As a Realtor and the Treasurer on my Home Owners Association I would say look deeply into all of the information you can find. If you feel like your Realtor is hiding something from you, look deeper into the situation for yourself. You can find a lot of information that you will want to be aware of. Title companies deal with Home Owner Associations every time a property in the community sells, so they should be able to give you any information as far as who to contact.
Now for the hard part. Many home owner associations aren't run properly, so it may be like pulling teeth to find the information you need. Here are a few things you should ask about when your looking a little deeper:
1. Ask to see their financials. Where are your HOA dues going and what are they paying for.
2. Ask about the insurance policy for the Association. What does it cover? How many claims have been made?
3. What policies are/aren't enforced? (ie: parking, garbage cans, housing modifications, etc.)
4. How many units are owned by the same owner? (This can affect some types of lending products).
5. How many units are rented? (This can also affect some types of lending products).
6. How much money is in reserves? (ie: money for new roofs, exteriors, damage not covered by insurance, etc.)
7. What do the current dues cover?
8. Are there any special assessments?
9. How much is the transfer fee?
10. Are there any pending lawsuits or judgments against the community?
A home owners association is one of the most vital parts to a neighborhood. It can make or break it. Don't let your Realtor, or anyone else for that matter get away with being vague. This is your due diligence to find out this information, take it upon yourself to know what your getting into. Laws vary from state to state so you may want to talk to a real estate attorney as well.
I hope this helps, feel free to email or call if you have any questions.
Bryan Maynes - Realtor
Dwellings Real Estate
801.631.7530 - Phone
email@example.com - Email
In Florida, the seller of a resale unit must provide documents on the HOA including the CCRs (conditions, covenants and restrictions), and the by-laws/rules to the buyer. The buyer has 3 days from the receipt of these documents to rescind his/her offer without penalty. (BTW< it is longer for new construction.)
Bryan and Ian have provided you the right questions. Provide your Realtor w/ a list and ask them to go get the answers for you. Although your Realtor should get this info for you, if they fail to follow through or succeed, do take it upon yourself to find the answers.
I recently purchased a condo in FL and the association fees there had doubled in the last 2 years. The reason for this development was the insurance. Insurance rates have skyrocketed in FL in the last 2 years due to the year of hurricanes.
This may not be your reason, but most likely is. Be sure to find out before you buy. If you are in a contract to purchase, you can add an addendum that you reserve your right to hold back any additional moneys until you receive the POS from the association and any additional information you need to get an answer to your question.
For a checklist of what to look for when buying a condo, look on my website, at the "condominiums considered" page.
A lot of associations charge money for copies of these docs, so the listing agent or buyers agent are not likely to want to pay those fees if you are not going to make an offer. You can do so if you'd like, but if you like the community, you will be protected when making an offer by the clause in the contract that covers these fees.
I like the idea of knocking on doors too though - it's a good idea to see who your neighbors would be and what they think of how things are being run by the community. Ask if they go to the meetings though, usually the ones who complain the most are those who don't bother to go to the meetings and cast a vote.
Michael Saunders & Co.
Venice, FL 34285