If you plan to buy a home in Albuquerque, you should know about homeowner's associations. These are groups that control what you can or can't do with your home in a particular neighborhood. There are quite a few HOA neighborhoods in Albuquerque, so there's a chance that you will find a home that you like in one of these neighborhoods.
Before you buy any home in a HOA neighborhood, you should research all you can about that particular HOA association. HOA's can be a good thing, as they can make life easier and benefit the neighborhood, if they are run properly. But we've all hear the stories of the badly run HOA with the power-hungry troublemakers who just want to make life difficult.
What can you do to make sure that a particular HOA is right for your lifestyle in Albuquerque?
What is an HOA?
First of all, let's define what an HOA does. Simply put, it sets rules that are hopefully designed to make life in that neighborhood more pleasant for residents. It enforces those rules through various measures.
For example, an HOA may ban parking on the street. It will issue a warning, then a fee for those who violate that rule.
Residents pay a fee that funds the operation of the HOA and goes toward community repairs.
All of this may seem restrictive, but it can be a good thing for residents if operated correctly. An HOA can improve the quality of life in the community and make living there more enjoyable.
But an HOA is not for everyone, and not every HOA is managed well. So you should research as much as you can about any HOA before moving into the neighborhood.
Here are some things you should find out about any HOA.
1. What are the rules?
Knowing the rules of an HOA in advance can save you a lot of headaches in the future. You should also find out what the penalties are for breaking those rules.
Here are some common things to think about:
- Does the association allow a satellite dish?
- Can you have pets? If so are there any restrictions?
- Am I allowed to change the color of my home?
- Can I display a flag or other such decorations?
- Am I allowed to have a camper or other commercial vehicle parked in my yard?
- Is it possible to have a fence installed?
Some HOAs may not allow some or all of these things. Decide in advance what you plan for your home and make sure it aligns with the rules of the HOA. If not, then weigh that into your decision to buy that home.
2. Can you rent your property?
If you plan to buy an investment property to rent out, this is a huge question. HOAs can restrict or outright ban renting out your home.
3. How are changes/decisions made in the neighborhood?
Changes and decisions in an HOA can be made in various ways. And this will affect your lifestyle. You should find out how rules are made and changed.
4. Verify that the home you are going to purchase is currently in compliance.
It is possible to buy a home in an HOA and then discover that the house is already breaking the rules. That means that you will have to make changes immediately or risk being fined or otherwise reprimanded.
5. Learn about the fees.
How much more will you be paying to live in the neighborhood? You should find out:
- How do the costs compare to other communities?
- What is the process required to increase fees?
- How big is the reserve fund of the HOA?
- When was the last time the fees increased? What about the time before that?
- What do your dues cover? Are there extra fees?
- How do special assessments work? How much do they tend to cost and how often do they occur?
There are more things you should know about an HOA before you move in. We can help you determine if an HOA fits your needs when buying your next home in Albuquerque.