Bridget Alves                of Valencia

Blog - Full Service Real Estate Group, Inc

Thinking of purchasing a condo?

Bridget Alves - Monday, June 06, 2016

Condominiums are a hot commodity in markets across the country these days, and it really isn’t too difficult to see why. A condo is a cross between a single-family home and an apartment. On the one hand, when you own a condo, you’re off the hook for a lot of things that a traditional homeowner has to deal with like landscaping and maintenance/repair arrangements. On the other side of that coin, though, is going to be that when you own a condo, you’re going to have to deal with, and adhere to, the rules and regulations of the association. 

If you’re entertaining the idea of purchasing a condominium, here are a few things you’ll want to know before you sign anything:

  • The information about the association’s activities and operations that buyers are entitled to receive will vary from state-to-state. Make sure to ask any questions you have, and obtain any information you can about the association before the sale closes. You’ll want to know what you’re getting into.
  • Make sure that all the rules, regulations and bylaws are up-to-date. If not, it’s always possible that they can be updated in the future in an unsatisfactory way, and you’ll be stuck with it.
  • Ask for the budget reports for the previous year, current year, and upcoming year from the association. If you’re financially savvy, you can pour over the documents and make sure the budget is sound. If not, make sure to get a financial advisor who can take a look at it.
  • Every year, associations will receive an accounts report from a CPA that details the association’s financial situation. Pay very close attention to the details, as any concerns the CPA has with the association’s finances will be listed here. 

Purchasing a condo that’s covered by a well-managed association should be your primary goal. The location, price and aesthetics of your condo will seem far less important to you if you find yourself stuck with an inept association.

HOAs – What you need to know before moving in

Bridget Alves - Monday, February 22, 2016

If you’re moving into a newer neighborhood, odds are good that you’ll be a member of a Home Owner’s Association. These associations were created with the intent to keep one bad neighbor from tanking the property values of the homeowners around them; which isn’t bad, all things considered. After all, who wants to get a significantly lower price for their home just because the guy down the street likes to keep a variety of car parts on his lawn?


Know the rules and regulations before you move in

Some HOAs are relatively lenient, with rules and regulations in place that govern what you can and can’t do with your home and still allowing you a decent amount of freedom. Others, though, have very stringent rules that may be more than you can handle. Knowing exactly what you’re going to be dealing with before you move in is absolutely crucial. It’s not unheard of for an HOA to fine a resident because they have too many pets, or the automobile they keep in their driveway isn’t new enough.


If you don’t like a rule, try to get it changed

If your children have their hearts set on a jungle gym in the backyard, but your HOA doesn’t allow them, talk to your neighbors. The rule may have been intended to keep people from building structures in their backyards that lend themselves to a lot of outdoor parties that disturbs the peace of the neighborhood. If you speak to your neighbors, it may be possible to change or amend the rule to allow for a swing set and a slide.


Do not take personal gripes directly to the HOA

The HOA is designed to keep the neighborhood from changing too much, to keep property values up, and to ensure that everyone living in the neighborhood is able to live peacefully without stepping on each other’s toes. This last bit often ends up with an individual filing a complaint with the HOA for even the most minor of neighborly transgressions. For example, if you have a neighbor who often entertains, and their houseguests are outside late at night making noise, don’t run directly to the HOA. Instead, try talking to your neighbor first. If you approach them respectfully and are willing to compromise, it’s likely you’ll be able to come up with a solution without getting the HOA involved.


If you can’t change the rules, follow them anyway
America was founded on rebellion and revolution. It’s in our blood to take a stand against things we see as unfair or unjust. When it comes to the HOA, though, it might not be worth it. When you choose not to follow the rules, regardless of what your feelings are as to their validity, the HOA can, and will, take you to court. Most of the time, they win.

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