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Feldsott Lee Pagano & Canfield
Orange County Homeowners Association Law Firm

What should prospective homeowners' association members look for?

Finding the right house here in California can take some time. Prospective buyers look at several factors when deciding the right location and type of home. One other thing they need to consider is the pros and cons of becoming homeowners' association members.

Many communities across California have HOAs. If the house a person is looking at comes with an HOA, it would be a good idea to investigate it first. Of course, the cost of being a member would be at the top of nearly everyone's list. However, what exactly do homeowners get for the price?

If a potential homeowner would make use of a fitness center, but not a recreation center, then it would not make much sense to pay for one while not getting the other. Some HOAs have pools, barbecue areas and other amenities. Others have landscape services for common areas, and possibly even for individual homes. It depends on what services and amenities a person wants.

However, it also depends on whether you believe the cost is worth it. What exactly does common area maintenance encompass? How often is maintenance done? What happens if larger repairs are required? A prospective owner may also need to find out how rules are enforced and whether the HOA takes good care of the funds it collects.

Speaking of rules, it may be a good idea for potential homeowners' association members to review the rules and CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions). A thorough understanding of what an individual may be getting into would be helpful. Potential homebuyers may want to look beyond the "window dressing" of a community to gain a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a member of a certain HOA.

Source: Forbes, "Homeowners Associations: Join Or Pass?", John Anderson, Nov. 16, 2017

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