Homeowners Association: For those unfamiliar, is “a corporation formed by a real estate developer for the purpose of marketing, managing, and selling of homes and lots in a residential subdivision. It grants the developer privileged voting rights in governing the association, while allowing the developer to exit financial and legal responsibility of the organization, typically by transferring ownership of the association to the homeowners after selling off a predetermined number of lots.
Membership in the homeowners association by a residential buyer is typically a condition of purchase; a buyer isn’t given an option to reject it. Most homeowner associations are incorporated, and are subject to state statutes that govern non-profit corporations and homeowner associations.” (Thanks Wikipedia!)
The Colorado Contract to Buy, approved by the Colorado Real Estate Commission, includes a homeowners association document (community interest documents) approval contingency. The Seller or their agent is given until the homeowners association document deadline to provide the Buyer with financial documentation, most recent meeting minutes, covenants and restrictions. Then the Buyer has until the home owner association objection deadline, usually less than a week later, by which to understand what they are buying into and either proceed, or terminate the contract to buy based on the Home Owner Association documents being unsatisfactory to the Buyer (for any reason).
So, that’s the “official” part of this post. Now let’s look at the pro’s and con’s of being a part of a home owners association.
Responsibilities of the association range from management and community landscaping (traffic islands, neighborhood park etc) to maintaining a pool and clubhouse, providing an exercise room and equipment, snow removal, trash removal and sometimes heat, water or other utilities.
Most likely, if your property is a detached house the homeowners association fee you pay will not cover exterior maintenance. And snow removal… well, maybe down the sidewalk, but not to the front door.
Townhouses and condos typically have higher association dues. But, those dues cover, for the most part, exterior maintenance as well as the other things I mentioned above. Need a new roof? The homeowners association will take care of it, pay for it, maybe claim it on their insurance policy. Tree located on grass outside your row-house that is diseased or dying? Yep, call the homeowners association, it’s covered.
Occasionally I have Buyers whom I’m working with, tell me they either A) Want to be in a homeowners association or B) Don’t want to be in a homeowners association – No way, no how!
After inquiring I usually find their motivations are based on experiences had… by them, or their friends, or someone they heard about.
Top 5 reasons for not wanting to be a part of a homeowners association:
1. Paying dues.
2. Restrictions on things like architectural modifications, fencing or approved paint colors.
3. Not being allowed to park RV’s, boats or multiple vehicles out in front of the house.
4. Nosy neighbors reporting violations.
5. Cookie-cutter home appearance.
Top 5 reasons for wanting to be part of a homeowners association:
1. Enforced upkeep of neighbors property appearance.
2. Lock and leave type low maintenance lifestyle.
3. Not having to budget for landscaping, deck painting, roof repairs etc.
4. Lower homeowners insurance. (The homeowners association also has a policy that covers part of your property.)
5. Cohesive neighborhood look and feel.
Today was a snow day. All along the Front Range 4-8″ had fallen overnight and more was expected. I spent the morning exploring Renaissance neighborhood in SW Longmont. There are two homeowner associations in this neighborhood, in fact.
The Renaissance Community Association – Dues are paid quarterly by everyone, detached houses and townhome owners are all members of this association.
Heritage Townhomes at Renaissance – Dues are paid monthly by the owners of the townhomes only.
Walking around, I watched the landscaping/snow removal crews in action. Oh boy, it must have been nice to look out the window from a townhome this morning, to hear the sounds of trucks with plows working in your driveway and see the men with the shovels clearing your front walk and steps! The snow was heavy and underneath it was a layer of ice.
Take a look at the difference between the services at the townhomes and the houses on a snowy day…
Alleys plowed and sidewalks shoveled.
Cornor lots.. more sidewalk to shovel.