5 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home in an HOA

Purchasing a home is always a big and exciting step in anyone’s life. When considering properties, it’s always important to be well-informed so that you can make an educated decision that allows you to enjoy your Tacoma home rather than worrying about factors that didn’t come up during the home-buying process. If you’re considering a home in a Tacoma HOA, here are five questions that you should always ask before making a final decision.

1. How much are my fees, and how often are they due?

This is often the first question that comes to mind for buyers when touring properties within a community association. The real estate agent should make it clear from the beginning what your monthly fees would be, but always inquire if it isn’t made apparent. Knowing how much your dues are will allow you to accurately calculate your monthly budget and determine whether you can reasonably afford the property. Keep in mind that additional fees can apply throughout the year, although these won’t be issued monthly as HOA dues are.

2. What do my HOA fees cover?

Once you’ve decided whether the HOA fees are within your budget, ask about what exactly those fees cover. HOA dues typically cover services such as landscaping of community property, amenity maintenance, trash removal, pest control, and more. However, every association is different when it comes to what exactly they cover, so determine this before buying in order to gain a better understanding of what costs you’ll need to cover for yourself.

3. How often will my dues increase?

You may be able to afford your monthly dues now, but that may not always be the case. HOA dues are eligible to increase annually in the state of Washington, so find out from your realtor or residents whether your HOA tends to increase dues annually, and to what extent they tend to raise them. Finding out this history can help you project future costs and estimate whether it’s within your budget for the years to come.

4. What are the rules & regulations?

Along with the financials, one of the most pressing matters for homebuyers is what the HOA’s rules are. Each community association has its own unique set of rules and regulations, also called CC&Rs, which you are required to follow. Those who fail to adhere to the rules can be fined or otherwise penalized, so make sure that you’re willing to follow these rules before making your decision. CC&Rs are public records, so you may be able to request a copy through your realtor or the HOA board. If you’ve made an offer, the CC&R documents are generally provided to you as part of the escrow, so you can review them before you make a final decision.

5. Can I obtain a copy of the board’s meeting minutes?

If you’d like to get a sense of the climate in the community and how meetings usually go, you can ask to attend a meeting or request a copy of past meeting minutes. These minutes can provide insight into how other residents are feeling about their experience and their quality of life in that HOA. You may spot a red flag that steers you away from a particular community association, or you may find out that it’s the perfect place for you.

Before purchasing a home in a Tacoma HOA, make sure that you do your due diligence and consider a wide range of factors that could affect your quality of life while in your new home. HOAs that utilize a community association management firm will often be better equipped to handle homeowner issues and can make your time at home more enjoyable and hassle-free. For more information about community association management services for the Tacoma, Washington, area, give The Management Trust a call at (253) 472-0825 or fill out our online contact form. We have successfully managed more than 1,500 unique neighborhoods throughout the country, and we’d love to work with your HOA as well.