorney review property docs, including the master deed, for you.

  3. How much does the association keep in reserve? Request further information on how that money being invested?

  4. Are association assessments keeping pace with the annual rate of inflation? Smart boards raise assessments a certain percentage each year to build reserves to fund future repairs. To determine if the assessment is reasonable, compare the rate to others in the area.

  5. What does and doesn’t the assessment cover—common area maintenance, recreational facilities, trash collection, snow removal?

  6. What special assessments have been mandated in the past five years? How much was each owner responsible for? Some special assessments are unavoidable. However, repeated, expensive assessments could be a red flag about the condition of the building or the board’s fiscal policy.

  7. How much turnover occurs in the building?  Request additional information on how that money will be spent.

  8. Is the project in litigation? If the builders or homeowners are involved in a lawsuit, reserves can be depleted quickly.

  9. What is the insurance deductible on the master policy? When the association makes a claim that policy has a deductible. Talk to your insurance carrier regarding the coverage for paying your portion of that deductible.

  10. Are multiple associations involved in the property? In very large developments, umbrella associations, as well as the smaller association into which you're buying, may require separate assessments.

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