How to Handle Your Housing Complex’s Homeowners’ Association
Recent statistics show that nearly 60 million Americans currently live in condominiums. And that’s not even counting the folks who have vacation condos at their disposal for impromptu weekend getaways or retirement. But why condos at all over regular townhouses or apartments? Actually, there are a lot more benefits than you might think.
You know about their prime locations, especially when they’re located on the beach or in urban centers of culture and cuisine. You know about the tennis courts and swimming pools and fitness facilities most complexes have to offer. But perhaps the best advantage of living in a condo is that when things break down, all you have to do is contact the homeowners’ association (HOA) to get it repaired. Numbers from 2010 report that the number of HOA communities throughout the country is now over 300,000, which isn’t surprising given all that information.
Of course, there are downsides to being part of an HOA, too. The most obvious negative is the added cost you pay every month on top of your mortgage, but think about it — it’s likely less than you’d be paying for regular repairs and maintenance fees anyway. Still, some vacation condos tenants and even some year-round residents have a hard time wrapping their brains around the very idea of the HOA, which is why we’ve compiled a few tips to help you deal.
Know the rules and read the agreements.
Nothing is worse than receiving your bill at the end of a bill and finding out you owe an additional $200 to the HOA because you broke some kind of bylaw. Reading the fine print of the contract when you sign it means more than simply glossing over the details — it means really studying all the stipulations so you can avoid situations like a secret $200 fee that seemingly pops up out of nowhere. This is one of the most essential tips you can follow when looking around for new condos for sale.
Realize that you’re all in it together.
The “all” means your neighbors as well as yourself. They signed the agreements just like you did and they likely have all the same questions you do. Depending on how long they’ve lived in the complex and have dealt with the HOA, maybe they even have the answers. Use your neighbors as a great resource for finding out what kind of rules your HOA tends to enforce more heavily than others. After all, you can never have too many allies when it comes to dealing with housing overlords.
Always keep in contact with HOA members.
Luxury real estate agents can only tell you so much. At the end of the day, they’re looking to make a sale, so they may end up talking up a place far beyond what it’s actually worth in terms of quality of life. The best way to help out your situation, though, is always to get approval from your HOA before you make any changes to the property. Open lines of communications are always the quickest ways to happiness in the housing department.
Got a tip for prospective tenants of vacation condos or other facilities inside a housing complex? Leave it in the comments below! Helpful research also found here.