How does a potential buyer find out what an HOA allows, i.e. a shed, what type of patio cover we can install, height of fence?

Asked by Dale, McKinney, TX Mon Jun 13, 2011

I've read the online restrictions, etc. for a few and didn't get a clear answer as everything has to be submitted and reviewed. The contact information was usually a mailing address. It doesn't seem like there is enough time between making an offer and the end of the option period to find out these answers.

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Patrick Jack…, Agent, McKinney, TX
Mon Jun 13, 2011
Hi Dale,

An Addendum for Property Subject to a Mandatory Homeowners Associaiton can provide you with the right to view the restrictions outside the option period. It has it's own date. This is an addendum that should be added to any offer you present.

If you are looking for the deed restrictions and HOA rules before you enter into a contract on a property, that may be more challenging. Some HOA's put them on their web site. If your agent has worked with a particular HOA before, they may have a copy. Any HOA management company can provide you with a copy of the restrictions for subdivisions that they mange, but they charge you a fee and can take up to 10 days to get you the information.

Use the Addendum or work with an agent who will help you find the answers that you are looking for.

Patrick Jackson
1 vote
Jolie Willia…, Agent, Plano, TX
Mon Jun 13, 2011
There is an addendum to the contract that is used when an HOA is involved. It states that the seller has X amount of time to provide this information to the buyer. The buyer then has 7 days to terminate the contract after receiving this information from the seller.
1 vote
Fred Glick, Agent, Mountain View, CA
Mon Jun 13, 2011
In most states, there is a time period that allows you to review the documents of an association and decide if you want to buy in there or not.

Absent that, contact your agent and have them find out the info. It's their job!
Web Reference:
1 vote
T.E. & Naima…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Sun Jun 26, 2011
Patrick (and Jolie) has given you some good information. Read the HOA addendum to your contract. If A1 is checked, then you can see the number of days the seller has to provide the information and how many days after that you get to bail out of the contract for free.

Your Realtor should be providing you advice on this.

To reiterate, the option period in the contract is different from the time to terminate after receiving the HOA information. While this may still not provide enough time to get answers to all your questions, the rules and regulations from the HOA will give you guidance. The CCRs set limits on the rules and regulations. The by-laws regulate the HOA itself, not you.

Unfortunately, the HOAs have pretty much unlimited power to make your life miserable, if they so desire. In addition, the personality types of people running associations are often the ones who like to get in your business and express their personal tastes and dislikes of your landscaping choices and so on. The HOA can be a blessing or a curse. The management company (usually HOAs hire one) can often answer your questions about what's allowed and what's not. Get their contact information from your Realtor and ask.

We don't have a Trustee, a Declaration of Condominium, or a manifesto for houses in Texas. Sorry that people who don't understand our market are giving you answers.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Tim Carper, , Dover, DE
Tue Jun 14, 2011
Bottom line, if you really like a property and need to clarify details, it is best to write the contract right then and there and stipulate in additional terms, items that you would like to look into further, to lock the seller into the contract, so that another buyer cannot lock down the property before you. For example, you see an awesome deal on a home that appears to have a major defect, like bad joists in the basement or a failing air conditioning system. You can stipulate that you want those looked at by a certain date and corrected. That not only locks you into the property, giving you the chance to back out if an item isn't corrected, but also shows the seller why you are coming in at a low sales price. Similar to noting defects a car has when you ask to get it for less then asking price.
0 votes
Tim Carper, , Dover, DE
Tue Jun 14, 2011
I totally agree with Patrick! You can write your contract to allow any number of days to review the HOA deed restrictions. I structure my contracts specifying a date that they need to be provided to the buyer and a timeframe for the buyer to review and agree to the HOA rules. I consider it a good practice to have a buyer sign off on the HOA restrictions, whether they ask or not, so that there aren't any issues in the future.
0 votes
Kim Gaffey, Agent, Topsfield, MA
Mon Jun 13, 2011
As a buyer you should request either your buyer's agent or the listing agent to obtain a copy of the HOA bylaws and covenants or a rules and regs document, whichever exists for your respective HOA. These documents will list specific details you are looking for. If neither agent can locate the docments you should contact the a Trustee of the HOA and they sould be able to get you the answers you need.
0 votes
Simplylaw, Home Buyer, 11694
Mon Jun 13, 2011
The proprietary lease or Declaration of Condominium, Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws provide leeway for structural renovations on a case by case basis. Submit the plan for approval prior to signing the contract
0 votes
Henri And Je…, Agent, Doylestown, PA
Mon Jun 13, 2011
If you have a specific question such as: Are fences allowed; can I have a lettered truck; am I allowed more than 1 pet; get the number of the home owners association and call them. If you have a specific request/fear/ condern about the HOA, find out before you write up the offer and do inspections. You may have a very specific question that can be answered easily.
0 votes
Gerard Carney, Agent, Spring Hill, FL
Mon Jun 13, 2011
The Selling agent should provide a copy or the rules and bylaws of the property as outlined by the HOA. Make them give you a copy so you can review before making a decision to make an offer!, Ask this before you do anything else because many HOAs require background checks which are fees you need to pay, so decide if you can live with the rules and the fees before you spend a dime!
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Mon Jun 13, 2011
Your buyers agent is person to communicate all your concerns with .

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
0 votes
Manuel Crist…, Agent, McKinney, TX
Mon Jun 13, 2011
Some HOA's have their own website and/or HOA management companies. Copies of bylaws can be requested to assure HOA will allow you to do what you want to do to your property. It is a rule that I tell my clients when it comes to HOA's...."its better to ask for permission, instead of asking for forgiveness". HOA's must review and approve your plans first before they allow you to proceed. If you do something without their knowledge and approval they can force you to take down shed or fence at your own expense. If you are worried about the bylaws, make sure you have an adequate option period to review bylaws or have contingency for satisfactory HOA bylaws/rules.

Best Regards,

Manny Cristales, REALTOR®
SFR Certified -Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource
TAHS -Texas Affordable Housing Specialist
Fathom Realty
Tambien Hablo Español
0 votes
John Safstrom, Other Pro, Allen, TX
Mon Jun 13, 2011
Depending on which neighborhood it is, they should be able to get you a copy of the HOA covenants.

Even still, you will likely need to have the building committee of the HOA approve plans on whatever you are building.

You may try and talk to a neighbor and see if they can tell you who is on the committee.

Systematic Home Inspections
0 votes
Vickey Wacht…, Agent, Katy, TX
Mon Jun 13, 2011

There is an addendum for Property Subject to Mandatory Membership in a Property Owners Associaiton and the first section is Subdivision Information A. 1. has a blank that your agent fills out saying how many days the owner has to get the information to you, this is seperate from the option period.
If you are not represented by a Realtor you should interview and retain one. It helps having someone on your side who can find information like this for you. Good Luck
0 votes
The Moseley &…, Agent, Allen, TX
Mon Jun 13, 2011

You may inquire on the Covenant Deeds & Restrictions with the HOA associated with the community that the home you are interested in is located. You may locate the HOA by performing an internet search on the subdivision & reading over their web page to see which association is managing that community. Once you know who the association is, you may then contact their offices directly to inquire on any & all questions you have regarding specific deed covenants & restrictions. ...or you may hire the services of a real estate professional to perform all this legwork for you!! ;)

Best of Luck!
Angela Moseley
The Moseley & Jones Team
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes
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