Jan 19, 2016
6 HOA Questions You Should Ask Before Purchasing Your Home
There are many things to consider when purchasing a home. All the fees, responsibilities and changes one has to think about when making the big jump make it easy for home owners to be overwhelmed to the point where they forget to ask important questions about their HOA before signing on the dotted line.
What is an HOA?
An HOA (Home Owners Association) is a corporation that typically exists exclusively within planned development properties such as townhouses and condos where collected fees are used to upkeep the shared community’s common areas such as lawns, pools, elevators, etc.
What Questions Should I Be Asking About My HOA?
When it comes to moving into a new area, there are quite a few questions that you should seek the answers to in regards to your HOA:
1. What are the monthly/annual fees associated with living here?
This is the first question that should be on your mind when looking into buying a new home. The last thing you want to be blindsided by when purchasing a home is unexpected cost, after all.
2. What does my HOA fee cover?
This goes hand in hand with our first question. Some HOA fees are generous and include the cost of electricity and water within them while others don’t. That’s why I suggest asking what’s included in the price tag so that you can properly plan a budget around it.
3. How often do HOA fees increase?
The average person buying a home wants to live in there for at least a few years, so it’s important to consider how often your HOA fees will increase.
4. By how much do HOA fees increase?
If the current HOA costs are already towards the top of your budget and they increase by a large amount annually, you may have to consider shopping elsewhere. It sucks when HOA fees become the reason you can’t purchase a property, but it’s better to know early enough that you don’t end up locking yourself on the fast track to debt.
5. What are the HOA rules?
This may seem straightforward on the surface, but you’d be surprised at how many lawsuits exist surrounding home owners violating various HOA rules by doing things like renovations and decorating in ways that are out of line.
6. Does the HOA have any sort of insurance over the building(s) in its jurisdiction?
Here’s one question that most people never think to ask. Although certain states are more prone to natural disasters than others, it’s important to still ask whether or not your HOA has insurance that covers various natural disasters and even thinkings like freak floods (which can be avoided with the help of water sensors) and fires.
Are there any other HOA questions you’d suggest asking before buying? Let us know in the comments below!