What you can do to avoid problems with a homeowners association.


  • Before you buy, consider your personality.  If you balk at the idea of anyone telling you what to do with your property, specifically avoid buying a home in a neighborhood governed by an association.


  • Before you make an offer on a house, spend time researching its homeowners association.  Read through the covenants, conditions, and restriction (CC&Rs); make sure the association has adequate reserves in it budget; find out if there is a history of conflict.


  • Before you buy find out about the management of the association, who they are and how much experience they have.  Do they understand how associations should be managed and have they had a good track record with this organization. 


  • Before you buy go to a board meeting before you purchase your home and find out what is going on within the association.  If there are conflicts now they probably won't get any better. 


  • Before you buy talk to neighbors and ask them how the association reacts to problems.  If there is a good attitude among the residents or are they always in conflict.  See if they have ever attended a board meeting, if not look for someone who has attended at least one.  


  • Once in the neighborhood, make an effort to go to association meetings, voice your opinions and get involved and become one of the problem solvers.


  • Don't ever withhold dues out of protest.  You risk penalty fees, legal fees and even foreclosure on your home.  If you don't like how the association is being run, find another way to make your point.  The most preferable way is to go to the meetings and get involved.  You might find out that you were not in the majority on your protest and that others have good ideas as well.


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