Who Should Inform Me About HOA Covenants and Fees for My New Home?
This is a question I hear regularly from homeowners. Actually, what I usually hear is "no-one told me about the covenants when I bought my house and how strict, (or lax, intrusive, or costly) they are".
While recently watching HGTV's Property Brothers, the buyer refused to look at a home that was located within an HOA. He made several unflattering references to "nosy neighbors" and people "telling him what he could and couldn't do with his property". The house met every criteria for his family, but he KNEW he would not be happy adhering to covenants attached to any Homeowners Association.
Good for him! He made an informed decision regarding his lifestyle choices. Many do not consider whether an HOA is a good fit for them prior to purchasing their dream home.
Owning a home that is part of a Homeowners Association isn't for everyone. You may be a non-conformist and abiding by a standard set of covenants may not be your thing. If that's the case, let your Realtor know upfront that you aren't interested in purchasing a home in a covenant neighborhood.
Back to the original question: who should inform you about HOA rules and fees? Ideally, you will be represented by a Realtor when purchasing your home, and she will tell you about the existence of the Homeowners Association as well as the fees, amenities, and the covenants. Even if you are purchasing a newly constructed home, hopefully your Realtor or the builder should provide information regarding the covenants, bylaws, and association fees.
Know the covenants before signing the offer to purchase! Don't wait until you're sitting at the closing table to ask about the covenants. By that time you are vested in your decision, the loan documents have been prepared, the moving van is loaded, and you may feel it's too late to back out if you disagree with the language or content of the rules.
Most HOAs have websites, but not all neighborhoods publish the CCRs (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions) online. The most important advice I can give is to do your due diligence. Ask questions early and often in the home buying process so you will be as happy with your home choice as you are with the neighborhood you decide to call HOME.
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Written and Published by Pat Starnes REALTOR
Pat specializes in Residential and New Home Sales
Primary Service Area:
Brandon, Pearl, Ridgeland, Flowood, Madison and the Ross Barnett Reservoir area
Pat Starnes, Broker Associate
Front Gate Real Estate, 6700 Old Canton Rd., Suite C
Ridgeland, MS 39157
601-991-2900 - Office
601-278-4513 - Cell
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