What to Know When Buying a Home In an HOA

If you’re looking to purchase a new home in the Tacoma area, you may very well find yourself falling in love with a home in an HOA. Properties that are part of a community association often have high curb appeal, making them desirable for homeowners. However, HOAs can raise a lot of questions for prospective buyers, such as how much the fees are, what amenities they’ll receive, and why being part of an HOA is beneficial. If a home in an HOA has caught your eye, here are some questions you should ask before signing on the dotted line. 

What are the monthly fees?

Your HOA dues are not optional, and they must be paid every month without fail like an extension of your mortgage. Before you commit to a home inside of a homeowners association, make sure that you are able and willing to pay the HOA fees each month. You should also ask neighbors and your realtor about how often fee increases happen in order to gauge the potential of increasing assessments while you’re living there. For example, HOA dues in Washington can increase annually, unless there is a special or emergency assessment. If the fees are too high or if they increase often, it may be better to keep searching in a community association that you can more easily afford.

What amenities are included in the neighborhood?

Before asking this question, decide which amenities are important to you. Do you need a playground to keep your kids occupied during the day? A community center for birthdays or a pool for summer fun? Once you’ve decided which amenities are non-negotiable, which are ideal, and which are unnecessary, ask your realtor to show you homes inside HOAs that include those features. This will save you time when shopping for homes and will help ensure that your HOA dues are going toward features that you will regularly utilize. 

Who Are the Board Members & What Are They Like?

If possible, attend an HOA meeting or obtain minutes of past meetings. You can also ask other residents of the neighborhood about their experiences with the HOA board or community association management firm. Keep an eye out for repeated complaints across multiple residents, and use this information to determine whether you’d be a good match for this neighborhood. 

What do the CC&Rs say?

The rules and regulations of each HOA are unique, so you’ll want to make sure that you purchase a home in a neighborhood whose rules you’re willing to follow. CC&Rs are public record, so before you commit to purchasing a home, ask for access to the CC&Rs of that community association. Making sure that the HOA’s regulations are ones that you can easily follow will make your quality of life better in the long-term and will make the move-in process as hassle-free as possible.

More than half of the owner-occupied households in America are part of an HOA. Given this, if you’re house hunting in the Tacoma area, it’s likely that your dream home lies within a community association. Before purchasing, 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 area, give The Management Trust a call at (253) 472-0825. We successfully manage more than 1,500 unique neighborhoods throughout the country.