Searching For A Florida Homeowners’ Association
Posted by Scot Karp on Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 at 2:37pm.
Did you know that most neighborhoods and condo buildings in Boca Raton have homeowners’ associations (HOA)? While these regulatory boards provide amazing benefits to the community, they can also have legal sway. Here are a few simple pieces of HOA advice for your property hunt.
Most real estate listings state whether or not a house or condo belongs to a homeowners’ association. Browse through the listings and determine the name of the HOA or condo association and its duties in the community or building. See if you can find the HOA’s website.
The HOA’s website is a great resource for staying on top of community news and events. There is often a community or condo newsletter, which will give you a good idea of the community spirit.
The website will also help you gauge how committed the HOA is to the neighborhood or condo complex. Does the HOA perform regular maintenance? Is there an on-site manager?
It’s a good idea to look at the HOA’s meeting minutes to review major decisions made by the board. If they’re restricted to residents only, try emailing the association or ask your real estate agent for recent copies.
It’s important to understand the difference between voluntary associations and homeowners’ associations. Some communities are operated by voluntary, not-for-profit associations. However, many real estate listings state that membership is required as part of the purchase of the property. That’s because the community is operated by a homeowners’ association, and membership is a condition of property ownership.
Find out if the association is voluntary or not. Ask about the consequences of not paying (Does the HOA have the legal ability to place a lien on your home?), and ask if there are different types of memberships.
It’s important to note that because most condo associations are responsible for major building renovations and upkeep of the common spaces, membership is most likely mandatory.
If your HOA is mandatory (more on that below) then review the documents carefully. Make sure you understand every clause, and take a look at the Florida Statutes regarding HOAs. Don’t hesitate to ask your real estate agent for a detailed explanation.
Once you’re all moved in, read more about the covenants (i.e. rules) for the common spaces. You’ll be putting down roots in your future community or condo building—the smoother the sailing the better.
More detailed considerations:
- How does the HOA allocate the funds from membership fees?
- How do residents participate in the HOA decisions? What are the voting policies?
- What are the payment schedules for the initial, monthly, and yearly fees?
- What are the major rules regarding modifications to your home and property?
- Which major expenses are not covered by the HOA?
If you’re purchasing a condo, make sure to ask about the following:
- What is the HOA vetting process? Do they require that you sit for an interview?
- What are the rules regarding leasing the condo? Is it permitted? If so, does the tenant require approval from the condo association?
- Does the condo building allow you to work from home? Check with the board to see if your business would classify as potentially disruptive to your neighbors.
Scot Karp, Director
Ultraluxury Condominium Division
PREMIER ESTATE PROPERTIES
Boca Raton, Florida
"RANKED IN THE TOP 250 AGENTS NATIONWIDE BY THE WALL STREET JOURNAL"