Check those HOA documents!

Coachella Valley Home buyers and sellers: Check those HOA documents!

Many, if not most new housing developments, master planned communities, and condominiums are governed by a set of rules set forth by an HOA. If you’re not familiar with the term, HOA stands for Home Owners Association.
Often, the original developer sets forth the initial rules. Then after a set number of homes or condominium units are sold, governance is turned over to a board composed of homeowners, who can make amendments, set fees, etc.
The rules include “Covenants, conditions, and restrictions” and are designed to protect the residents and maintain the value of the properties.
Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends upon your attitude. If you’re an independent sort who wishes to make your own rules regarding your home, buying into an HOA may not be for you.

The Association can impose limits and exercise control over things like:

  • Hanging a basketball hoop on the garage
  • Setting a flag pole
  • Building a fence
  • Painting the house
  • Installing a new screen door
  • Planting a garden
  • Planting shrubs
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Having pets – or limiting the number of pets
  • Parking in your driveway
  • Keeping a boat or a motor home on your property
  • Having a home business
What this means is that buyers should read the rules and regulations with care before removing contingencies on their purchase agreement.
If you as a buyer would not be happy asking permission to paint your home – and to be required to submit color samples for approval – you might want to shy away from an association that reserves the right to approve or disallow your plans.
Next – read about the fees.What are they now? What amenities or services are paid for by the fees? Are there any planned increases? Who has the authority to impose increases, and for what purpose?
Remember, there’s no use fighting about it once you’ve made the purchase. That’s a bit like purchasing a home directly under the flight path of an airport and then complaining about the noise. You can complain, but it isn’t going to change a thing.
If you’re selling – you should also read those documents again.
You may find that the HOA has reserved the right to approve of your buyers. If so, your agent needs to know so he or she can warn buyers that they may come under scrutiny by the HOA Board.
In a 2017 case in Florida, a couple with four children made an offer on a 2-bedroom condominium unit. The unit had an office that they planned to convert to a 3rdbedroom. The HOA board said no – they wouldn’t approve the sale of a two-bedroom unit to a couple with four children.

Since it was not a senior living condo, children were allowed, and the court decided that they could not discriminate. The sale went through, but it took an emotional toll on all concerned.

Whether you’re buying or selling here in the Coachella Valley, call me, Mark Langenwalter. I’ll be happy to do the research for you so you can rest assured that you know the important facts about any existing HOA’s.

Contact Mark Langenwalter for your Coachella Valley Real Estate needs. I can make your Palm Desert, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage, and Indian Wells dream home desires come true! Call Mark at (760) 413-9236.