If you’re buying a home with a mandatory Homeowner’s Association (HOA) or Condo Association, we will write into the contract that the seller will need to provide us with a copy of all applicable HOA or condo documents during the Due Diligence Period (usually within 3 days of the acceptance date). These documents generally include the Declarations and Bylaws, the Rules and Regulations, meeting minutes from the previous 12 months, and the current year budget and financial statement.
You will need to review these documents thoroughly and make sure that you understand them and approve of them. Remember, the Due Diligence Period is the time for you to make certain that you are purchasing the home that’s right for you, and this includes understanding the HOA documents and all of the by-laws and rules that come with the HOA.
It’s important to remember that when there is a mandatory HOA or Condo Association, you’re not just buying your particular unit or house, but you’re also buying into the building. You need to figure out if the neighborhood or building is stable and healthy, financially-speaking or if there could be potential problems, either with big upcoming maintenance issues, a large upcoming assessment, or delinquent condo owners who aren’t paying their HOA fees, to name a few. It’s also important to learn about the neighborhood or building rules (many of these may apply more to condos than single-family neighborhoods, but it’s still important to mention them), such as:
- Are there pet restrictions (number of pets, breeds, weights, etc.)?
- Can you move in any day/time or are there restrictions on when you’re allowed to move in?
- Are there are move in fees or procedures such as needing to reserve an elevator?
- Can you lease your unit or home, and if so, for how long?
- Is more than 50% of the building renters? (If so, there is a good chance your mortgage lender won’t approve the loan as a building with too many renters is a risky investment.)
- For a single-family home, can you paint the exterior, build a fence, put up a shed, or make other exterior changes without permission, or are there architectural restrictions?
- Are there rules regarding the color or type of window treatments that you choose that may be able to be seen from the exterior?
For all of the above reasons, we strongly urge you to read each HOA and/or condo documents thoroughly and as quickly as possible upon receipt. Write down any questions or issues you’d like to know more about as we can ask for clarification or further documentation — in some cases, we may need to put the request in writing in the form of a formal request for information; in other cases, it may just be a quick call or email to the seller’s agent. Pay particular attention to the meeting minutes as this is often where you’ll learn what’s really going on in the building and any future plans for big ticket repairs.
After you’ve read the HOA/condo docs, email me any questions you have and whether you feel comfortable going forward, want to cancel the contract, or would like additional information.
Questions? Call us at 404-994-2181 or email Maura(at)BuySellLiveAtlanta(dot)com