Mary Foley Real Estate Inc.
Mary Foley Real Estate Inc.


Posted by Mary Foley Real Estate Inc. on 4/13/2021

Photo by Andrey_Popov via Shutterstock

An HOA or Homeowners' Association is an organization in your subdivision or community that creates and enforces regulations and rules for the properties and residents. If a property is part of an HOA's jurisdiction, buying it automatically makes you a member. Therefore, you are required to pay HOA dues that cover the organization's costs and services. The strictness of HOA rules can vary significantly from community to community, and while some are very restrictive, others allow a wide range of changes to your property. It's essential to check in to what an HOA requires, costs and offers in a particular community or neighborhood before purchasing a home. Contrary to fictional portrayals, an HOA can be really beneficial to the homeowners by providing deals on local services and generally keeping the home values constant or increasing by keeping the neighborhood the same.

Collective Bargaining

In a lot of ways, you can think of an HOA like a homeowner's union. It gives you that collective bargaining power with larger agencies like utilities, city services and local governments. This power can save you a lot of money by getting members better deals on trash services or electricity, including landscaping with HOA dues and more. It's a well-known rule that the more you buy, the better prices you get. That means when a group of 50 homes is negotiating for a landscaping deal, they can get much better prices than if it's just one home. Don't feel like you're cheating the other business owners either. They offer lower prices because doing a bunch of things in one area lowers their overhead, and having a consistent client increases their overall profits.

Maintaining Home Values

The main job of any homeowners' association is to maintain property values. They do this not by restricting what you can do but by limiting what your neighbors can do. And yes, since you are a neighbor as well, you are also subject to the same neighbor restrictions. That means you typically can do whatever you want inside your home since that only affects you. However, you can only do things within a specific range to the outside of your home since that affects your neighbor's houses as well. The look of a neighborhood, especially neighboring homes, can significantly affect the value of a home and usually are outside the purview of the homeowner. HOAs seek to fix this by requiring that everyone keep their home up to the same standards and avoid practices that will devalue the neighborhood.

It's essential to understand the benefits and restrictions of living with an HOA, especially if you've never had one before. Your professional real estate agent will be familiar with or be able to get, the bylaws of any HOA that covers a home you are considering. Sit down and go over them together to ensure that those rules work with your preferred lifestyle.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Mary Foley Real Estate Inc. on 6/23/2020

Image by Brady Pevehouse from Pixabay

When purchasing a home, there are many issues to keep in mind. These often include items such as the interest rate on the mortgage, real estate taxes, and homeowner's insurance. If you've purchased a home governed by a Homeowner's Association and have not lived within a similar community before you may find some challenges adjusting more specifically, HOA fees. Changes to rules and regulations within HOA communities usually require an official voting process before they are implemented. However, if you consider your community fees to be too high, there are a few negotiation tips that might get the process started.

Join the Board of the HOA

One of the first steps to consider is joining the governing board of the HOA. The best way to search for ways to lower HOA fees or impact other types of change within your community is to participate in meetings and to get to know the history of your community and the other members. These relationships and experiences provide a view of the current issues and goals of the governing group.

Review the Books

The breakdown of how the HOA is allocating fees is information that should be readily available to the community. If you're interested in exactly where these fees are going, request to review the books. You'll gain insight into the contractors that help serve the community whether it be landscaping, pool maintenance or any other amenities. If you have suggestions for adjustments the community may implement to save money, it is worthwhile to present those options to the board for consideration. When the HOA saves money, the HOA members save money as well.

Reduce Costs

One of the most common areas where an HOA allocates considerable funds is on landscaping. It is important to have well-kept property to benefit property values; however, it doesn't have to be expensive. If the books show high landscaping or maintenance fees, request that the board negotiates with the current provider for a reduced rate or interview other providers who may be a better value. If the current contracts are reasonable, the board may be able to defer non-essential maintenance.

Consider the Costs of Property Management

Finally, consider the costs associated with the current property management company. Those who live in a condo building, townhome, or other collective living association often have a property management company that handles the high-level issues. While they perform an important function, they can also be expensive. It can be helpful to negotiate a reduced rate with the property management company or consider other management companies that might come at a cost-saving to the community. This can help the HOA members save money on their periodic fees.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Mary Foley Real Estate Inc. on 4/7/2020

Image by allPhoto Bangkok from Pixabay

In a perfect world, every HOA would find an amazing property management company, and the union of the two organizations would last forever. Unfortunately, this world can be imperfect sometimes, and there are many reasons why the agreements between property management companies and HOAs may need to be dissolved from time to time. If your HOA is switching property management companies, you might be facing a lot of unknowns. If there's a change of property management companies looming in your not-too-distant future, here are some things you should keep in mind:

1. Print All of Your Financial Records

Maybe you've paid ahead a little, perhaps you're behind a smidge, or conceivably, you're all paid up and in good standing with a zero balance. No matter the case, you don't want any confusion to take place regarding your account. Print or save copies of your ledger balance on the last day in which it's accessible to you; it's a good idea to print copies a few days before the expected termination date, too, in case you unexpectedly lose access to your account.

2. Obtain Contact Information of the New Company Immediately

You don't need to wait until someone gives you the new company's contact information. As a homeowner, it's your right to have the contact information of the new property managers. If you've been given the name, you should easily be able to find contact information online. If you've not been given the name of your new property management firm, talk to your board of directors to clear up any confusion and ensure transparency within the community.

3. Continue Making Payments

Just because you haven't received an invoice, it doesn't mean you're not on the hook for your HOA fees. Just as you'd have to pay your car payment or cell phone bill even if you didn't receive a statement, your community expects you to make timely payments whether you're receiving a bill or not. The tricky part when new companies take over management of properties usually boils down to timing: which company is responsible for taking your money and cashing your checks at the time you send it in? If you're unsure, reach out to your board or the most recent property management company for direction. Again, be sure to keep record of all payments you make in case there's a discrepancy when management changes hands.

Don't let the fear of the unknown keep you from protecting your property. There are a lot of moving parts when HOAs switch property management companies, but once you've done your homework and have a better understanding of what the process looks like, you'll be better prepared to put your real estate investment in the best position possible.