Being able to own a home, condominium, or a townhouse with a planned development is great because you have fewer responsibilities on the upkeep and the surroundings of your home. The fact that many of them have amenities like pools, gyms, and clubhouses is another fantastic benefit. However, having these advantages can come with a price to your finances and freedom when owning a home.
Planned development means you are required to be a part of the homeowner’s association (HOA), which means you are going to have to pay fees that involve the upkeep of the area and other shared structures. This membership also means that you must abide by its conditions and restrictions. For example, if you wanted to paint your door red or park an RV in the driveway, you could not do these things depending on the conditions, which are concerned with the appearance of your home.
Here are four more important things that you should know before buying a property that requires you to join the HOA.
1. Wide Range of Fees
There are many things that go into the fees such as the size of the amenities that come with the property and how many are present. For example, if a development is gated and features a golf course, you can expect to have higher fees.
Fees really depend on the location and orientation of a development and how much the upkeep costs.
2. What You Receive Also Varies
Buying a home in a community that is well maintained and managed includes a bundle of other things like legal obligations and entitlements. The services and amenities that the homeowner’s association is responsible for can also vary along with the fees that are charged.
3. Fees and Mortgage Approval
Purchasing a home in a planned development means that you must consider the HOA fees into your finances overall. Potential mortgage lenders are also going to be factoring this in.
Banks examine the monthly HOA fees when figuring out how much of a mortgage you can afford, which they also do with property taxes. In many developments, property taxes are not included in the HOA fees.
With this, you may end up wrestling with annoying tradeoffs when deciding with other properties. You may also be left with an approved, smaller amount to be spent on your home with higher HOA dues.
4. Be Familiar with the HOA’s Rules
All homeowner’s associations have their own set of unique covenants and rules to be followed, and you must be fully aware of all of them. Even if you hear about some second-hand facts, or if you have experience and knowledge of past developments, do not rely on this information to learn about an HOA’s rules. It is also important to discuss this with other people you plan to live with and if you can handle living and following these rules.
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