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Before you buy, know about the community HOA

Buying a home is an exciting time. In California, finding a good residential property for an affordable price is quite the accomplishment, yet there are a few important things to know before you rush ahead with the purchase. One of the most crucial factors that can determine how you will use and enjoy your new home is the community Homeowners' Association.

The HOA in your potential neighborhood could greatly impact everything from what color you can paint your house to how many visitors can park at your home at a time. Before you sign on the bottom line, it is in your interests to get to know the HOA and how it works. Knowing the rules and enforcement procedures can save you time, money and stress in the future.

The risks associated with an HOA

When you buy a home in a community governed by an HOA, you will be subject to rules enforced by people you do not know. As a property owner, this could be a troubling thought to you. With the amount of money you will have to pay to the HOA, it is worth the time and effort to do some research and learn how you can avoid problems while still protecting your rights.

Before you rush to buy that home or sign on the dotted line, there are a few steps you can take that will help you understand your HOA better. These include:

  • Ask for a copy of the community bylaws and read them completely. Ask questions about confusing terms.
  • Know how much you will pay in dues, and get information about how the HOA uses these dues.
  • Ask both your potential neighbors and HOA members about management techniques and enforcement procedures.
  • Ask for copies of the HOA's yearly reports so you can gauge the financial health of the organization.
  • Ask to meet the board president or lead property manager to ask any questions you may have.

After purchasing a home, one of the most effective ways to protect your interests and make life for everyone in your community better is to get involved with the HOA yourself.

In the event of a problem

If you experience a problem with your HOA, it can be daunting and frustrating. Who should you talk to, and how can you enforce your rights? What happens if you disagree with a decision the HOA made? You may find it beneficial to work with an experienced attorney who deals in cases involving HOA-owner disputes. You have the right to fight for your interests, but you do not have to fight alone.

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