4 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Home In An HOA Neighborhood

If you are considering buying a house in a neighborhood that requires membership in a homeowner's association, you may not be sure where to begin when gathering information. If so, the four following questions can help you get started.

What Are The Membership Fees?

Since most homeowner's associations require a fee for membership, one of the first questions you should ask is how much it is. Along with finding out the cost, you may also want to inquire about the frequency at which the fee is due, such as monthly or yearly.

When asking about the membership fee, also see what is included. Are there security patrols in the neighborhood? Do they provide garbage service or common area landscaping? While discussing this with the HOA representative, try to get a list of everything the fee covers.

Does The House You Want To Buy Meet The Association's Standards?

Before you buy a house in the neighborhood, find out from the representative or your real estate agent if it meets the association's standards and rules. If not, you may need to do some remodeling to keep it within the homeowner's association agreement, such as fixing the front porch or painting the house an approved color.

What Type Of Landscaping Is Required?

Along with keeping your grass mowed and lawn manicured, the association may also require you to keep your grass as green as possible and free from weeds. Because of this, they may mandate that you use fertilizer and weed killer on your lawn at specified intervals. Make sure you ask about this policy, as well as if they want you to use specific brands on your yard.

How Are Neighbor Conflicts Resolved?

Another question you may want to ask is about conflict resolution. If an argument about property lines or noise levels were to come up in the future, how does the association take care of it? Do they call a hearing to get both sides of the story? Or, do they mediate the disagreement on a personal level, such as having both parties sit down with a representative instead of at a scheduled meeting?

The above questions can give you a starting point while trying to find out about a potential area's HOA. As you speak with the homeowner's association's representative, you can also ask or write down additional concerns so you can have as much information as possible before deciding to move into the area.