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The Highlands : Real Estate Advice

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Wed Apr 22, 2015
Howard Berl answered:
Because depending upon the amenities offered. Example does the complex have a pool? Does the location have a guard & a gate 24/7? Does the property for sale have private streets? Is the area considered to be low crime? Does the listing have a club house that can be rented by the homeowners for a nominal cost?

All of these things are factors to consider when purchasing a home, condo, townhouse. Is the area considered to be exclusive. Is there a fabulous view of the mountains? Is there a work out room available and maintained correctly for the residents?

These factors can make or break an association fee. Association fees can vary from nominal $28.00 per month. (Rivers Edge) To all the way up to over $750.00 per month for Westin La Paloma (Homes) or even some of the Townhouses located in the Hyatt Conquistador area. So yes, there is a distinct reason why they do not discuss Association Fees. They can change your bottom line number immensely or insignificantly. *PLEASE NOTE: All Real Estate Agents that work for reputable firms that have the proper licenses are obligated by law to disclose the Association Fee to the prospective buyer. You must ask the Agent what the costs are associated with the Association Fee, also what is provided by the Association? They will give you a complete listing of what is included. Painting, Roof Maintenance, Paving of Streets and Alleyways, or even just maintenance of the common areas. All of these things can have a profound effect on the monthly or yearly association fee!

TIP: If you are going to pay your Association Fee in advance, say for 1 full year. Instead of paying the bill monthly, you are possibly putting your funds at risk. If the Association gets sued, if a judgement is issued by a court with Jurisdiction over the area. Those are the funds that they take first. So you could lose your Association fee that you pre-paid.

Also to be on the "Safe Side" most homeowners & rental policies have riders that can be added to protect you, in the event that the 'Association' does get sued. This therefore limits your liability, and may prevent you from losing a great deal of money in the future.

"I am sorry if I have been a bit long winded. Just wanted to make sure that I answered the group's question sufficiently enough for prospective buyers to be able to make an educated determination about the factor of Association Fees. It can really make or break a property purchase/sale. So CAVEAT EMPTOR or BUYER BEWARE! Make sure to have an attorney or a trusted advisor go through all the paperwork with a fine tooth comb. Many Associations can put limitation or deed restrictions onto the Association. Like wether or not the prospective property can be rented out in the future or not. So yes, it is very important to factor in HOA or Homeowners Association Fees." In conclusion, another factor that can come into play is does the HOA have an Association Management Firm that has a manager for the property? If the answer is yes, it is good in that you will have, hopefully a good manager who is responsible and educated in all the applicable laws for your state. The 'Management Firm' continues to send their employees (your property manager) for continuing education, & has a license issued to practice, Property Management in your state. This is crucial as the laws in all 50 contiguous United States and all of our other US possessions have laws that change or are updated on a regular basis. Association Management Laws are like the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, as they are "living documents" that change as the social changes in society occur. This is done to protect your Homeowners Association and also to protect you the prospective buyer/homeowner.
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