Three Tips for Reviewing Homeowners’ Association Disclosure Documents

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Whether you are buying a new Condo or moving into a Homeowners’ Association, you must review the disclosure documents provided.  Most people see the hundreds of pages of documents handed over, roll their eyes, and move on. But you’re not most people! You’re a winner who wants to be an engaged and involved owner.  Or at the very least, you don’t want to be screwed by a bad Board who wants to dictate how you live. Here are three tips for reviewing Homeowners’ Association disclosure documents to figure out what matters.

Read the Minutes Provided

There are clues to be found in the minutes.

Meeting minutes might seem boring, but they’re actually a window into the soul of your community.  If there’s something big going on, you’re going to find it in the minutes. For example, you might find out that there has been a recent crime spree in the neighborhood.  Perhaps there’s a neighboring community that is causing problems for the community you’re moving into. This will give you important questions to ask your realtor and the community manager of your new community.  Better to find something out before you can’t back out of a contract.

Confirm There are No Rules That Impact Your Lifestyle

There are a variety of things that a Homeowners’ Association can restrict which directly impact you.  This could be simple things like pet ownership, as some communities may restrict the types or breeds of pets you can own.  Some communities are moving to be smoke free. While that is great for some, other people might still enjoy the vice of the occasional cigar or cigarette.  Make sure you spend time reviewing Homeowners’ Association disclosure documents to find out if your lifestyle choices are going to be impacted.

Ask Good Questions and Assess the Answers

When it comes to HOAs, so few people ask questions, if you’re asking them at all, you’re ahead of the game.

One of the great results of asking questions after reviewing Homeowners’ Association disclosure documents is getting to see how good the Association’s community managers are.  Good managers will respond quickly with detailed answers. Bad ones will respond with poor answers, or no answers at all! Remember, these same managers are the ones who will be responding to you (or hounding you) if you purchase in the neighborhood.  They have an incredible ability to make you miserable if they’re bad at their job, so this is a great chance to see how competent they are.

Spend The Time to Assess the Community

When buying a new home, it is easy to get caught up in the fun parts of planning and decorating – or the stressful parts like assessing your budget.  Don’t forget about the community Association you’re buying into. They have a huge amount of power as far as how you live.  Spend the time reviewing Homeowners’ Association disclosure documents, and you’ll end up leading a better condo – or HOA – life.


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