HOA’s: Questions People Forget to Ask

In an earlier Blog, I discussed the essential questions to have answered about a Homeowners Association. The following questions have been derived from 15 years of real estate experience; they are the little things that when discovered after closing can cause major annoyances for some owners. Please consider the following:

  1. Pets:   Are there pet restrictions? If not, make sure to also ask if there is a pet weight limit restriction. Also ask if there are breed restrictions.
  2. Holidays:   Are holiday decorations restricted and is there is a time limit of how long decorations can stay up.
  3. Guests & Parking:   Is there a limit to cars per household or are there restrictions about street or overnight street parking?
  4. Alterations: What if any changes can be made to the exterior of the home and what is the approval process?
  5. Special Assessments: Has there been an assessment in the last 10 years? 5 years? Last year? If the answer is yes, find out what repairs were done and the assessment amount(s) per homeowner. Are there any upcoming assessments?
  6. Rental Property: Are rentals allowed in the community? If so, are there restrictions on the percent of rentals in the community?
  7. Guests & Community Amenities: Are guests allowed in the community pool? If yes, how many. Are there specified times when guests may use the pool?
  8. Landscaping: Can you plant flowers or hang baskets on your front porch? Are their restrictions about the types of trees that can be planted?
  9. Businesses: Does the HOA allow home businesses? If you run a business from home find out if some businesses or all are prohibited.
  10. Recreational Vehicles: Can you store my boat or RV on the premises?
  11. Commercial Vehicles: Can a commercial vehicle be parked at the house? What defines a commercial vehicle?
  12. Dues Increases: How many times in the last 5 years have the homeowner’s dues been raised and what are the current homeowner’s dues?
  13. Lawsuits: Are there any current litigation pending involving the HOA? If yes, find out what the lawsuit is about. You may want your attorney to call the board president to discuss any lawsuits pending.
  14. Signs: Are For Sale signs allowed in front of the house? Ask about other signage regulations.
  15. Community Amenities: Are all of the amenities completed, if not what additional amenities are planned and when will they be completed. Under what circumstances would they not be completed?

Terry Roberts, Owner/Broker RE/MAX Landmark

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