If you are in a love-hate relationship with your Home Owners Association, you are definitely not alone! At LRA, we talk to clients frequently who, when starting their search for a home, weigh the pros and cons of moving into an HOA community with great seriousness. Ultimately, their choice is based on personal preferences, coupled with buyers own comfort levels for living under a set of HOA rules.
When making this decision, we advise clients to factor not just the membership costs, which can range anywhere from $30 per month to $300 a month (and even higher), but also we urge buyers to evaluate the services and amenities that the HOA provides, such as swimming pool, rec center, snow plowing, and trash pick up, for example. In terms of the requirements under which you must live, some HOAs may dictate how high you can build a fence, limit your exterior paint choices, and even how many pets you are allowed to own. So, when buying a home in an HOA community, there can be a lot more to consider outside of the home itself.
After attending a real estate broker's continuing education class, I felt compelled to share some newly acquired knowledge about how HOAs have evolved in Colorado and what prospective home buyers should understand before they purchase property under an HOA in Colorado. As a result, I have created a check list for the prospective HOA home buyer to consider.
Prospective HOA Home Buyer Check List
- Do Your HOA Homework - When you finally find the perfect home, and your offer is accepted, it is important to take the time to ask for, acquire and read through the HOA Bylaws before your Due Diligence deadline. Be sure to read the financials and understand where the member fees are going and if the board staying on top of maintenance issues.
- Understand Board Responsibilities & Member Rights - The HOA is the elected, governing body serving the home owners. The board has responsibilities, for example, the HOA itself must register with the State of Colorado, and in some cases the board members must be certified. The members have rights and responsibilities too and each HOA has Bylaws that should articulate these.
- Ask the Neighbors - Knock on the doors of your prospective neighbors and ask them how they feel about the HOA and take note of how they react and what they say. Ask questions like do they feel the board is doing a good job? Does the snow plowing get done in a timely fashion? Do a lot of members attend HOA meetings?
- Amenity Check - Take a tour of the rec center, pool and tennis courts, if these shared amenities are included in your HOA fees. In what condition are these shared facilities? Do you envision using these facilities? Take note of the wear and tear and maybe even ask if the HOA Board is planning an assessment or supplemental fee in the near future.
We consider this list a starting point, as we know there are a lot more questions you can ask and we always encourage our clients to do as much research as possible. We recommend that you get in touch with the The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies and familiarize yourself with their website and their resources, who are available to assist you. This division can be reached at:
Division of Real Estate
1560 Broadway, Suite 925
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: 303-894-2166 | Fax: 303-894-2683
For a more complete list of resources from how to work with your mortgage lender, real estate broker and HOAs we invite you to visit this website here. At Louisville Realty Associates, we understand the nuances that come with home ownership, especially when an HOA is involved. At LRA, we have the experience, energy and depth of knowledge to help you not just survive your transaction, but we make sure you are fully informed and educated as you make various decisions. You can reach me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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